While the main goal of IWDGW is to celebrate and elevate the women of our community, the secondary purpose is to support women in Guelph-Wellington with the proceeds from the evening.
Continuing our practice of previous years contributing proceeds, this year we are pleased to announce our support of the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph’s Safe Sisters program, a weekly drop-in program for girls in grades 7 and 8. The program provides support and resources to girls by identifying and working to combat issues they face. The children in the program have been impacted by suicide attempts and luring for sex trafficking. In fact, for some, the meal provided to them at Safe Sisters may be the only hot meal they have!
Program leaders have the necessary skills to deal with challenging topics, and their approach and demeanour helps them connect with the girls in order to make an impact. The Y hopes to expand the program so that it is also offered grade 9 & 10 girls offering support so that they remain on the positive paths they have begun. Financial support could also result in expanding to other neighbourhoods.
Let’s elevate young women in our community, fortifying them to face life’s challenges. The Y has shared two stories that illustrate the program’s impact:
Sarah was not doing well in school. She was skipping class, fighting with teachers and failing her courses. Sarah was not eating at all during the day and she didn’t have a lot of friends in her community. Sarah started attending Safe Sisters who provided her with a nutritious meal each week and she learned basic cooking skills. Sarah was also taught conflict resolution skills which helped her work out her conflicts with her friends, teachers and parents. She was better able to manage her anger and found coping methods for when she was stressed, upset or overwhelmed. The Safe Sisters program leaders helped Sarah to advocate for herself by connecting her with her school counsellor. Sarah was then given the opportunity to transfer to College Heights where she fell in love with welding. Sarah is no longer skipping class and has found a passion to turn into a career. She has been accepted into the co-op program.
Emily has a very difficult home life and does not receive much love or support from her mom who has severe mental health challenges. As a result, Emily is the caregiver for her siblings. She does not get along with her mom’s boyfriends or her dad. Emily was picked on at school by peers, did not have many friends in her community and was ashamed of herself and her body. Our young friend was lonely, isolated and had low self-esteem. Emily started attending Safe Sisters who helped her to build up her self-esteem. The amazing leaders have taught her to be proud of herself, her body and her intelligence. Emily has been learning how to talk to others and how to build positive relationships with friends and partners. Safe Sisters has connected Emily with resources to help support her siblings, family and herself, as well as to address mental health challenges. Emily has made lasting friendships that were formed with other girls in the program. Safe Sisters helped her get a job working in the community with younger children. Emily now speaks proudly of her intelligence and has replaced her negative self-talk. She is now volunteering on a community committee for youth mental health. What a star Emily is!
Learn more about IWD Guelph-Wellington & get your early bird tickets : https://innovationguelph.ca/iwdgw/