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new village to raise your child: Winnipeg couple soon to open a new transitional home for struggling mothers

There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and Melanie and Michael Reimer embody it in their life. 

The Winnipeg couple who just welcomed their fifth child into their lives wants to help struggling mothers, pre-and postnatal, get back on their feet. They have recently announced an upcoming transitional home for women that need “a place to pause, to praise, for women to heal, grow and love their baby.”

“As we started to look more into it, it was like ‘Wow, there’s definitely a need for this.’ And then doors just started opening to provide this opportunity,” Melanie said.

Selah Place will offer pregnancy and postnatal support to the women entering the program. In addition, they will be supported by trauma counselling and educational and vocational training. Motherhood doesn’t come easy for anyone, but vulnerable women out there go into it without any support.

“Right now, if you were 19-years-old and you just had a child, and maybe you’re in some sort of relationship with the child’s father, and maybe that doesn’t pan out, or maybe your living situation has changed… right now, really the only support you get is assistance with your rent, you get assistance like child tax support. The government gives you a lot of money, there’s all different grants available, but there’s no support,” Michael explained. “And for a young mother who’s maybe lived her whole life in the foster system who doesn’t have any reliable family, whose friends are in a similar situation in life and they lack the same skills to be successful, they are a brand new mother, which is hard even when you have support and a family, and they have nowhere to go. They have no community.”

The only other place like it is Villa Rosa, which can only take up to 25 women at a time and received 349 referrals in the 2020-2021 year. Selah Place will add another six beds for women in need, with plans to expand in the future.

“In a program like this, they can come pregnant or postnatal, they can have their baby and stay with us, and they will receive counselling that is catered to what they need. We want to be able to surround them with a community that’s going to continue to support and love them so that when they go back to the community, then they still have those solid friendships and that group of people to lean on so that they are not falling back to their original position,” Melanie added.

Melanie and Michael have been involved with Global Teen Challenge, a group of Christian faith-based organizations that provide rehabilitation services to teens and adults struggling with addiction. As a result, they have seen first-hand the benefits of having a long-term network of people committed to helping others heal.

They said they’ve always wanted to reach out to the community and help. Their original plan was to become foster parents. But, as time went on, the social worker who was in contact with them helped them see Selah Place as having a wider purpose.

“They will be in an environment where they can live with other women in a similar position and lean on each other for support, too,” Melanie said.

– Ligia Braidotti, U Multicultural

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