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Loly’s Lifeline: Indigenous HIPPY

During the COVID19 outbreak, Indigenous HIPPY is giving Loly the support and tools she needs to be empowered and look after the wellbeing of her children.

Because of the COVID-19 public health directives, all in-site family programs Loly and her children used to participate in have closed however, there is one special community-based program that is still running because of its home-based approach. Indigenous HIPPY has become a lifeline to Loly and her family’s wellbeing during the pandemic outbreak.

Since October 2018, Loly has been participating in a mother-to-mother and home-based educational program for socially isolated Indigenous mothers of children ages 3-5 in East Vancouver. 

The Indigenous Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program in East Vancouver uses a hub-and-spoke model and is based at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre (VAFCS) in partnership with Helping Spirit Lodge Society, Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House, Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, and the Mothers Matter Centre.

Indigenous HIPPY trains and employs Indigenous mothers from the East Vancouver to work with mothers like them. HIPPY mothers help their young children learn about Indigenous culture and history, and develop early learning skills that will help them success in the school system. Every week, HIPPY mothers receive free educational packets they will use to engage their children in role playing and culturally safe and appropriate storybooks and activities; trained Home Visitors teach mothers the Indigenous HIPPY curriculum, and the mothers spend fifteen minutes every day teaching their children the weekly modules. Since social distancing protocols were put in place, Loly and her Home Visitor have completed their weekly sessions using the virtual activities and weekly check-ins specially designed by the Mothers Matter Centre.  After the virtual session with her Home Visitor, Loly has the structured resources she needs to teach the HIPPY activities to her youngest son, 4-year-old Larry.

Indigenous HIPPY in East Vancouver is giving Loly, and 44 other Indigenous mothers like her, the much needed at-home educational material and enrichment activities that can help her feel empowered during these uncertain times. Loly has two more children, ages 8 and 10, who graduated from HIPPY and are now receiving homework and lessons from their school where teachers take the lead; however, as she told her Home Visitor, because of HIPPY she feels she has the know how and the tools to ensure her youngest child is not left behind.

Written by Angela Contreras in collaboration with Loly, Jessica, Stacy, Osiris, Christina, and other project participants in the Navigation Project and HIPPY Program in East Vancouver.

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