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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta One possible solution is a group home doesn't make them alcoholics or bat- tered wives. Sure, there are problems crying out for solutions but don't make us into the pitiful creatures of the world. Most of us are happier now than we ever were before." Kenny admits he went through some bad days immediately after his divorce, when he was left with the bitter memories of a marriage that had failed and the intimidating task of rearing two children on his own. And it's that way for everyone, widowed or divorced, separated or never mar- ried. Eventually they work out their own lifestyle, but first they must come to terms with their feelings of anger and guilt, their loneliness, their financial problems and their own identity as a single person and single parent. The divorced or separated single parent faces one crisis the widowed single parent never has to: the deci- sion to leave a mate and go it alone with the children. That decision can take months, and often years, of ago- nizing self-examination. Michael Ken- ny says a marriage counsellor advised and his wife to separate six years before they did, but they stayed to- gether "for the sake of the Naturally, parents worry about the effect of the separation on their chil- dren. Are two parents, even though warring, better than only one parent? Many are quite ready to tell them yes. Families and in-laws are often reluc- tant to see a marriage break up and will exert pressure to keep it going. An organization, Women In Tran- sition, has been set up in Toronto to help those women who finally make the decision to leave with their chil- dren but who have no place to go. (Of the one-parent families in 1971, were headed by wom- en.) Many of these women are without money, and even if they have a sym- pathetic parent may be reluctant to take refuge at home. "Often they don't want their hus- bands to- know where they ex- plains Anne Cools, director of Wom- en In Transition. "Or they don't want to expose themselves to pressures of any kind, no matter how well mean- ing. We provide free room and board for up to six weeks for women and their children. Some are battered wives. The number in this category is a matter of grave concern. In the past two months, 50 percent of the women we've had with us have been beaten. Often they've put up with such treatment for years because they felt they couldn't manage on their own. But when the husband touches the children that usually prods the woman into immediate action." Most of the women who use the organization's services go on wel- fare to support their family although wherever it's feasible an attempt is made to get them jobs. "A job can provide a says director Cools. "The woman can be excited by the prospect of working and it can give her a much needed challenge and outside interest. But if she wants to stay home or if she's just not qualified for anything worth- while, we'll steer her through the red tape to get her started on welfare and into a place of her own as quickly as possible." For the woman who doesn't want to stay on welfare, the going can be very rough. Finding a job that pays enough, a place to live, someone to look after the children and friends to lend moral support presents such a massive stumbling block that it often deters her from even making an initial effort. One possible solution is a group home. Obviously, group homes are not for everyone, but for many they offer at least a short-term answer. One such effort is operated in Van- couver by the YWCA and financed by the provincial department of human resources. Last year, 31 mothers with a total of 42 children participated in the project, losie Harakal, director of the program and herself a widow with two small children, says the program is intended to help women who want to be independent, who are upgrading Michael Kenny and his two kids are living proof that two parents are not necessary for a happy family. S Weekend Maoalme, Feb. 21, ;