Mom2Mom was co-founded in 2012 by Dr. Joanne Roussy and Dr. Barbara Fitzgerald. As a developmental paediatrician, Dr. Fitzgerald created an innovative outreach model wherein she brought her services to Vancouver’s inner-city schools. During her 17 years in the schools she saw that although children were in loving homes, their mothers faced exceptional barriers to setting them up to succeed at school and in life.
She saw that many of the women in the inner city had not had the advantage of growing up in healthy families with strong role models. Without the support of healthy mothers, sisters and friends, they had no one to support them in recovery from their own traumas, and support services that were available to them came with strings attached and the ever-present threat of having their children removed to foster care.
Dr. Fitzgerald recognized that these women had survived huge challenges and wanted help for their families that was compassionate, non-threatening, patient, and practical. It was from here, that Mom2Mom was born.
Families in our community face the harsh realities of poverty daily. From food insecurity, housing instability, and a lack of access to basic things for children like recreational opportunities, transportation and more make it increasingly challenging for isolated moms to maintain families that are safe, stable and secure.
For families that have been entrenched in poverty for more than two generations, their daily focus is on surviving. With each day bringing new, urgent challenges, moving from surviving into a place where they can plan for the future seems virtually impossible. As a result, prioritizing things that could lift the family out of poverty, like education and health, become increasingly difficult.
The demands of poverty pit daily needs against one another: food against housing, heating against transportation. For children, this insecurity is acutely felt. Often, our moms must forego opportunities for their children like sports and outdoor play, safe transportation, the development of literacy skills, and healthy eating in order to just get by.
The majority of moms we work with have not had the advantage of growing up in healthy families that modelled the kind of parenting that they want for their children. Without mothers, sisters, aunts and neighbours they can look up to for guidance and support, moms are often isolated as they try to learn how to feed, teach and raise their children with no roadmap or positive experience to reflect on.
lack of trust
For many moms living in poverty, the persistent threat of losing their children to the government's foster care system is all too real. For some of them, the Mom2Mom volunteer they are paired with may be the first unpaid person in their life who is helping out of a sense of compassion, not obligation, and who also doesn’t have any power over her to remove her children.
Mom2Mom improves the lives of children in poverty by supporting their moms. Our unique, community-centred model supports low-income moms to move from surviving to thriving. We believe when moms thrive, children thrive. We support moms in our community in four significant ways.
supporting basic needs
We know that reducing the stress of scarcity is essential to allow moms to connect with their children and with community. Mom2Mom provides practical support including monthly grocery support and other material needs that help families avoid crisis or take next steps towards education or employment.
building supportive community
Mom2Mom’s model is to provide ‘a circle of mothers’ to isolated, low-income moms who want support and guidance to raise their children in the healthiest ways possible. Moms are paired with dedicated women who volunteer their time and model compassion, stability and consistency.
facilitating positive relationships
Poverty is isolating. The Mom2Mom model is centred around combatting isolation by linking up moms with volunteers who provide respectful, non-judgmental support. These volunteers serve as role models and nurturing friends who can walk the journey of motherhood alongside our moms.
Participant moms receive practical help for parenting and navigating bureaucratic systems. In addition, volunteers help connect participant moms to their children’s school and to community-based resources that can help to lift them out of poverty and provide stability in their family's lives.
Learn more about the impact of Mom2Mom in our Annual Reports.
Mom2Mom was founded to provide “a circle of mothers” for low-income moms with broken families or little family support. As a relationship volunteer, community partner or donor, you are invited to join a community of women who care for one another while modelling compassion, strength, personal responsibility, and integrity.