Because Mothers Matter recognizes 2 Calgary women

Mothers are being celebrated on Sunday but two local moms got some early recognition.

Charmaine Sorrel Big Horse and Himani Goyal are graduates of the HIPPY program

Himani Goyal, left, and Charmaine Big Sorrel Horse, right, were honoured on Thursday with the Because Mothers Matter award at the Glencoe Club. (Submitted by Himani Goyal and Charmaine Big Sorrel Horse)

Mothers are being celebrated on Sunday but two local moms got some early recognition.

Charmaine Big Sorrel Horse and Himani Goyal each received a Because Mothers Matter Award at the Glencoe Club in Calgary on Thursday, recognizing exceptional women who have contributed to their communities.

The awards are presented annually by the Mothers Matter Centre, a national organization which offers the HIPPY — Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters — program.

Big Sorrel Horse — a mother of five children between the ages of three and eight and a member of the Blood Reserve in the Kainai Nation — said the program offered her quality time with her children while she was studying to complete her GED.

"I was always in school, and I never had the time to be at home with them, to teach them. So it helped me with their strengths," she said. "Now that they're in school, I really see that this program really helped them with their education and their development."

It also helped her be a better mom.

"I know where their strengths and their weaknesses are in their schoolwork," she said. "I know there's days where they don't want to sit there … but sometimes they do … because they love what they're doing."

Structure and support

Goyal — a physiotherapist — came to Canada from India with her daughter in 2010, and said the HIPPY program offered her much needed structure and support.

"A home visitor used to come to the house with the books and a week-long curriculum activities set out for the kids, but they would instruct me as a mother to work with my child," said Goyal. "It empowered me, it provided me strategies when my mind was busy struggling to survive in Canada in my early months."

Goyal has since become a home visitor with the program, working with newcomers to Canada and those learning English.

"It's very rewarding. I could give back something the community," she said.

And Big Sorrel Horse says she has plans to become a home visitor as well.

The Mothers Matter Centre also honours a prominent Canadian mother each year and this year's nominee was Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois. E Mitchell.