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Memorial donation to enhance local post partum support group

The family of a late St. Clair Child & Youth Services staff member who was a passionate advocate for post-partum services has made a substantial donation in her name.
Ann Balcom (far right) joined community advocates and families who rallied to save post-partum services in Sarnia-Lambton. In the Journal file photo, she’s pictured with social worker Kirsten Dezort (left) and Dayna Dekroon, centre.

The family of a late St. Clair Child & Youth Services staff member who was a passionate advocate for post-partum services has made a substantial donation in her name.

A $50,000 gift was announced recently by the Balcom family, in memory of Ann Balcom, a former Family Support Facilitator — to be shared by St. Clair Child & Youth Services, in collaboration with The Family Counselling Centre and Lambton Public Health, for the Post Partum Mood Disorders (PPMD) Program.

“Ann had an unwavering passion for families in need of PPMD support,” said Craig McKenzie, Interim Executive Director of St. Clair Child & Youth Services. “She was a wonderful colleague, a champion, a mentor, and most importantly a kind and generous support for those families struggling with post-partum.”

The donation aims to further the development and expansion of the local post-partum support group, a news release noted, enhancing services and resources for participants.

“Funding will be directed toward vital initiatives, including the expansion of staff training, provision of essential resources for participants, and overall enhancement of program stability for the next two years.

“This funding will empower the post-partum support group to provide even more comprehensive and effective assistance to individuals and families navigating the challenges of post-partum experiences.”

In recent years, community advocates and parents have rallied to save and enhance postpartum services in Sarnia-Lambton, after funding ended for the Post Partum Adjustment Program in 2018. A collaboration between the three agencies — a free, eight week PPMD program — was launched, and has been able to stay afloat thanks to funding from groups like the Rotary Club and Sarnia Community Foundation. Public health nurse Miranda Clubb also played a key role in getting the program off and running.

“This generous donation comes at a wonderful time for the PPMD program,” said Family Counselling Centre executive director Hani Dajani. “With the support of the Sarnia Community Foundation over the past two years we have been able to maintain the PPMD Program. We can now focus on expanding the number of trained facilitators, providing quality support, and focus on long-term program sustainability.”

One in five new mothers will experience a post-partum mood disorder (PPMD), according to SCCYS, pointing to the importance of dedicated support services. 

“PPMD is 100% treatable and our community partnerships are well positioned to provide a holistic and supportive approach to care,” the agency added.

The group serves as a lifeline for individuals and families facing the myriad of emotions and adjustments that come with the post-partum period, said Kerry Phillips, supervisor, clinical and family services at Lambton Public Health.

“Our staff witness firsthand the transformative power of peer support within our post-partum mood disorders support group. Seeing individuals come together, share their struggles, and find solace and strength in each other's experiences is incredibly moving," she said. "It's a testament to the importance of community and connection in navigating the challenges of the post-partum period. It's truly inspiring for our team to be a part of their journey towards healing and resilience.”

For more information about the Post-Partum Mood Disorders Support Group please visit:

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