It’s important for mothers to form deep and lasting connections with their children, which is why The Salvation Army recognizes the need for programs that foster these relationships.
Captains Paul and Lisa Trickett, corps officers at Metrotown Citadel in Burnaby, B.C., didn’t set out to create a program for single mothers, but when they started a games night for families last fall, that’s exactly what happened.
“While their kids were playing games, the mothers started networking,” says Captain Paul Trickett, “and it has become a place where they find security and support.”The mothers who attend the games night aren’t typical single moms. About 90 percent of them are from China and they are married, but they are separated from their husbands who live back home because they are not able to find work in Canada.
“It’s similar to being a single parent,” says Captain Paul Trickett. “For two or three years at a time, they don’t see their husbands.”
The games night offers them a chance to speak their first language and have fellowship with other newcomers.
When the program launched, approximately 20 mothers and children came to the games night, which happens every Friday. Now, nearly 60 people attend each week. Most of the families who come have not had any prior exposure to church, but since the program started, six mothers have become Christians and 10 children have become junior soldiers.
“The church has given my family safe activities to be involved in,” says Joy Zhang, whose daughter, Lily, became a Christian after the family started attending the games night. “The church is teaching them about God, and it has given my son volunteer opportunities to help him complete high school.”
In addition to the games night, the corps tries to help these families in whatever way it can, whether it’s showing them how to access services such as legal aid, helping them move or simply praying with them. At the request of these mothers, the corps has recently started an English-as-a-second-language Bible study.
“Our attitude is, ‘How can we meet your need?’ ” says Captain Lisa Trickett. “We now have women walking through our doors and saying, ‘I was told to come here,’ because they know it’s a place where they can get help.”