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ECM Community

Empowering Parents and Rebuilding Hope

March 1st, 2015

By Lerena Greig

Parents Empowering Parents (PEP Society), a registered non-profit, has been making an impact for positive change in your community and surrounding areas for over 10 years.  

PEP was founded by three local professional women who recognized the growing need for education and support services to parents in crisis whose children are struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Today, PEP continues to provide the community with innovative services free of charge. Some of these services include:

  1. PEP meetings (parents) are held every Tuesday alternating between locations in Sherwood Park and Millwoods, from 7 pm to 9 pm. They are professionally facilitated and offer education, support and direction for parents. This is a drop in meeting, no registration required.

  2. U-Turn (for youth and young adults) – runs concurrently with Sherwood Park meeting location (every 2 weeks) with trained professionals. In this casual environment, youth are free to express themselves and gain insight into substance abuse.

  3. Parent Support Line is available days, evenings, and weekends if you are in a crisis or just need support or direction between meetings.

  4. MEDD-X - In this powerful component of the parent meetings, ex-drug dealers interested in making amends to the community, assist in educating the parents based on their personal experience. These individuals are approved by staff.

  5. Parent Mentorship Program - This program connects parents to parent mentors who have volunteered to listen, relate, share hope and provide additional support to parents new to PEP.

Do you have someone in your family struggling with addiction? In order to recognize that your child may be actively involved in abusing drugs or alcohol, here are a few signs and symptoms to watch for:

  • Change in friends and circle of influence

  • Sudden changes in behavior or moods

  • Withdrawal from family

  • Drop in performance at school/lose interest

  • Increase isolation

  • Increase or reduction of appetite

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Rebellion and/or lying; stealing

  • Callers who hang up

  • Sensitivity about privacy

All of the services PEP offers are designed to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the family to find support, knowledge, and regain strength. There are parents in our communities who are looking for help and solutions, hope in the midst of the hopelessness and the ability to have some stability in the family while in crisis.  Addiction illness is growing at an alarming rate and they are not alone in the challenges their family may be facing.  There is hope.

For years, addiction was perceived as a moral failure and was subject to shame or blame. Many families suffered quietly without support. A famous statement and provocative poem attributed to Martin Niemoller, a German pastor in the time of the Holocaust, has been adapted many times and the best known version of the speech is:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me”.

Today, addiction is recognized as an illness and people are speaking out.  Strength in numbers and power in knowledge is the foundation of PEP.  At the conclusion of Parents Empowering Parents meetings, in unison the participants say, “Change begins with me”. Change begins with me and together we are making a difference in our families, our neighborhoods, our cities, empowering each other and rebuilding hope.

Looking for ways to support PEP Society? Here are some ways to do it:

  • Monthly or one time donation through Canada
  • Helps (Parents Empowering Parents)
  • Cheque or money order mailed to PEP Society
  • Specified on your United Way Giving
  • Corporate partnership
  • Third party fundraising events

Contact Lerena Greig, Executive Director, at 780-440-8516 or visit for more information.


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