Salvation Army Parenting Program Empowers Single Father to Succeed

Chris with food and practical items in cart alongside Salvation Army worker

Being an only parent is hard. For Chris, 27, it is important for him to have a supportive team of people that he can rely on. The Salvation Army’s Bethany Hope Centre in Ottawa is helping him earn his high-school diploma, teaching him parenting skills and improving the well-being of his young family.

“I never intended to be a single parent,” says Chris. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without The Salvation Army. They really helped change my life.”

The Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre is a multi-service centre that assists pregnant and young parents up to 29 years of age. It offers programs and services such as health care, counselling, child-development programs, education and employment resources and healthy food programs.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without The Salvation Army.”

“When I gained full custody of my two sons in 2019, I was lost and worried,” says Chris. “A friend told me about the Bethany Hope Centre.”

At The Salvation Army, Chris has benefited from several programs, including Dad’s Matter, where he learned how to create routines and stick with them, and support the children emotionally.

“At Dad’s Matter, there were other guys my age who have children,” says Chris. “We discussed topics such as health and safety and healthy eating. I made friends there and we organize play dates with our children.”

Now ages six and 10, Chris lights up when he talks about his sons.

“The Salvation Army helped me learn how to connect with them and form attachments,” says Chris. “My oldest is a busy child and just joined the Boy Scouts. My youngest wants to do anything his older brother does. We all like to play soccer and hockey on the outdoor rinks.”

Currently, while Chris is juggling caring for his children and keeping up with bills and household chores, he is grateful for food support he receives at the Centre.

“I feel a little less nervous about our future.”

“I appreciated the fresh vegetables and fruit for the children’s lunches,” says Chris. “I also come to the food bank every week. I never feel judged. It helps financially and takes a weight of my shoulders.”

After Chris completes high school through the Centre’s Learning Coach Program, he wants to apply for a good job.

“I want to provide my kids with a good life,” says Chris. “I feel a little less nervous about our future.”

By Linda Leigh