One of the countless beneficiaries of the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) program, which was brought to Canada by National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Vancouver. (photo from Mothers Matter Centre)
It doesn’t matter if you’re famous, it doesn’t matter if you’re obscure – what you do as a mother matters.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) Vancouver knows how much mothers matter. It continues to be a trailblazer, an advocate, a constant pillar of support for women and children, for more than 97 years.
The NCJWC Vancouver universe is full of shining lights, women who are committed to their communities and serve as models for their unique role in leading social change. These stars include Carol Slater, soon to be the Trailblazer honouree of the awards night hosted by the Mothers Matter Centre. She and the Kort sisters – Alisa, Beverley and Suzanne – are passionate about the program originally known as HIPPY.
Slater knew, when she first heard about HIPPY (Israel’s Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) from reports in Israel and the United States, that she had to bring it to Vancouver. The program works in the home with vulnerable and isolated mothers. Slater knew that mothers are the first and most important teachers of the child and that the program would provide the essential tools and skills for them.
In 2000, she convinced NCJWC Vancouver to initiate a project, partnering with Simon Fraser University, an institute that trains educators with academic rigour, and the Britannia Community Centre, known for its vibrant presence in the heart of immigrant Vancouver. Now, 20 years later, on May 5, 2021, Slater was recognized as a Trailblazer by the Mothers Matter Centre, which now delivers the HIPPY program on a national level.
More shining stars are coming out that night for special awards: Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a prominent indigenous leader; Dr. Theresa Tam, the director of Canada’s Public Health Agency; Gloria Macarenko, Vancouver’s beloved broadcaster, as host; and an appearance by Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Of critical importance to Vancouver’s council section are the Kort sisters, who have followed the philanthropic path of their late mother Shirley Kort, z’l. These shining stars have made a five-year scholarship commitment enabling qualified mothers (who are part of the Mothers Matter Program) to complete academic and professional qualifications. Azeema, one of the seven recipients of the scholarship, had this to say: “It paid for my two courses; it was a great financial help. It was above and beyond my expectations and I am very thankful. The Kort Family Fund joined hands with an immigrant to take steps and for them to help out. I am a step closer to my goal. I did not have to worry about finances this semester.”
HIPPY (now the Mothers Matter Centre) is a demonstration of Margaret Mead’s eloquent observation: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
National Council of Jewish Women in Vancouver is 97 years young and, while they are not giant in size, they are giant in deed.
– Courtesy National Council of Jewish Women Vancouver