I am Dene First Nation from the northern regions of Saskatchewan. I have been involved with HIPPY for almost three years, and it has changed my life and really gave my children a leg up in this world.
The care and encouragement I’ve received from my Home Visitor and the program itself are beyond what I could have ever imagined getting. I’ve come a long way since doing this program, and I would like to share my story with you.
A little bit about myself.
I like to call myself bi-coastal. I have moved around many times in my life, everywhere from coast to coast. I did much of my growing up on the east coast of Nova Scotia, and later in the west of British Columbia.
Through all the moves, I’ve faced the hardships of what is called social isolation many times. Anxiety surrounds you when you have to deal with the idea of getting out there and being vulnerable to make connections. The task can be so daunting, you just might give up.
When you’ve come from a dysfunctional environment like myself, making healthy connections with anyone is one of the hardest things to do when you’re in a new place. I lost my mother at a young age, then grew up with an alcoholic father who was incapable of expressing positive affirmation. And with a grade 8 education, his knowledge was limited.
I grew up to resent authority and developed a rebellious attitude toward education. Not showing up and not doing my work. Why do we do that? As my father says now, whom I do love dearly despite his own afflictions, he always said to me “you would cut off your nose to spite your face”.
I spent many years struggling with stability and self-esteem.
This led to a lot of poor decision making later on in my life. A few years of hardships and loss lead me to Vancouver six years ago. I moved my 14-month-old son from Nova Scotia in hopes of better opportunities and supports. I was still anxious to connect. I had no idea where to begin, but I knew I wanted it.
After some time, I was connected to Osiris Lopez who works for the HIPPY program. She came into my life just when I needed her. I was a stay-at-home mom with two small boys, a three-year-old and a baby. I still didn’t have any friends, and I didn’t have any real connections with the community. I was home alone with these small children all the time and it was negatively impacting my mental health. My three-year-old was struggling with verbal communication and I was having a hard time understanding him as an individual.
My HIPPY Home Visitor changed a lot of those things for me.
With structured visits and her positive energy, she showed me so much compassion and understanding. My son learned to love the homework and began expressing himself verbally. I was always excited to see how quick he was to learn.
I learned a lot about myself in the process as well. I learned that I had a lot to teach and a lot of patience. I learned how important it was to share my knowledge. Really, it was a good boost to my self-esteem. I always looked forward to the group meetings because it gave me a chance to connect with other people like me with commonalities and learn things from others in the process in regards to parenting.
I truly feel that I did a lot of my maturing and growing with this program along with my child.
He is now in grade 1 and getting along great with his work and his peers. His teachers love his energy and enthusiasm to do school work and the awesome school habits he carries on from the HIPPY program.
I now have a three-year-old and a two-year-old at home. I look forward to teaching them while also being employed as a Home Visitor with HIPPY. It’s really come full circle here. That’s what means the most to me: the community impact this program has had on me.
I was supported with compassion and empathy, and now I’ll be passing that onto others as well.
I look forward to many moons contributing to my community in the best way I can with joy and knowledge to keep me going.