This Sunday, many of us will be honouring our mothers with flowers, well-penned cards, and maybe even a family brunch. It’s our way of saying, “We couldn’t have gotten here without you.” And the Canadian not-for-profit, Literature for Life, couldn’t agree more. With their mandate focusing on creating supportive communities and resources for young marginalized mothers, Literature for Life understands that investing in mothers not only benefits this generation, but also provides a greater chance of success and a break from poverty in the next.
In honour of Mother’s Day, Literature for Life is asking mothers to share their stories of parenthood as part of their MOMents Campaign, which will run through the month of May. The campaign uses video and social media to showcase that all mothers, particularly young marginalized mothers, need access to a supportive community and resources in order to “build the character, confidence and capacity to parent and provide for their children.”
For fourteen years, Literature for Life has served more than 2300 young mothers by providing them with more than 22,144 hours of facilitated interactive reading, writing and free expression. Through programming such as Reading Circles where young mothers come together to read aloud and discuss literature in community centres throughout the GTA, the organization helps young mothers improve their reading comprehension, academic motivation, critical thinking and communication skills.
Through the organization, these young mothers, who are often stigmatized and dismissed, are given a supportive community focused on inclusion rather than isolation. In a survey from Literature for Life, 61% of participants have attained stable long-term employment; 76% say they have improved their parenting skills; 77% feel more confident to advocate for themselves and their children; and 82% are prepared to review and consider rental agreements, tax forms, and other personal documents. For many of the participants, who come from abusive or impoverished backgrounds, literacy is a chance at a new and increasingly independent future, wherein they may become the authors of their own destinies.
Past Literature for Life participant, Huda Eldardiry had this Mom-moment to share: “At the end of 2014 I finished a year-long work contract. And instead of finding a new job, I decided to work on my business Held by Huda. It’s been both a terrifying and exciting experience. My kid who will be eight in a few weeks has been watching my progress and transition into a full-time entrepreneur. And a few weeks ago Amiel started to ask me if they could start creating product so that they could vend alongside me at the pop-ups we’ve been going to. As a young single mother, I knew in that moment we were okay, that I am my child’s first role model, and despite the challenges, I’m raising a healthy and well balanced person.”
The MOMents campaign, highlighting these incredible stories of motherhood, seeks to raise $10,000 to build awareness of Literature for Life and continue funding programs. MOMents will culminate in a Wellness Education Retreat for the Reading Circle participants on May 8th at Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street). This amazing event will treat the participants to an array of Mom-centic workshops including yoga, pilates, and a talk on the importance of reading to your children led by noted children’s author, Theo Heras.
For more information about the MOMents campaign, to hear heart-warming stories of motherhood or to share your own stories, visit investinmoments.ca. There you can make a donation, or purchase a Mother’s Day card, and all proceeds will go to this deserving and truly essential organization.
This Mothers’ Day, let’s all remember what we owe to our mothers, what they went through for us, and the challenges they faced. Let’s also remember all the new moms out there now, needing what we all need to be good parents and children: to love and be loved.