Geneviève moved from Quebec City to Winnipeg six years ago. She met her husband in Winnipeg. She now has two daughters, Rosemarie, three, and eleven-month-old Elise. She didn’t know many people in Winnipeg, and wanted to find a place where she could connect with other moms and give her girls a chance to play with other kids. She also wanted to find a place that was open to creativity and exploring new things.
And then, she discovered the South Winnipeg Family Information Centre (SWFIC), a United Way Winnipeg donor-supported agency.
“It’s an awesome place,” said Geneviève. “I’ve been to a lot of mom’s groups, but SWFIC is unique. They are very creative and environmentally conscious. They try new recipes and make sure they have vegan and vegetarian options for their snacks. They also always have different kinds of tea and coffee for the parents.”
Geneviève goes to the centre two times a week with her daughters. She learned about SWFIC at the library when she was looking for things to do with her baby during her first maternity leave.
Wellness for the whole family
Geneviève’s favourite activities are the Baby & Me, playgroup and playtime with snacks. SWFIC also emphasizes wellness for parents, and offers an afternoon wellness session where participants practice yoga and meditation with free childcare for their little ones.
Geneviève returned to her workplace in February of 2020. She was able to change her work schedule so she could continue to attend some of the afternoon sessions at SWFIC. Geneviève’s husband also attended some of the programming while on paternity leave.
“We call it the ‘Ant Place’ because we did a craft about an ant, so whenever we tell Rosemarie that’s where we’re going, she’s always really happy about it,” said Geneviève. “Her favourite things are crafts and reading.”
In addition to family-focused programming, SWFIC also offers financial management training, parenting courses, and drop-in programs. It is also the home of Dress for Success Winnipeg, which provides free career clothing and support for women seeking employment through referral from training and social service agencies.
Maternal mental health is a pressing health issue worldwide. According to StatsCan, nearly one-quarter of new mothers report feeling symptoms consistent with postpartum depression or anxiety disorders. Many new moms report feeling alone after they give birth. Family resource centres that offer programming for new parents are essential spaces of community connection, so new parents feel supported and connected as caregivers.