A Mother's Day Gift that Gives Lasting Joy

Child Development Institute and Upper Canada College join together to give Toronto mothers in shelters a memorable Mother's Day.

TORONTO, May 6 /CNW/ - Child Development Institute (CDI) has partnered with the parents and students from Upper Canada College (UCC) to give local mothers in shelters a very special mother's day gift.

"Mother's day can be a very hard time for mothers in shelters. Most have left everything behind," says Angelique Jenney, Director of Family Violence at CDI.

The annual Mother's Day project was created by CDI board member and former UCC mother Vivien Cappe along with several UCC students to provide gift bags for moms in Toronto shelters. In its first year, the project created over 200 gift bags.

"People are very generous when it comes to wanting to meet the needs of children in shelters, but often mothers get overlooked in that donation process," says Ms. Jenney. "A few years ago we had a child approach his counselor for help to get his Mother a gift; he said he wanted her to receive something nice that she 'didn't have to get beat up for'. It was a poignant reminder for us to keep children's mothers at the forefront of our minds. The connection between the child and the mother makes a huge difference in their relationship. For a moment, something feels normal."

For several months, the boys of UCC have been bringing in toiletries, self care and cosmetic items that their family has purchased or collected at hotel stays or flights throughout the year. With hundreds of donations from both students and companies such as Fairmont Hotels and Suites, UCC mothers and students joined together to fill and wrap over 300 gift bags.

"When you are struggling to make ends meet and rebuild a life for yourself and your children, the little luxuries of self-care are the first things women sacrifice. A little gift bag of luxury items like fancy soap and shampoo is a nice little pick-me-up when it feels like the world has forgotten you as a woman," says Ms. Jenney.

CDI's Shelter Program assists children and their mothers who are living in a shelter and provides individual counseling for both mothers and their children and follow-up services. Children also receive help transitioning from shelter to school, in the School Liaison Program. All of the services are offered at the shelters or in the local school in order to increase accessibility for these families.

"This Mother's Day project is really so simple and will make a difference in hundreds of women's lives," says Vivien Cappe. "On Mother's Day, these women will know that they are special and that people care about them."

Child Development Institute has more than ten locations in Toronto, providing programs for early learning, children's mental health intervention, and services for children who have suffered family violence and sexual abuse. CDI serves more than 4,000 children each year in Toronto and its award-winning model programs are replicated across Canada and internationally. CDI's research is leading new approaches to children's development and well-being. For additional information, please visit www.childdevelop.ca.


For further information: For further information: Media contact: Nancy Bennett, Director of Development & Communications, nbennett@childdevelop.ca, (416) 603-1827 x 2276, cell (416) 435-7918

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