A program is helping single mothers to pick themselves back up in times of need.
Central Interior Native Health (CINH) is assisting women to keep their babies and break the cycle of substance abuse with its Perinatal/Pediatric Program. The program assists primarily aboriginal single mothers and supports them with the challenges they may be facing.
Tracy Williams is a local single mother who turned her life around after a battle with drug addiction. “If it wasn’t for native health supporting me and being there, I wouldn’t be right where I am right now,” she said.
Counseling services at CINH helped Williams get off the streets, find an apartment, and support her one year old daughter, Marie. “I was still struggling on the relapsing and I kept myself strong for her,” Williams said.
Charlene Iverson is a registered nurse who stood by Williams in her time of need. “When women are pregnant, it’s a really good incentive for them to turn things around,” Iverson said. “We have lots of mom’s that might have been using, even living on the street, and by the end of the pregnancy they’ve got stable housing, they’ve stopped using and they’ve really turned their lives around.”
Iverson continued, “We help them to get housing, we connect them to a variety of different services in Prince George like babies new beginnings and aboriginal infant development, we also have social workers here and addictions counselors that work with the moms.”
Thanks to a recent $6,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Prince George, more resources are available to help on average 30 single mothers in need each year. “Every mom that has a baby here, we will be giving them a package and they’ll get a whole bunch of things for that package,” Iverson said. “Plus, when they come in for their prenatal and pediatric visits, we try to give them healthy snacks and things that they might not be getting.”
For now, Williams plays with her daughter. Her smile is a symbol of her growth and the hope that more mothers will continue to find themselves in the future. “Everything that I have is all for my daughter, it’s all not mine, it’s all here,” Williams said. “I’m trying to give her everything I didn’t get.”