FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Contact: Sally Livingstone at 604.562.553
(NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Mother’s Day is always a special time for Emily Solomon and her young daughter, Milly. But this year, as Solomon graduates from Capilano University’s Accounting Assistant program, the twosome has even more to celebrate.
Solomon – this year’s winner of both the Spectrum and Soroptomist Awards – told her story at a recent awards breakfast for Capilano University award winners and donors.
It began when she was 16 and pregnant. Unlike her parents, who chose not to finish high school when they found themselves in similar circumstances, Solomon was determined to finish her schooling and, as she related in her speech, “teachers and classmates alike were stunned while I waddled to classes even after my due date.”
By 17, she was breastfeeding in between Math and English; by 18 she had graduated on time – in the top 10 per cent of her class and ready to enter Cap U last fall. Her daughter, Milly, came along to university, too, spending her days at the Capilano Children’s Centre. Along the way, Emily learned how to cope with the demands posed by teen motherhood, and when it was time to ask for help.
“People need to look into things and ask around,” she urged fellow students and awards donors at the Cap U event. “There are kind people out there who genuinely want to help. The greatest obstacle to your success is yourself – you need to ask for the resources.”
One of those resources was the Spectrum Support Group, a charitable organization composed of North Vancouver mothers who mentor young, struggling moms. While Spectrum offers free, professional caregiving that gives the moms a chance to catch up on errands or sleep, Solomon felt she should leave that service to mothers she felt were more in need of it. Instead, she says Spectrum’s greatest gifts were the financial aid that helped her complete her Accounting Assistant certificate, and the inspiration she got from Spectrum’s compassionate philosophy.
“Spectrum was started in order to provide mothers with the support they needed to create more successful families, so that foster care would not come between mothers and their children,” Solomon said in a recent interview. “To me, this speaks of an intense care for others, a devotion to the community, and a will to make the world a better place. This is what I strive for in my own life and when things seem at their worst in life, the example that Spectrum sets makes me optimistic and happy again.”
Solomon’s speech to the award winners and donors was a moving one. After it was finished, she was approached by Jim Belsheim, president and CEO of Neptune Bulk Terminals, who was keen to help her with the next step in her career. Within a week, she was given a practicum placement at Neptune Terminal, which begins in May.
New employment, mothering, and a plan to continue on to her bachelor of Business Administration degree and an eventual Chartered Accountant designation aren’t the only items on her to-do list, though one would think they were enough. Solomon also plans to repay the kindness she has received by becoming one of Spectrum’s volunteer mentors.
“I know how important it is to have a friend and how hard it can be to get things done with a new family in your home,” she said. “The program makes parents feel truly cared about and a little less alone in the world.”
People who are interested in helping young mothers along the path to success are invited to learn more about the Spectrum Support Group and its annual Spectrum Award at Capilano University. Visit www.supportingmothers.ca, or call Sally Livingstone at 604.562.5530.