Beba Project launches Saskatoon chapter with fundraiser at STM
(This article was originally published at stmcollege.ca and is used with permission)
Julia Belanger has a big, caring heart for children, so it’s no surprise she found a way to keep helping them despite taking on her first year of university studies.
“I really like working with kids,” said Belanger. “I was a swimming instructor at home, and I also volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and with a group called Exceptionally Educated that provides services and programs for children with exceptional needs.”
The busy student plans to get her degree in social work with an eye toward concentrating on working as a school counsellor or with Family Protective Services.
Belanger graduated from Holy Rosary High School in Lloydminster in 2022. It was during her time there that she got involved with the Beba Project, a charitable initiative helping mothers with infants.
Founded at the school in 2017, the Beba Project worked by parlaying warm cups of coffee (or tea or juice) given out at events into donations. Thousands of dollars raised over the years have been helping the St. Anthony Parish Food Bank supply new mothers with diapers, formula and other baby items.
Belanger and some of her Lloydminster classmates have continued the good work of the Beba Project by launching a new chapter at USask with the help of the STM Just Youth Group, and the guidance of STM Campus Minister Celeste Woloschuk.
The group now has 13 members, several of whom are STM students. Some are members from Lloydminster, others are friends who also wanted to get involved in helping babies and moms. The students range from first-years to graduate students.
Belanger says more are always welcome.
“We are a group of hardworking and dedicated students working toward making a change in our local community.”
Their main focus has been to do a coffee house in its first year. They achieved that when they helped run the recent STM Coffee House by providing the refreshments. The group is now talking about plans for their second fundraiser.
“We will give out coffee for a donation and take the opportunity to talk about the project’s mission,” said Belanger.
The group has connected with the Saskatoon Pregnancy Options Centre to help distribute its donations to parents needing a little extra help.
She is enthusiastic about the Centre’s program called ‘Baby Bucks’ where mothers can watch educational videos to earn baby bucks to be able to choose something from the new donations room, where the Beba Project donations will be distributed. There is also a room with used items like blankets, clothing and assorted other items that are always available.
Anyone interested can email Julia Belanger at: firstname.lastname@example.org. She will add new members to the group chat and invite them to future meetings.
The group also has an Instagram account (@thebebaproject) that shares information on new projects and where people who are interested can reach out.