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Spring 2022 E-Newsletter

Spring 2022 E-Newsletter

Welcome to Aunt Leah’s first e-news of 2022!

This quarterly update is meant to share our impact in the community, and introduce you to people in the Aunt Leah’s family. 

Hear how one of our moms found connection and emotional support and now sees ways to give back. Celebrate Founder Gale Stewart’s Good Citizenship Medal and her mission to create Leah’s Legacy. Learn the facts on women and poverty in Canada and how our Thresholds program helps.

Natasha’s Story: Finding Empowerment Through Connection and Support

 

Natasha was a young mom who had just left a bad relationship when she first connected with Aunt Leah’s Place. With Aunt Leah’s help, she was able to find an affordable home with BC Housing. Aunt Leah’s supported her with daycare costs, bus passes, and other expenses to help her to return to school and upgrade her courses.

While the financial support was essential, it was the connection to other young moms that was a real lifeline for Natasha. She immediately joined Aunt Leah’s Mom & Baby Program and found emotional support, community, and mentoring from a group of moms with shared experiences.

It can be lonely being a single mom with young kids but at Aunt Leah’s Natasha now feels part of a family. Her kids love dropping in to a welcoming meeting place where everyone knows them. She is now able to mentor other young moms who are struggling, and one of the things she has learned is that it’s OK to rely on other people.

“I’ve always been kind of stubborn and wanted to do everything on my own, but Aunt Leah’s makes it easy. They are there for you and don’t judge. They try and get you whatever you need from a gym pass to soccer lessons for your kids. It’s like a family.”

Natasha has just completed the Responsible Adult Course, qualifying her to work as a child care assistant. When she starts working, she plans to look for ways she can give continue giving back, and help more mothers and children in crisis.


Gale Stewart awarded BC Good Citizenship Medal – Continues her work through “Leah’s Legacy”

Lesley Anderson, Director of Development, Aunt Leah’s Place

2021 marked the province-wide recognition of Gale Stewart as founder and visionary leader of Aunt Leah’s Place. We’re commemorating this great honour again today because Gale continues her tenacious work to sustain youth at the entry and exit points of the foster care system. 

I met Gale years ago when Aunt Leah’s Independent Lifeskills Society was beginning its journey into social enterprise. Determined to model self-sufficiency, independence and resilience, Gale and her team launched one of the pilot social enterprises in a brand new Enterprising Non-Profits venture.  

As a new Program Manager at Vancity Community Foundation I was learning the ropes of program development and not-for-profit enterprise. Gale stood out to me. Her commitment, passion and never-ending determination to give youth aging out of foster care opportunities to learn and thrive left a lasting impression. Since that time I’ve followed Aunt Leah’s good work and accomplishments in local community forums. When the opportunity to join the organization came my way, I was inspired to offer my services as Director of Development.

Leah’s Legacy is Gale’s new goal and I couldn’t be more thrilled to work with her to encourage future gifts for the organization. Many of you have already expressed your intention to leave a bequest to Aunt Leah’s Place. Please accept our deepest thanks. Your foresight and generosity will sustain and grow services for young people in perpetuity. 

As the founder, it seems so fitting that Gale would look to the future and beyond her lifetime for the good of those she has worked for all her life ~ truly a commitment worth recognizing.

“Gale has made a lasting and significant difference in thousands of young people’s lives. She is a source of innovative, compassionate leadership, is a generous leader and role model, and has inspired a legacy of care by building a lasting family and community for those who need it most – youth in and from the foster care system.” 

From the tribute to Gale Stewart, BC Good Citizenship Medal Awards


Did you know? About women and poverty in Canada

1.5 million women live in poverty in Canada.1

10x more women than men have fallen out of the labour force since 2020. 2

Today, nearly half of young Canadians age 20-29 live in their parent’s home 3 

“Every year Aunt Leah’s Thresholds program provides 35 women and children with a safe, secure and supported home so that they will be able to move to independence successfully.”

1Statistics Canada, 2019

2RBC Economics, 2021

3Statistics Canada: Insights on Canadian Society” (2016)


How else can I help?

There are many ways that you can help make a difference in the lives of the youth and moms we work with.