Organizations who provide HIPPY programming

The Mothers Matter Centre is the proud home of the HIPPY program in Canada. We work with partners across this country who are dedicated to supporting low-income women to improve their lives and, in doing so, the lives of their families and communities.

We want you to learn more about the extraordinary work our program delivery partners undertake every day in their communities.

Working Women Community Centre of Toronto

Working Women Community Centre of Toronto is a charitable organization that provides a variety of programs and services to help immigrant women adjust to living in Toronto. What sets Working Women apart from other charities in the sector? Its enterprising spirit and approach with clients.

The Working Women Centre of Toronto has the distinguished honour of hosting the oldest and largest site in Canada. In 2003, HIPPY Toronto opened its first site in the Jane and Finch community, a Toronto neighbourhood known for youth violence and troubled schools. After the news got out about the success of that first HIPPY site, it did not take long for Working Women’s entrepreneurial executive director, Marcie Ponte, to secure funding for an additional three sites.

Working Women has continued to sustain its program and innovate others, such as the Young Moms HIPPY program and the Refugee program. They now serve more than 300 families at six sites. Working Women is the home of five HIPPY programs and the AFIP project (Accelerated Family Integration Project) dedicated to refugees in the Toronto regional district. Sylvie Charliekaram manages all the HIPPY Hub Models in Toronto.

Site: HIPPY for Young Mothers in Toronto
Site Lead: Sierra Henry 

The HIPPY site for Young Mothers in Toronto has operated since 2013 at the Working Women Community Centre. Three Home Visitors serve young mothers under 29.

The HIPPY Program works because it provides mothers with the tools and confidence to teach their children. We are looking forward to our fourth year as we hire three moms from the program as new Home Visitors. Other young parent service agencies are impressed that we can engage and keep more than 30 young women in the program for 30 weeks. We can – because our Home Visitors and mothers believe in HIPPY and its benefits.

Chantel Espinola, Former Site Lead, HIPPY for Young Mothers in Toronto

Success story:
A mother joined the HIPPY for Young Mothers program and finished the age-five curriculum. Thanks to that curriculum, she learned the importance of parent engagement in her child’s school. She has since joined the parent council at her daughter’s school and raised her hand to suggest a tutoring program for parents and children. There is now a tutoring program on site because of this awesome HIPPY mother!

Site: Thorncliffe / Flemingdon Park, Victoria Communities
Site Lead: Charmaine Greenidge

HIPPY works!

The Thorncliffe / Flemingdon site started providing services in 2005 and now serves more than 100 families. It employs nine HIPPY Home Visitors.

Charmaine’s insight into the HIPPY Program:

I’ve been part of the HIPPY community for the past 12 years and it certainly has changed from when I started – and it is ever-changing. ‘Changing’ may be the wrong word…’Refining’ would be more appropriate. Home Visitors are trained to gather data on all participant efforts every year, and we draw clearer perspectives on how HIPPY positively affects its community.

How do we measure the wonderful bond that is created when families get together for group meetings and field trips, where they feel comfortable to laugh and share their ups and downs, and discovery of new spaces and places? Where they discover a city that was foreign and intimidating is now is a source of belonging? It’s great to be part of the settlement process where success is simply measured by a family opening their door to a HIPPY Home Visitor.

Success story:

I cannot say enough how much the HIPPY program has changed me and my child. Eva is becoming a book fan in the whole year with HIPPY. At nights, without me reading a story book to her, she will not get to sleep. It strengthens my relationship with my child as a single mom. I was fortunate to enroll into this HIPPY program. It gave me and my child a structured learning guidance and being together time. I can see that my child is so happy with me while following the HIPPY homework. The HIPPY Home Visitor is very nice and always encourages me and helps me when I have any questions. This Program is so great, I am so happy and lucky to find you, your program, and your team. I definitely will want more people to benefit from this.

HIPPY Mother

Site: HIPPY Downtown West, Francophone and Karen Communities Site in Toronto
Site Lead: Stefania Ntonas

If it is to be, it begins with me.


The HIPPY Downtown West, Francophone and Karen Communities Site in Toronto has operated since September 2008. Six Home Visitors serve 70 newcomers, immigrants and protected refuges

Stefania’s insight into the HIPPY Program:
Stefania uses a specific example of a mother who found that the HIPPY Program positively changed both her and her child’s life.

Jeanett was one of our first HIPPY moms when we started HIPPY in this community nine years ago. She successfully completed all three ages of the program with her autistic son, Alejandro, within almost four years in her own moderate pace, accustomed ways of playing and with the caring support from her Home Visitor and Coordinator.
Summer 2014, a year and a half after she completed the HIPPY program as a mother, Jeanett walked into the office to ask me if we had an opening for a HIPPY Home Visitor position, as she wanted to apply and give back by helping other moms. Sure enough, we did have an opening that year and I invited her to interview. Jeanett was a successful candidate and became involved with HIPPY again, this time as a HIPPY Home Visitor.
During her time with HIPPY, Jeanett completed an early childhood assistant college diploma. She also found another part-time position in a daycare and worked two part-time jobs for a couple of years. Just a couple of weeks after HIPPY graduation on June 3, 2017, her last day as HIPPY Home Visitor, Jeanett was offered a full-time position in the same daycare where had been working as an early childhood assistant.

Success story:
When I was a HIPPY mom, I had become very passionate about the HIPPY program and I applied to be a HIPPY Home Visitor. I started to work in the fall of 2014 and today, June 3, 2017, is my last day. I would like to thank all my HIPPY moms for letting me into their homes and into their lives. I bonded with and learned from everyone. I became friends with many and I always will feel close to all. I have learned a lot as a HIPPY mom and as a HIPPY Home Visitor. Thanks to the program, my English, and my personal and my professional skills have improved greatly. I will miss my team of three years: Tina, Yahi, Nancy, Eh paw, Cherry, Patience, Sonia and Yan. I’d like to thank you all for making me each week a better person.

Jeanett Serrano, Former HIPPY Mother and Home Visitor

Site: WWCC HIPPY Malvern in Toronto
Site Lead: Angela Edwards

All children can learn. Just not in the same way or on the same day.

The HIPPY site in the Malvern community in Toronto has operated since 2008 at the Working Women Community Centre. Three Home Visitors serve 42 newcomer and citizen families.

Angela’s insight into the HIPPY Program:
The opportunity to interact and work with young children and adults is an honour. We have learned from each other, and grown.

Success story:
HIPPY showed me first steps in working life and I’m so happy and proud of myself.

Former Home Visitor and HIPPY Mother

HIPPY Oakville
Coordinator: Daniela Palau

 HIPPY helps to build a trustable relationship between the mother and the child.

June Cockwell was determined to bring the HIPPY Program to the under-served and overlooked low-income residents of one of the wealthiest communities in Canada. Unlike most other HIPPY sites, June has personally raised the funds for the sites from individual donors and grants.  The program expanded last year to Milton and Burlington and serves 110 families.
The HIPPY Oakville site has operated since 2007 and the six Home Visitors serve mainly newcomer families.

Daniela’s insight into the HIPPY Program:
At HIPPY Oakville we believe that, if you feel confident, you can do anything! HIPPY is not only about helping the kids, but the mothers too.

Success story:
My daughter Teresa and I have been doing HIPPY for about six months. The positive impact that our HIPPY learning experience has had goes beyond my expectations. HIPPY has had a positive impact on three fronts of my daughter´s life: the linguistic, the relational and the pedagogical. 

HIPPY Oakville mom

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST)
Coordinator: Randi O’Brien from the Mi’kmaq First Nations

We do not inherent the Earth from our ancestors we borrow from our children. 

Native American Proverb

Native and Child Family Services is the newest member of the Aboriginal HIPPY team. The program that operates in Scarborough is funded by Grace Church on-the-Hill and SNC Lavelin.  Like our other urban Aboriginal sites, the program meets the complex needs of urban Aboriginal people. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto serves families and children in the Toronto area, including First Nations, Métis, Inuit and all those with Aboriginal heritage who choose to be served by the Agency. The Aboriginal HIPPY site at the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto opened in spring 2017 at the Scarborough Family Life Centre.

Randi’s insight into the Aboriginal HIPPY Program:
It takes a community to raise a child and the city can be awfully lonely to a young single parent but, with HIPPY, parents are able to grow for their children’s sake. HIPPY allows parents to develop as individuals and create and recreate bonds with their children.
Investing time in our HIPPY families is essential. When one child asked about the dog book, Where’s Spot, the Mom said ‘Baby, Randi came so mommy could talk to someone besides family.’ I smiled and she continued, ‘Honestly, outside my family I don’t have anyone to talk to.’
HIPPY is helping this young mother instill routine and, when I brought up the HIPPY packet during this home visit, I told her, ‘This can wait until next week, don’t worry.’ She had just lost her cousin, who was only 24 years old. This isn’t unusual for our community; we have a relationship with death. Death is amongst us; death surrounds us. The mom is grateful to know that there’s a weekly Home Visitor checking on her. HIPPY provides unique support to those strong enough to reach out or cry for help.

HIPPY Red Deer at Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association
Coordinator: Fatemeh Sarvari

We support and train immigrant families to be resilient and to achieve their hopes and dreams.


The HIPPY program was introduced in Red Deer in January 2009. The program is funded by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and operates out of Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association (CAIWA). CAIWA was formed in 1991 by a group of immigrant women to empower immigrant women by raising their own and their families’ awareness of various aspects of Canadian life and assisting them in achieving their full potential as members of Canadian society.

HIPPY Red Deer provides its services in a variety of languages to increase a sense of unity amongst those with various cultures and backgrounds. Last year the site worked with 130 families with 151 children, mostly Newcomers and Refugees, who spoke more than 19 languages and came from 25 countries. The HIPPY Red Deer staff consists of a Program Coordinator and nine Home Visitors.

Fatemeh’s insight into the HIPPY Program:

There are four communities served by the Red Deer HIPPY site. Our site holds two events each year, which include both urban and rural clients. This year we will focus on educating parents about social responsibility during group activities and their role in teaching their children about accepted behaviour.

Success story:

My personal experience with the program was very successful. I learned a variety of stuff that helped my child to develop her skills in different areas such as literacy, mathematics, science, thinking, and reasoning; these also helped her to have some knowledge when she went to school. I also met new people from different backgrounds.  

I have to say that the activities aren’t just for your child but for us as parents as well; because we have to admit that there are many things that we as newcomers don’t know. I’m very grateful to the teachers that guide us through the program because they make things easy for us as parents.

                                                                                                                     Yuli, HIPPY Mother – May 2017

For more information please visit:

HIPPY Brooks at the SPEC Association for Children and Families
Coordinator: Rochelle Galeski 

Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.

Jean Rhys

HIPPY Brooks began in September 2014, serving immigrant and refugee families in the community of Brooks, Alberta. The program is funded by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and housed at the SPEC Association for Children & Families. Established in 1978, SPEC began as a fee-for-service program with Alberta Social Services and Community Health. SPEC is focused on the positive development of kids by providing a continuum of services from early intervention to high intervention during crisis. By providing family support services, SPEC continues to focus on a variety of preventive and educational programs that promote a caring and committed community where kids are resilient and valued.

Last year HIPPY Brooks worked with 51 families with 60 children who spoke more than nine languages and came from 13 countries. The HIPPY Brooks staff comprises a Program Coordinator and four Home Visitors.

Rochelle’s insight into the HIPPY Program:

We are incredibly proud of the community of Brooks, a small city in Southern Alberta with a huge reputation due to its cultural diversity. In Brooks you will find 100 languages spoken by families from all over the world. Our community embraces the unique challenges of immigrants coming to this cold desert city and helps make the immigration and integration experience positive and welcoming. HIPPY in Brooks serves 51 Mothers and continues to meet new families who want the HIPPY program. HIPPY Mothers are growing and learning because of the HIPPY program. It’s been a pleasure to witness Mothers in their third or fourth year of the program become independent, hardworking mothers who contribute significantly to the community.

Success story:

Hui wanted to become a Home Visitor in the future. However, she was nervous and shy and didn’t believe she would work anywhere but at our local meat-packing plant. Hui’s Home Visitor encouraged Hui and gave her self-confidence by delivering the HIPPY program every week and empowering her to be her child’s first teacher. Her career aspiration was to work for SPEC and help people. In September we interviewed and hired Hui as a Home Visitor. 

Hui said, “When I left my job at JBS Canada, the HR person asked, ‘What is your reason for leaving JBS?’ I answered: ‘Because I want to change my life. I want to help people and be an example for my daughters.’” 

For more information please visit:

Aboriginal HIPPY – Tsleil-Waututh First Nation
Coordinator: Meade Manson 

Parents know their child best. I bring nothing to them but material and curriculum. They do all the hard work!

Meade Manson

Tsleil-Waututh Nation, which translates to ‘the People of the Inlet,’ is home to the Aboriginal HIPPY program and serves approximately ten families. Aboriginal HIPPY supports parents in helping their children, ages 3-5, develop the foundational literacy and numerical skills needed to succeed in school. In addition to acting as the site’s Coordinator, Meade Manson is also the Home Visitor. Aboriginal HIPPY is considered an important part of their promotion of language and cultural revitalization.

Meade’s insight into the HIPPY Program:

Aboriginal HIPPY is a part of our community. It has helped and been there for many of our children and I hope it continues to be here as a resource to all the parents so the community stays full with knowledge and love for learning.

Success story:
There are so many stories. First would be what I personally experienced with my own children in the program. My daughters are my inspiration and with the program it started us out on the right track. When it came time to start school they knew their names and how to write them, using scissors safely and properly, holding a pencil and the idea of books and so much more. They were ready! And now they are both in French grade 4 and grade 7.

I also love the moments I get to share with my HIPPY families – times where the children’s faces light up when they see me and they know what I bring into their home to do with their parent. Some say, “you bring me books!” or “you bring my homework!” and so many other things. As we all know, kids say the funniest things. As well, I have gotten testimonies from parents about the program and how important it is to our community. Although it is a great achievement when the kids go into kindergarten but mostly grade 1 when they graduate from the HIPPY program with their parent, I am proud and, of course, sad to see them go, but I know that they are prepared for the school system and the parents now have an idea on how to handle “homework” time and knowing good questions to ask teachers along the way. I have no worries and know in the next school year I will be doing it all over again with different beautiful faces.

                                                                                 Meade Manson, HIPPY Coordinator and Home Visitor

HIPPY Vancouver at Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of BC
Coordinator: Chialin Meyer 

HIPPY Really Works!

It’s the second year of the HIPPY program at ISSofBC with seven Home Visitors and one Training Coordinator this year.

Since 1972, ISSofBC has been providing a variety of support services for immigrants and refugees to help them get settled, find careers and learn all they need to know about starting their new lives in Canada. ISSofBC provides settlement, education and employment services for more than 25,000 clients every year.

ISSofBC is the largest agency of its kind in Western Canada, with targeted programs for refugees, women, children and youth, plus support services in more than 45 languages.

Last year the HIPPY Vancouver community supported 94 families and 109 children who come from 20 countries and speak more than 23 languages.

Chialin’s insight into the HIPPY Program:

HIPPY really works!  HIPPY really works because people notice.  Neighbours, kindergarten teachers, family, and friends notice the change. They see the benefits of the HIPPY program and its impact on the child and mother. HIPPY mothers report that, after being in the HIPPY program, their child knows how to write their name, knows the sounds of the alphabet and can rhyme words.  HIPPY mothers are asked, “What are you doing differently?” They reply, “It’s HIPPY!”

Success story:

A success story begins right at our site.  The HIPPY Training Coordinator, Shinda Shi, is our site’s success story.  Shinda Shi started as a HIPPY mother in 2013.  When she was a HIPPY mother, she felt so isolated while raising two young boys. Then, she became a Home Visitor for four years and began to see positive changes in herself and her children. Currently, Shinda also works as an Outreach Support Worker and Nobody’s Perfect Facilitator with other organizations. In addition, she is involved in the community taking on several roles, such as a member of an Advisory Committee for the Neighbourhood Small Grant Project, a Facilitator for a Parent’s Support Circle Program, and as a volunteer for the Library Champion Program.

The team is so happy for her in her new role.  Shinda is truly a success story!

For more information, please visit:


508-1190 Melville St Vancouver, BC V6E 3W1