Layna Haley is intelligent, beautiful and works as the executive assistant to one of Edmonton’s savviest high tech wizards and philanthropists – Bruce Saville.
Borrowing a philanthropic leaf from her employer and mentor, the St. Albert resident is offering a gift to single moms – a few hours of alone time.
Haley is the founder of Kaleo, a non-denominational, community-focused prayer group open to everyone. To celebrate the group’s one-year anniversary, Haley is organizing Love You, Mama, a free one-day children’s drop-off for single mothers.
Love You, Mama is an event designed to nurture and celebrate single mothers, women who often take on the role of both parents.
During the three-hour event on Thursday, April 28 between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., single moms can drop off their children at Next Christian Community for a few hours of alone time.
“They can go back home and take a bubble bath without being interrupted. They can go for a walk or to a restaurant and have dinner with a friend. When you don’t have a father around, it’s different,” said Haley.
“On Mother’s Day, single moms won’t get breakfast in bed or a piece of jewelry from their husbands. They’ll probably get a plaster hand or a cute poem your kid scribbled in school and that’s your Mother’s Day gift. Meanwhile your friends on Facebook are posting feeds and writing about gifts and flowers they’ve received,” said Haley.
A soft-spoken, sensitive mother of three, the 35-year-old speaks from more than kindness. She too was single mother at the age of 16. Her eldest son, Austin, is now in university.
“I had a really supportive mother. I would give her much of the credit. Even though I was a mother at a young age, she still wanted me to have and share experiences of other people my age.”
Haley gave birth to Austin in Grade 12. She completed high school and went on to receive a post-secondary diploma from NAIT’s Radio and Television Arts Program.
To create breathing room in her budget, she sat as a student representative on NAIT’s Board of Governors. The position basically paid tuition expenses.
In awe of the power brokers sitting on the board managing the technology institute’s future, Haley describes it as a “transformational event.”
“As a student, you kept your mouth shut and watched. You really had very little to contribute. You learned and reported back by writing for the newspaper. I met so many incredible influential businessmen. That’s where I met Bruce. From the beginning he was happy to help me find my way. He was always a gentle presence, calming, reassuring and encouraging.”
Inspired by Saville’s genuine philanthropic endeavours to help the hungry and the homeless, Love You, Mama is filling a niche that has rarely been stocked.
Not wanting to miss anyone, Haley is fairly flexible about who can attend.
“Military moms whose husbands are deployed are welcome, or if a husband works out of town for long stretches they can come.”
She adds single dads needing a couple hours to reenergize are also encouraged to drop-off their children.
“We want to replenish love and nurturing so mothers and fathers have that love to give back to their children. You can’t give what you don’t have.”
Next Christian has a large play space and a movie theatre where children and babies will be fed and entertained. Parents need to supply formula and diapers for babies. Toddlers and older children will enjoy donated pizza, fruit and veggies.
Haley requests parents preregister with ages and dietary needs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Christian Community is at #490, 140 St. Albert Rd. at Village Landing Shopping Centre.