“The HIPPY Program will break the isolation of newcomer families.”
Five new sites are working on rolling out the HIPPY program this fall. All sites have successfully completed the Mothers Matter Centre’s pre-service training. Today, we are introducing our new partner organization Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS). We asked Leanne May, Director of HIPPY Saskatoon, and HIPPY Coordinator Suchana Bhowmik to share their plans and hopes for their first HIPPY year.
Tell us about your new HIPPY site!
We currently employ four Home Visitors, one Coordinator and one Supervisor. Our HIPPY employees come from diverse backgrounds representing the following languages: English, Arabic, Bangla, Farsi, Hindi, and Urdu.
How many mothers and children will participate in the first year?
We are in the process of recruiting 40 families for our first year. These will include 20 families in Saskatoon, ten families in Martensville, and ten in Warman.
How has COVID-19 affected the start of the HIPPY program?
Home visits will be rolled out virtually in the fall with tablets coming through Mothers Matter Centre to be sure mothers and children can communicate safely and securely with their Home Visitors. Our HIPPY Coordinator and Supervisor have been participating in the Mothers Matter Centre’s Train-the-Trainer sessions to become better presenters, so that we can support our Home Visitors to do virtual visits.
How will the HIPPY program benefit the families you are working with?
The HIPPY program will break the isolation of newcomer families. They will be provided with an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect that honours diversity, creates a safe space to learn and grow, and allows for relationship-building between the parent and Home Visitor, the parent and their child, and the parent and their community. When the Home Visitors identify a certain need, they will connect the families to the appropriate community organizations, resulting in a more holistic integration.
Overall, the HIPPY program will create an atmosphere that strengthens the bond between mother and child. Parents will gain confidence as their child’s first teacher and access the resources to meet the individual needs of their family. Children will be exposed to new experiences that will build their skills to a level where they are sure to succeed in school.
What are you looking forward to?
We are looking forward to helping families in need and working within these communities to create a support network that will build independence and confidence for the parents. We are looking forward to children meeting milestones. We are looking forward to learning and growing as we deliver this amazing program for the first time.
Anything else you would like to add?
As a unit within SODS, we feel that the community connections and resources already available for families are holistic and diverse. We have been VERY inspired and pleased with the pre-service training and the Train-the-Trainer sessions that the Mothers Matter Centre provided to us so far. Thank you for the opportunity. We are excited to roll out this program alongside our Regina counterpart. We have agreed to support each other as we experience this program together.
Thank you for your time, and welcome to the HIPPY family!
The Mothers Matter Centre is the national licensing and monitoring body for all HIPPY sites in Canada. It ensures that all program staff are provided with the monitoring and support, professional education training (in a train-the-trainer format), and performance management processes that contribute to better operations, service, and outcomes for HIPPY participants.