Salvation Army Program Provides Peace of Mind to Winnipeg Mother

Lauren (left) sits with mother Arlene (right)

When Arlene gave birth to her daughter, Lauren, in May 1986, she knew something wasn’t quite right. After a series of tests, Lauren was diagnosed with having partial trisomy 13, a chromosome disorder that causes severe intellectual disability and many physical abnormalities.

“We went to her pediatrician who said the best thing you can do is treat her like any other kid. So that’s what we did,” says Arlene.

Arlene eventually went back to work and enrolled Lauren in child care and then a school with a special needs program. But Arlene was faced with the reality that she wouldn’t be able to take care of her daughter forever.

“I realized I needed to have a plan for Lauren, because she is an only child, and I’m not going to live forever. So it was always in the back of my mind that we needed to do something sooner rather than later,” says Wilgosh.

The Salvation Army’s Community Venture (CV) program was recommended to Arlene while Lauren was still living at home. Shortly after that Lauren started in the CV outreach program, then the day program, and in 2010 became a member of the residential program and moved into her home where she resides today.

Non-verbal, Lauren is unable to perform most basic daily living tasks, such as meal preparation, bathing, and other things like brushing her teeth. The CV residential program provides 24-hour supervision and support for all of Lauren’s needs, in addition to providing ample opportunities for outings and activities.

“CV gives her an opportunity to be like other young adults,” Arlene says. “There are some weekends her social calendar is dancing on Friday, bowling on Saturday, supper at someone else’s house on Saturday night, church on Sunday. And she’s doing it with her peers. It’s given her freedom and the opportunity to develop and build her self-confidence and independence.

CV also gives  Arlene the opportunity to enjoy her own social life, without always having to worry about Lauren’s wellbeing and safety.

“At CV I know that Lauren is surrounded by a safety net. They’re very thoughtful and observant in caring for her. And The Salvation Army has given me peace of mind that there is a plan for her.”