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New Hamilton YWCA program offers early literacy support to vulnerable mothers and children

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Best, John
Publication Date: 
30 Aug 2022


New program offers support to vulnerable mothers and children

YWCA Hamilton has received a grant of $416,000 from the Mothers Matter Centre, a not-for-profit organization based in Vancouver, B.C., for a pilot program focusing on early literacy. The pilot, called Safe-Space for an Early Learning Foundation (SELF), will specifically focus on families living in Phoenix Place, the Y’s second-stage housing for women and children fleeing violence, and the  Putman Family YWCA, which offers housing to women and families. The SELF program is funded through the Government of Canada’s Early Learning and Child Care Innovation Program.

SELF is specifically designed to meet the post-pandemic needs of women and their children who are survivors of violence. It is based on a unique program called the Home Instruction Program for Parents of Preschool YWCA Hamilton is one of four sites across Canada that will be piloting the SELF program over the next three years.

Families participating in the SELF program will receive weekly visits from a trained member of YWCA Hamilton Staff, and will be invited to attend a support groups for parents and a play group for their children. They will also have access to an at-home curriculum designed to give vulnerable children a head-start at school, including digital literacy skills.

Through SELF, parents will be given the tools they need to provide their children with pre-school learning in transitional or affordable housing, which in turn will lead to an increase in mothers’ overall well-being and confidence, and a strengthened mother-child bond.

On September 14, YWCA Hamilton will be hosting Walk A Mile in Their Shoes to help fund life-saving programs to support survivors, including the families participating in the SELF program at Phoenix Place. For more information, visit

“Innovative practices can help develop solutions that better meet the needs of children across Canada. Projects like SELF help ensure that every child has the best possible start in life and has a fair chance to succeed” said Karina Gould, Minister of Children, Families and Social Development.