Aspen donates $3,000 to Teen Haven home

  • Building a friendship: Troy Symonds, Teen Haven director Michelle Wade, and Amanda Strong from Aspen (Photograph by Akil Simmons).

    Building a friendship: Troy Symonds, Teen Haven director Michelle Wade, and Amanda Strong from Aspen (Photograph by Akil Simmons).

An insurance firm has donated more than $3,000 to a charity set up to offer a home for young mothers and their children.

The donation from Aspen Insurance — the idea of Amanda Strong, a senior legal assistant at the firm — was handed over to the Teen Haven home yesterday.

Ms Strong said a homeless man’s generosity towards others had inspired her to raise money for the home with a sale of donated goods just before Christmas.

She explained: “I’m making friends with a lovely kind soul, Willard, who sleeps by the car park by Island Trading — he is very generous and made me think of others out there who could do with help.”

The car park is only a short distance from Teen Haven, a branch of the government agency Teen Services, on the grounds of Fort Hamilton, where it provides young women with shelter, counselling and other services.

Ms Strong said she met Teen Haven case worker Zena Francis last year and decided to help the service. She added: “It was something I would like to continue to be a part of.”

Staff at Aspen and friends of Ms Strong donated clothes and other items for the sale last month, which raised more than $1,000 — and which Aspen matched. One of Ms Strong’s colleagues chipped in with another $1,000.

Troy Symonds, the chairman of Teen Haven and Teen Services, said the agency looked forward to forging strong links with Aspen.

Mr Symonds said: “One helpful thing is that Aspen has a culture of getting staff involved and helping out, which opens the door to building a relationship, as opposed to simply donating funds.”

Ms Strong said her office overlooked Teen Haven and that “a friendship is building”.

Mr Symonds said: “The timing of this is really good. Our new board started in September. We had a strategic session and there are a number of new plans that we want to roll out over the next few years.”

Five young mothers aged 16 to 25 and their 11 children live at the Centre on Happy Valley Road in Pembroke.

The service was set up to work with young mothers but it hopes to create programmes for young men in the future.

Mr Symonds said: “We have our hands full right now. But it’s nice to have a bigger goal that would make a difference to the community.”

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Published Jan 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 21, 2020 at 6:43 am)

Aspen donates $3,000 to Teen Haven home

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