“We were delighted to welcome the community to visit our new centre and learn about all the programs and services it has to offer,” says Major Brenda Smith, executive director.
The Bethany Hope Centre provides programs that care for pregnant and parenting youth and their children through addressing their physical, material, social, educational and spiritual needs. In addition to the programs offered at the centre, the building functions as a Salvation Army church and houses administrative offices.
The centre was housed in a different location from 1924 until 2013, but upgrades to that building would have been costly. The centre's new location will help the Army serve families more efficiently and holistically.
The new building provides more room for the centre's programs and services, including education and employment support, health services, meals, playgroups, childcare, a food bank, housing support and parent support group meetings, counselling and life skills programs. In addition, the new location is more convenient for clients who are dependent on public transportation.
Shona Woodland is a graduate of the parenting program at the Bethany Hope Centre and, after attending university, now works for the federal government. She came to the centre looking for support after learning she was pregnant. She spoke to a large crowd at the opening.
“When I found Bethany I almost didn't make it up the front steps, but when I got inside I was welcomed with warm arms,” says Woodland. “The people here quickly became my family and friends and I wasn't judged or ridiculed.”
Woodland attributes her success to the care and support from the staff at The Bethany Hope Centre and wanted to give back in some way. She has set up a scholarship fund for others at Bethany who would like to pursue post-secondary education.