All parents want their children to thrive and reach their full potential. The Ujima Project offers young parents access to early literacy, infant and early childhood and family mental health supports, health assessments, and more.
The Ujima Project’s goal is to help young parents (up to 29 years old) and their children (0-6) find the resources and support they need to build the lives they want. Ujima (pronounced oo-JEE-mah) is a Swahili word that means “collective work and responsibility.”
That’s what we’re doing: working together to support you.
The Ujima Project has nine Hubs across Ontario and Abiona Centre is proud to be one of these Hubs. Each of these Hubs provide free services for young parents and their children. The Hub staff will work with local outside agencies to ensure that young families that need services are supported. Our in-house programs and services include:
- Age-Based Screening and Assessment
- Baby Love
- Family Navigation
- Early Literacy Supports
Age-Based Screen and Assessment.
These assessments will help you identify and respond to any developmental challenges your child may have such as delayed speaking and communicating. If there are issues, we can connect you to services in the community.
Babies need secure relationships for strong mental health. Through the Baby Love program, for little ones aged two to 15 months and their parents, you’ll make friends, and learn
- how to use stories and reading to calm your baby
- ways to help your baby feel secure
- the answers to development and parenting questions
- how to do various exercises with your baby to strengthen your bond
Baby Love can be offered in groups or in individual sessions.
For more information or to register for an upcoming Baby Love group, please contact: ujimaproject@Abionacentre.ca or register here: Baby Love Registration Form
The best way to ensure happy and healthy families is by making sure that your primary needs are being met. Family Navigators will work with you to help identify your needs/goals and connect you with the services and resources in the community to support you.
Virtual Drop-In sessions are available!
Dates: Every Thursday
Times: 1pm – 5pm
For your free consultation please call: (416) 433-1284
For more information, please contact Serena at ssingh@Abionacentre.ca
Early Literacy Supports
The first few years of a child’s life are critical, as many of the skills they learn in their early years, will have an impact on their future development. Early Literacy is built on a foundation of core skills. A strong literacy foundation is crucial for the development of your child’s future language skills.
The Early Literacy Specialist offers:
- Early Literacy Programming (8-weeks)
- early literacy strategies and resources
- developmental screening and assessments
- Referrals to Speech Language Pathology. Based on the assessment, the Early Literacy Specialist can make direct referrals to Speech and Language support at your family’s request.
Support your child’s mental health
Ensuring your child’s mental health is good will give them the best start. You’re your child’s biggest cheerleader and advocate—give them the best start with the Ujima Project.
If you have any questions about the Ujima Project, contact us at ujimaproject@Abionacentre.ca
What do you want for your child?
Health? Happiness? Stability?
This is important because the sooner you know of any challenges your child is facing, the earlier you can get the support you need and keep your little one on the path to a happy, healthy, stable life. One of the major ways to do that is to ensure your child’s mental health is strong.
Why is infant and early childhood mental health important?
Many people don’t think that young children’s mental health is something we need to think about, but children can deal with the same mental health challenges as adults. How those challenges present is different—it could look like not eating or sleeping well, not wanting to be held, crying, missing key milestones, and more.
We know that:
- 70% of young adults living with a mental health problem or illness said that their symptoms started in childhood.
- while it’s difficult to determine how many young children have mental health problems, it’s estimated to range from 10 to 20%.
[Source: Supporting Early Childhood Mental Health, Mental Health Commission of Canada]
We also know that making sure your child’s mental health is good is key to your child’s overall wellbeing.
Good mental health in young children will help them develop:
Who are we?
The Ujima Project is an Ontario Association of Young Parents Agencies (OAYPA) initiative, supported by Abiona Centre and funded through the generous endowment of an anonymous donor.
Who are we working with?
This project is supported by the Young Families Program at SickKids Hospital. This team will offer resources and support to all of our Hubs including a Pediatrician, Nurse Practitioner, and Social Worker. Families with complex cases will be connected with additional SickKids services including telepsychiatry.
"Abiona Centre not only gave me the ability to care for my child, but the motivation to get what I wanted for my life - to have my daughter with me and to live independently."
Abiona Centre is a client-centred infant and early childhood mental health organization which supports pregnant and parenting adolescents, aged 13 – 25.