Mother’s Day around The Mustard Seed is not quite the traditional holiday we’re all used to celebrating.
One of the complex causes of homelessness is broken relationships, which sadly can be attributed to someone’s parents at times. These factors are some of the barriers our guests work through on a daily basis, which is why when we met Kim and her daughter Alysha, we had complete admiration for their relationship and the obstacles they’ve overcome together.
The mother-daughter duo moved to Calgary looking for a home a year ago and admit, they weren’t quite sure what the future held for them – but they had hope.
We were introduced to these two brave women in our shelter where they were looking for housing and needing some services.
David, our Chaplain, recalls meeting them for the first time when they were looking for housing supports and other resources at our Downtown Support Centre – they were staying at the shelter at the time. “They were quite nervous about living in a shelter, so I sat down and prayed with them, and encouraged them that they wouldn’t be there long,” says David.
The two admitted they were unsure about the shelter, but stayed strong and optimistic. “They let us put our mats together, which normally isn’t allowed, but they knew how young I was,” explains Alysha.
Our staff remembers looking out for the pair and recognizing the need to keep them close to each other.
“I fought so hard to keep us together,” said Kim.
Even when they were offered housing at the 1010 Centre, one of our permanent supportive housing complexes, Kim continued to fight to be close to Alysha. Their move-in dates were scheduled on separate days, but she wasn’t going anywhere without her daughter. “I’d never seen my mom fight so hard for me like that,” says Alysha.
The pair confessed their relationship hasn’t always been perfect, but accept the fact that no relationship is. They understand they are where they are today because of each other, and couldn’t have done it without one another.
“Kim was really nervous for her daughter and I knew we didn’t have a place that could accommodate the two of them,” says Chaplain David. “But we could get them in the same building.”
Kim and Alysha still live at the 1010 Centre and have access to each other’s floors. Since moving in, they have both become regular volunteers at the Coffee House in our Downtown Support Centre, which provides coffee for guests coming from the shelter or off the streets. They have been a great addition to The Mustard Seed community.
Kim’s outgoing personality has really resonated with the guests and they look forward to chatting with her. “Working at the Coffee House makes me feel really good,” says Kim. “I’m giving back.”
Alysha has also seen a lot of growth in herself. She has been stepping out of her comfort zone as a volunteer serving coffee to our guests, which has helped her become more outgoing; but it’s Alysha’s outlook that has changed the most. “Before the Coffee House, I had a negative outlook on the homeless. But being there and seeing the day-to-day has changed my perspective.”