Meet the Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre Society
Formally registered under the Societies’ Act on July 13, 1978. The Centre’s mission was (and still is) to provide single parents, caregivers, and children with opportunities for learning and growth through our resources and services. Our first home was in the basement of St. John’s Anglican Church. From there, we moved to a cottage owned by the church and eventually, when services and staff expanded, to a much larger building at 613 Superior St. 1990 was a significant year of growth for the Centre as we became a United Way Member agency and received major funding to launch our Child Care Support Services program which has evolved over the years to become today’s successful Victoria Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR) program. 1Up still oversees CCRR which provides essential support, resources, and training to license-not-required in home day care programs.
With the benefit of grants from the provincial government, a small loan, and a generous gift from a donor (who is still involved with the Centre) SPRC was able to purchase Humber House, our current home, located at 602 Gorge Rd E. This Heritage Designated house, built in 1885, was designed by Architect, Harold Teague, and built by the owner, George Humber. The building was renovated and made into offices prior to our purchase of the building and we renovated further to suit our purposes before settling in during 1991 and we’ve been there ever since!
The Society’s purpose has always been to assist and support single parents in their task of raising a family alone; to assist in increasing single parents’ self-worth, self-confidence, and self-reliance by providing a central facility whether they can meet, develop friendships, and share experiences with other single parents and their families; learn of, and use community resources; and find counseling, programs and workshops related to their needs.
Over the years, how these goals are achieved has changed to meet the shifting needs of single parents and their families. For instance, in the early days, our services were directed almost exclusively to single moms. These days, our clients are still primarily single moms, but the number of single parent dads is growing each year and is about 15% at the moment. This demographic change makes it viable to offer courses tailored to single fathers such as our Dads with Dads Support Group. Course topics, services, and resources change with demand (determined by observed need and in close consultation with single parents) although the really good programs persist – our MOMentum: Moms & Mentors program celebrated its 10th anniversary in spring 2015. In 2010, we underwent a rebranding process resulting in the addition of 1Up to our name and new, modernized logos (featuring both a single mom and a single dad).
Tom – A Peer Helper’s Story
A little over two years ago, a friend told me I could donate some of my late mother’s clothing and household things to the Single Parent Resource Centre. I remember thinking “The what?” And wasn’t this place an eye opener: busy, positive and clear sense of purpose. On my second trip in, I asked Trevor (our Administrative Coordinator) if they did anything with volunteers. He smiled. The rest, as they say, is history.
For starters, the Peer Helper training (a whopping 25 hours!) gave me the competence and confidence to take my place at the front reception desk, as well as pitch in on any one of a multitude of tasks that comes our way.
No matter which path we followed in coming to the 1Up Centre, I think we return again and again for two reasons: the practical, positive things we do here, and the people involved.
I like the people I get to work with – both the other volunteers and the regular staff. I enjoy, and am inspired by the members who come through the front door. Everyone has an individual story about their family, challenges and resolutions. That’s what keeps me signing up for those Friday morning shifts.
So, the reason I came was a one-off. The reason I keep coming back is ongoing – it’s the people. To my fellow volunteers, the staff, and most of all the members – thanks for being here and making it the place it is. (If there is a lesson here, it is to watch for Trevor’s smile. It leads to good things.)