Voice your Vote to Bully Food Truck

One of Edmonton's most well-known food trucks, Bully Food Truck, is donating their tips to a local charity — and we want that charity to be the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program! All you have to do is Tweet, Facebook, text or email your vote. There is no limit, so we encourage you to vote as often as possible. 

To vote, copy and paste:

  • TwitterTweet, retweet or direct message Bully Food Truck  "I vote for the H.E.R Pregnancy Program to win @BullyTruck's tip donations! #yeg #weloveboylestreet"
  • Facebook: Post to Bully Food Truck's wall – "I vote for the H.E.R Pregnancy Program to win Bully Food Truck's tip donations!" 
  • Text: 780-695-9292  "I vote for the H.E.R Pregnancy Program to win Bully Food Truck's tip donations!"
  • Email: wendy@bullyfoodtruckinc.ca  "I vote for the H.E.R Pregnancy Program to win Bully Food Truck's tip donations!"

Contest closes October, 31. Happy voting! 

Helping women find their voice: meet Morgan

You have a voice. Know that. And, know that it’s OK to use it. That’s the message Morgan Chalifoux hopes to inspire in the women she works with everyday.

Morgan is the senior staff member with the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, a partner program of Streetworks at Boyle Street Community Services.

Healthy, Empowered, Resilient — H.E.R. supports pregnant, street-involved women throughout their pregnancies and up to six months postpartum, creating the healthiest possible environment for them and their children.

Morgan has been with H.E.R. since its inception six years ago. It was inspired by another program called “Women in the Shadows” that, from 2008 to 2010, worked with pregnant, street-involved women to help them access vital healthcare services, particularly STI testing.

It’s OK to be empowered. It’s OK to be independent. It’s OK to have a voice and ask for help. They didn’t even know that they could do that, or how.
— Morgan Chalifoux

“Within that two years, there was a greater need shown not only medically, but with everything else — socially, housing, family, mental health, even just knowing how to have a voice and knowing that it is possible,” explained Morgan.

And so, H.E.R. was formed. Now, support staff like Morgan work one-on-one with moms to help them become as safe and healthy as possible, whether that’s navigating child services by their side, coordinating transportation to prenatal appointments or simply listening.

“For me, it’s just seeing the moms and them bonding with their kids,” said Morgan. “Seeing that light, even after they have been broken, battered, abused, depleted, their power taken away from them.”

“Yes, maybe they’re lost in every sense, but it’s still OK. If anything, that makes you a better person because it’s not easy to go through trauma like that and to come back and still be a bright, shining person.”

Support the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program. Donate to the endowment fund set up through the Edmonton Community Foundation.

5 ways to give to H.E.R. this month

We can always do with a little help. This year, help us help the moms and babies of the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, run out of and by Boyle Street Community Services.

Have some extra diapers to donate? Love to break a sweat for a sweet cause? There are lots of ways you can get involved this month:

  1. The H.E.R. program is in desperate need of diapers (size 1), baby wipes, baby formula and feminine hygiene products (tampons and pads). Drop off any of these materials at our collection site SVPT Fitness located at 4456 97 St. in Edmonton.
  2. Have a ladies night, book club meeting, or baby or bridal shower coming up? Consider adding a charitable component and hosting a diaper drive. See our blog for a fun way to make that happen!
  3. Attend a Friday GIVE’R class at YEG Cycle Spin Studio now until June 24. All proceeds from these classes are donated directly to the H.E.R. program. Visit www.yeg-cycle.com/give for more details.
  4. Make a cash donation to the H.E.R. program’s endowment fund set up through the Edmonton Community Foundation
  5. Follow Apricity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on new opportunities as they become available.

Update (June 15, 2016): YEG Cycle Spin Studio has also generously offered to be a donation collection site for the next 2 Fridays (June 17 and June 24) as another way to GIVE'R! When you come in for a GIVE'R class, please consider bringing in an item for the H.E.R. program with you. The studio is located at 10634 82 Ave. (Whyte Avenue). Thanks YEG Cycle!

Host a diaper drive

Changing diapers can be the sh… well, you know what we mean. Still, diapers are an essential care item for parents with a new baby. The steady need is substantial, and the cost can add up quickly.

That’s where you can help.

Boyle Street Community Services’ H.E.R. Pregnancy Program works directly with expectant, street-involved moms who, for many reasons, often do not have the access or means to purchase diapers on their own. They rely on the H.E.R. program, which tries to maintain a steady stock of diapers and other baby items to give away as needed.

The H.E.R. program is always accepting donations, and they are currently in desperate need of size 1 diapers.

Have a ladies’ night coming up? Book club meeting? Baby or bridal shower? Consider adding a charitable component and hosting a diaper drive as part of your event.

Here’s how:

  1. Spread the word: Whether you’re playing host or guest, let everyone know you want to collect diapers to donate to the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program as part of your event.  
  2. The ask: … just 1 box of diapers (preferably size 1) from everyone who is attending! The H.E.R. program also needs:
    • Baby wipes
    • Baby formula
    • Feminine hygiene products (e.g. tampons, pads)
  3. Collect: Graciously gather donations as they come in.
  4. Share the love: Snap some photos from your diaper drive and post them to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #herdiaperdrive. Tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and we’ll be happy to toot your horn!
  5. Drop off: Call the H.E.R. program at 780-423-3122 (ext. 279) and a staff member will arrange a time for you to bring your donations to the program office at Boyle Street Community Services (10116 105 Ave.). Office hours are Monday, 9 a.m. to noon, and Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (The office is closed everyday from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.)
  6. Start a movement: Tell your friends and family about your experience, and encourage them to host their own diaper drive for the H.E.R. program.

Every. Donation. Counts. Thank you in advance from all the staff, moms and babies at the H.E.R. program!

Resources

Only a few weeks left to #bike4Boyle

Since April, we’ve been busy biking our buns off at YEG Cycle Spin Studio, who chose Boyle Street Community Services (our partner this year!) as the charity of choice for their GIVE’R classes until the end of June.

Classes in support of Boyle Street, specifically its H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, officially wrap-up on June 24 before another deserving charity steps (or is it bikes?) into place. Until then, please join us in our #bike4Boyle over these last few weeks to help raise awareness and funds for the moms and babies of H.E.R.!

Here are the details on YEG Cycle’s GIVE’R classes one more time:

  • Date: Every Friday
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: YEG Cycle | 10634 82 Ave. (Whyte Avenue)
  • Cost: Discounted drop-in rate of $10 (100% of the proceeds until June 24 go directly to Boyle Street!)
  • How to sign up: Go online to yeg-cycle.com to secure your spot.

Registration opens at midnight on the Wednesday before each class. Classes fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early to avoid disappointment!

Need a little motivation?

Click on the images below to see why we #bike4Boyle:

See you there, biker gang!

Happy Mother’s Day: meet Kristen

Meet Kristen Rowan. At 22, her story might seem typical for her age: she owns her own place, works full-time and prides herself on her one-and-a-half year old son, Koda (named from the movie Brother Bear).

But, Kristen’s story is far from typical. Extraordinary is a better word.

Kristen is an “alumni” of the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, a partner program of Streetworks at Boyle Street Community Services and our latest partner here at Apricity.

“My mom came [to Boyle Street] all the time, so that’s when I linked up with the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program,” explained Kristen. “I was coming for emotional support, to get away from the life I was living sometimes.”

Before Koda, Kristen lived with her abusive ex-boyfriend and began using meth. Then, she found out she was pregnant, and she quit everything: “Just knowing that I wanted a healthy baby was enough to quit,” said Kristen.

 “I was going back and forth with names but in one of my ultrasounds, he was flipped upwards and they couldn’t take a picture of his face and I said, ‘Koda, you need to flip around.’ And, he flipped around. From that moment on, I was like, ‘His name’s Koda.’” — Kristen

“I was going back and forth with names but in one of my ultrasounds, he was flipped upwards and they couldn’t take a picture of his face and I said, ‘Koda, you need to flip around.’ And, he flipped around. From that moment on, I was like, ‘His name’s Koda.’” — Kristen

Morgan Chalifoux, H.E.R.’s senior staff member, helped her along the way, both emotionally and with more immediate needs like rides to prenatal appointments, bus and milk tickets and securing income support.

“Yes, maybe she didn’t have a white picket fence or a Mercedes Benz to raise her child, but she had the love,” said Morgan. “She had the willingness.”

Today, Kristen helps to inspire that willingness in others as a youth mentor.

“[H.E.R.] gave me the courage to actually stand up for myself in situations I wouldn’t have before,” said Kristen, who’s expecting her second child. “It was very helpful having somebody there to listen to what’s going on in my life when the people in my life wouldn’t. I knew that there would be somebody there that would.”

Happy Mother’s Day, Kristen — and to all the moms out there!

Get ready to GIVE’R

UPDATE (May 6, 2016): Given the wildfire situation in northern Alberta, all the proceeds of the May 6 GIVE'R class will go towards aid for the community of Fort McMurray. Support for Boyle Street Community Services will resume the following week.


Feel the burn!

Last Friday, we broke a sweat in a “biker gang” of more than 25 strong (with Dao Haddad at the helm!) at YEG Cycle Spin Studio’s second GIVE’R class of the month. 

With a little pain (the good kind, of course!), we helped gain some serious profile and funds for the latest chosen charity, our partner, Boyle Street Community Services.

Kick your support into high gear!

You still have many more chances to sweat it out for a sweet cause. Each GIVE’R class until the end of June directly supports Boyle Street. 

  • Date: Every Friday
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Location: YEG Cycle | 10634 82 Ave. (Whyte Avenue)
  • Cost: Discounted drop-in rate of $10 (100% of the proceeds go to Boyle Street!)
  • How to sign up: Go online to yeg-cycle.com to secure your spot. 

Registration opens at midnight on the Wednesday before each class. Classes fill up fast, so be sure to sign up early to avoid disappointment! (We found last Friday’s class was full by 7:30 a.m. on Thursday.) 

We hope to see you there!

Don’t forget: Brush up on some spin etiquette and FAQs, so you’re ready to GIVE’R at the next class!

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we’re so happy to join the global movement to recognize all of the amazing women out there.

This International Women’s Day is a particularly special one for us because we’re connected to so many amazing women at our partner organization, Boyle Street Community Services, specifically the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program.

Today, as we celebrate women around the world, we want to give a special shoutout to the women who run the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program, as well as those women who participate in the program, all of whom are street-involved moms who face incredible challenges each day.

Support the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program

Donate to the endowment fund we set up through the Edmonton Community Foundation in the name of Boyle Street and the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program.

When you donate to the endowment fund, your one-time gift grows through investment to provide ongoing support to the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program.

About the H.E.R. Pregnancy Program

The H.E.R Pregnancy Program strives to reach pregnant street-involved women, supporting them throughout their pregnancies and up to six months postpartum to help them become as safe and healthy as possible.