Growing Minds Children’s Program and Healthy Eating

The Cause

WINGS - Women in Need Growing Stronger - operates a second-stage shelter and affordable housing (the Home Next Door) for women with children who are leaving situations of family violence. Our facilities provide long-term accommodation and accompanying support services for women and their children.

WINGS is much more than a second-stage shelter and affordable housing provider. It is a safe home and above all else, a critical stepping stone on the journey to a life free of domestic violence. The counseling and support programs offered at WINGS address the complex social, psychological, health and economic issues affecting women and children experiencing domestic violence.

At WINGS we provide free wrap around services that change lives. We do this through intensive counseling, children and youth support, social and life skills training. Unfortunately the need for our services is growing. Abuse victims continue to suffer unimaginable, traumatic experiences.

Between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, WINGS and the Home Next Door helped a total of 97 women and 192 children. We are projecting to help the same amount of women and children this year. Our Growing Minds Children's Program is instrumental in helping the children to heal from the effects of abuse, as well as to learn, play, and grow into happy, healthy adults. Our program includes: Children and Teen groups (weekly teen group, early interventions, social outings, safety planning and life skills), Recreation Programs, Summer Camp, Dog Therapy, Healthy snack and Food Education including a Collective Kitchen where they learn to cook and choose healthy recipes. We aim to reduce hunger for the children whose families are faced with poverty and food insecurity, in addition to the direct and indirect effects of domestic violence. We deliver this program with kindness and compassion, as well as specialized support that changes the lives of the children through education and healthy, playful activities and field trips.

Who Will it Benefit?

The supports and interventions offered by the Growing Minds Children's Program help to mitigate the impact of domestic violence on children and build the capacity of children to overcome the challenges they face.
The program helps stabilize the children and their families who have left situations of domestic violence and offers a safe, caring and healthy environment to participate in fun, creative, and educational activities while learning about one another. The program offers top quality care and opportunities to assist with any emotional, developmental and behavioral challenges of the children, many of whom have suffered from trauma.
The Canada Food Guide Approved snack (special event hot breakfasts, lunches and dinners will also apply depending on the event and time of day) is a wonderful source of nutrition and sustenance for the children. If we are to connect healthy foods with healthy minds, learning and growth, then we are helping the children to grow into physically and mentally healthy adults. It is essential that families living at WINGS, the Home Next Door, and in our community, are provided with food security at a time where they are suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. Poverty and equal access to resources in our community is a challenge faced by the women and children, and it is our goal to eliminate these barriers. The program is designed to enhance the children's growth and foster an active, healthy lifestyle. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the children and families living at WINGS and the Home Next Door.