A Helping Hand for Saskatoon: The Impact of Haven Kids’ House
A Place for Parents to Turn
Ensuring that children have a safe and welcoming environment in times of crisis is an impactful, enduring act of compassion. For many families, simply knowing that they have somewhere to turn in an emergency situation can lift a huge weight from their shoulders.
The Haven Kids’ House in Saskatoon exists to serve that purpose. An extension of the non-profit Haven Family Connections, which formed in 1976, the Kids’ House provides temporary but necessary childcare when parents or guardians have no other options – whether that’s from medical issues, emergencies, or other personal matters. With a mission to “work together to strengthen and preserve families” – because, as they plainly state, families belong together – they are a fixture in the social service offerings of the city.
The organization officially entered into a partnership with Youth + Us at the beginning of 2020, based on a longstanding relationship that had already been in place. The timing turned out to be critical, as the COVID-19 pandemic affected Haven’s ability to do traditional fundraising at a time when they would need those funds the most. Without that partnership, a vital Saskatoon service would not have been readily available.
Working with Youth + Us
Now in the second year of a 3-year official partnership, the respective teams of Haven Kids’ House and Youth + Us had a professional relationship long before it was put in writing. It’s one of the reasons they eventually chose to come together for the greater good of the community.
“The assistance provided by Youth + Us has made it so much more reliable and efficient to plan,” says Dionne Miazdyck-Shield, the executive director of Haven. “It has freed up resources for additional funding, and other necessary work of supporting family success, especially in the age of COVID.”
The assistance has gone directly to supporting the kids under their care, with a direct impact both on them and, by extension, their families. This is most apparent in situations of medical emergencies – an unthinkable dilemma where a primary caregiver must spend an unexpectedly long time in the hospital, and their children have nowhere else to go for care and other necessary support. One of Haven’s primary purposes is to be a safe place in such a situation, providing shelter and resources as needed and removing additional elements of stress and worry for a family in crisis.
They also provide a safe destination and regrouping space for families struggling with other trauma, such as mental health, domestic violence, legal matters, and others that carry similar stigma. In the end, while the House may seem like a small part of each story that passes through its doors – it is like a beacon in the night for the people who find themselves there.
The Future of Haven Kids’ House and Youth + Us
When asked what the future holds for their organization, Dionne is enthusiastic about what they can offer and how the effect cascades through time. “The work we do impacts the whole community, because we’re all part of this. Our community is healthier when families have the support they need.” Haven invests in families, she says, and like any good investment, it amplifies and returns – in the form of safety, dignity, hope, and better outcomes for kids. “It’s a refreshing feeling to know that Youth + Us genuinely cares about the community and our mission of keeping families together. It motivates us to keep working and find new ways to support as many families as we can.”