Families facing challenges due to trauma, poverty grateful for support at Calgary preschool

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WATCH: There's some heartfelt praise this holiday season for a Calgary preschool that helps children facing major challenges. Here's Gil Tucker with the story of two spirited little boys and their grateful grandmas – Dec 7, 2018

The holiday season is a time for feeling thankful for many people, and this year two Calgary families are especially grateful for the support they’ve been getting throughout 2018 from a preschool that specializes in children facing big challenges.

“Blaze was born addicted to meth, and so that little boy wouldn’t talk–no eye contact, very withdrawn,” Tammie Hart-Ingertilla said.

READ MORE: Babies born addicted to drugs up 42 per cent at St. Boniface Hospital

Her four-year-old grandson Blaze has been attending the EvenStart Preschool for two years and his family’s noticing it’s helping him a lot.

“Blaze (is now) quite the little go-getter, little fireball,” Hart-Ingertilla said. “He loves reading. He’s come a long way, this little guy.”

The preschool is run by the EvenStart For Children Foundation.

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Since it began operating in 1995, EvenStart has helped more than 3,000 Calgary children.

READ MORE: EvenStart specialized programs for preschoolers

“EvenStart is all about creating opportunities and giving hope,” EvenStart’s Lea Blust said. “Working with children and families who are vulnerable or at risk, perhaps parent mental health issues, domestic violence, cyclical or generational poverty and violence.”

The preschool’s special programs have certainly helped five-year-old Brody Stewart.

“Brody experienced a bunch of trauma living with his mom and there were some addiction issues,” Brody’s grandmother Kerrie Stewart said. “So he had really bad separation anxiety.”

“Brody has gained a lot of confidence (after two years at EvenStart),” Stewart said.

“This is the greatest school ever!” Brody said.

“My whole point of (Brody) being in the program is so we don’t repeat the cycle that I went through, that my daughter went through,” Stewart said. “I feel like (he’s) getting a fresh start and so I’m just really grateful to the program.”


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