Ajax woman opens her doors to young pregnant women in need
WATCH ABOVE: Marion Cozens runs a maternity home for young, pregnant women who are homeless and in need of support. W.I.N.G.S. was established in 2009, and is run out of Marion’s home in Ajax. She provides shelter, food, clothing, parenting classes, job and life skills training. Marion’s mission is to break the negative cycle associated with unplanned pregnancies. Susan Hay reports.
Six years ago Marion Cozens opened up her home in Ajax, Ont. to young pregnant women in need who are looking for support and guidance.
“W.I.N.G.S. is a home for unwed moms. Pregnant young girls who find themselves homeless and nowhere to go,” said Cozens, Chief Executive and founder of W.I.N.G.S.
W.I.N.G.S. stands for Waiting, Investing, Nurturing, Growing, and Soaring, and no one knows that better than young mom Felicia Simard – a recent graduate.
“I came here in March 2014 because I was homeless and pregnant,” said Simard. She now has a nine month old baby named Azalia and is living on her own.
“I grew up in the system, in Scotland,” said Cozens. “And always had that nagging thought in my mind that if someone had given my mom the help, would she have kept me?”
Cozens was raised as a foster child and since then has raised four daughters of her own and will soon be a grandmother for the first time.
Despite all her daughters having already moved out, Cozens still has a strong desire to make sure her home is a loving, safe and nurturing sanctuary for young women. The new moms stay in the maternity home until they are ready to move on to independent living.
The maternity home is also a school where three high school teachers volunteer their time to offer girls a GED or courses to complete their high school diplomas. The young women are also offered a career counselling course.
“W.I.N.G.S. is not just about being a parent, it really helps us learn about ourselves,” said current W.I.N.G.S. resident Megan Crawford.
“What our strengths are, what our weaknesses are. We work through that with counselling that we receive and through therapy. All those things that I have been part of for six months has really changed me completely.”
The maternity home provides the young moms with food, clothing, childbirth and parenting classes all under one roof.
“It feels like everything else that I went through,” said Simard. “Was to lead me to coming here and being able to call this place home and call these people family.”
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