At EvenStart, we believe that when children are fed, in good health, have access to education, live in homes that are safe, where parents are assisted in developing skills that allow them to generate a livable income, then children learn that they are valued, and are free to realize their potential.
Nearly 20 years ago, our Founder, Ilona Boyce, saw that something more was needed for children from backgrounds of poverty and trauma. Young children, three, four, and five years old, who came from families challenged by neglect, abuse, or poverty, were left behind. These children were, on average, 70 to 90 per cent delayed in normal development.
I have had 4 children receive intervention from the EvenStart Foundation and programming with Heartland. We began our journey with Heartland with my oldest son, now 11. Suffering from social anxiety, behavioral and speech delays, we knew he needed help. After beginning with Heartland, we felt he became a different child overnight. Our other children have faced similar challenges, and we have since had 3 of our daughters enter the same program. Now my children are eager to learn, they want to go to school despite their social anxiety. They all reached their development goals with the help of Heartland staff. I feel that if we hadn’t found Heartland, my children wouldn’t be succeeding. They wouldn’t have broken out of their shells to become the confident children they are today. They’re doing awesome in community schools now! We currently have one little girl still enrolled with Heartland. With the support of Heartland, including the home support, we are working towards all of her development goals including potty training. The home support has been amazing. Any concerns I’ve had, or and help I’ve needed, Heartland has been there for me. It has given me a sense of community, and confident happy children. I would absolutely recommend Heartland to anyone needing help.
I currently have 2 children registered with Heartland in the EvenStart Program. This is my son’s 3rd year with Heartland, and my daughter’s 2nd. We started our journey with Heartland when a speech pathologist referred us after observing a speech delay with my son. Upon arriving at the Monterey Park location, and touring the facility, I instantly felt good about the entire program, their values, and the thoughtfulness behind everything they do. I completed my tour and knew we had to sign up. Since beginning the program, both of my children have experienced tremendous growth with their speech. Both of them struggled to speak and nobody in our lives could understand them. Within 6 months the change was amazing, our family was finally able to understand the kids. It was a complete turnaround. In addition to the supportive therapy my children received, we also received support with potty training. The extra support went a long way. I would, without a doubt, recommend Heartland to anyone needing support for their child.
When Heartland Agency expanded into a beautiful new facility, they mentioned the need of a library. I thought this would be a perfect fit as a project for me to take on. As a former teacher, I see tremendous value in having books – high quality books - in the hands of children. For my birthday, I asked my family to purchase books for this library. They took up the challenge and presented me with hundreds of books. I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting books for these kids. I fully support the wonderful work being done by Heartland Agency.
Airdrie Project Linus is a non-profit organization that is made up of Airdrie and area residents. Our members give of their time and skills to create handmade blankets (our hugs) for children. Our mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children. Our members are so touched and honoured to know that their blankets have been passed on to the special and deserving children involved in this amazing program. Partnering with the EvenStart Foundation has given us another opportunity to spread love and comfort to children who could use a hug.