Business

Credit union CEOs fund Port Coquitlam program

Three credit union CEOs, Launi Skinner of First West (far left); Tracy Redies of Coast Capital (second from right) and Tamara Vrooman of Vancity (far right) are joining forces to fund a support program for single moms. Mothers like Sarah Neault (second from left), with son Solomon, and Lena Ko (middle), with daughter Christine, will benefit from the new program. - PHOTO SUBMITTED
Three credit union CEOs, Launi Skinner of First West (far left); Tracy Redies of Coast Capital (second from right) and Tamara Vrooman of Vancity (far right) are joining forces to fund a support program for single moms. Mothers like Sarah Neault (second from left), with son Solomon, and Lena Ko (middle), with daughter Christine, will benefit from the new program.
— image credit: PHOTO SUBMITTED

Port Coquitlam single moms will now have some extra support thanks to a unique partnership between three B.C. credit unions and their three female CEOs.

Coast Capital Savings, Vancity and First West Credit Union funded an environmental scan last spring that revealed that many communities, including PoCo, lack supports for single moms, and over the summer, the financial institutions pledged $50,000 each in annual funding to fund six new Single Mothers' support groups in communities throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

“I am inspired by the generosity of the three credit unions and the exceptional women who lead them — Tracy Redies, Tamara Vrooman and Launi Skinner,” stated Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver, in a press release. “They show us the true meaning of cooperation and they demonstrate that it is possible for competitors to collaborate to drive positive social change. With their support, the YWCA can create the conditions for many single mothers to build better futures for themselves and their children. ”

The environmental scan found a shortage of resources for the 12% of families in the Tri-Cities headed by women, particularly in Port Coquitlam, where existing resources focus on addressing domestic violence or cater to families with young children.

The new program will run out of the Tri-Cities East Neighbourhood Centre, at 2062 Manning Ave, Port Coquitlam, Saturdays between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and will be led by a trained facilitator.

Participating moms will get child care support while they attend as well as help to gain employment, go back to school, find safe and affordable housing and information on child care, legal education and other community support. The YWCA's Janice Lee will be the group coordinator of the PoCo program.

The environmental scan was funded by Coast Capital Savings, Vancity and First West Credit Union and took place between February 20 and April 20, 2012. It explored the support services available and service gaps in Abbotsford, Langley, Maple Ridge, Surrey and the Tri-Cities. Over 100 service provider websites were reviewed and telephone conversations were conducted with 42 organizations to examine services, frequency of use, barriers and specific services.

For more information on the Single Mothers’ Support Services program and local group details, visit: www.ywcavan.org/singlemothers or phone 604-895-5849.

 

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