In the Young Mama / Teen Support Program years of experience are brought together in a mentorship-based platform to take the fear and unknown out of becoming or being a new young mom. Life skills are acquired through ongoing and structured programs that teach foundational skills required to not only survive but thrive.
Program Details: Skills taught within this program include but are not limited to healthy cooking on a low income, parenting, nutritional basics, job preparation and job-ready skills, budgeting and establishing short-term and long-term financial goals, self-care, accessing community resources and continuing education. This program involves youth and teen moms or young single mothers under 24 years of age who are particularly susceptible to poverty, homelessness and severe mental health issues when faced with having to care for an infant while they themselves are still a child.
Some of the activities included in this program are as follows: Counseling on lifestyle and coping strategies where we teach confidence and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in collaboration with local companies. Support in accessing community and provincial resources; Assistance with completing basic education requirements and connect with potential employers to gain job skills; Continuous support with a program facilitator for the duration of the program is available 3-4 days a week.
New this year we have added a Teen Support program to assist the youth of all genders that may require access to basic resources including food, clothing, shoes, school supplies and hygiene products. This program was created to fill the gap for youth who needed a hand-up while struggling to become young adults with minimal personal support systems in place. The purpose of this program is to assist these young mamas and their families to gain control of their situation, through lifestyle and coping strategies. Accessing community and provincial resources the outcome of this program is to demonstrate an increase in self-reported parental and emotional well-being for teen mothers, including but not limited to a decrease in negative interactions with the Ministry of Child and Family Development (MCFD). Participants of this program can be self or community referrals and receive an intake interview with a Social Worker who assesses their situation and determines their short-term and intermediate needs. Participants have access to the Karma market, food hampers and the newly developed teen market for clothing and daily living supplies.
The need for this program continues to steadily grow as these teens gain a better understanding of the support systems available and the assistance that can be provided through participation. In 2019, there was a significant increase of youth participating in the program and we supported 61 individual mamas, 102 mamas in group sessions and 322 teens requiring supplies for school and daily living. In 2020 we helped 73 young mamas 1-1, 114 in group support and 412 teens required support accessing basic resources such as clothing, food and shelter.
The At-Risk Comprehensive program has been in operation since September 2016. We experienced exponential growth annually and in 2019 supported over 6000 families with 4682 of these mamas participating in the At-Risk Comprehensive program. In 2020 we have supported 7605 at risk caregivers through direct and COVID-19 safe no-contact support means. Participants may be referred by Interior Health, Elizabeth Fry Society, The Women’s Shelter, the Ministry of Child and Family Development, School District 23, or partnered non-profit organizations. Clients can also self refer. This program provides access to a registered social worker for resource navigation and access to the free Karma market for all items required. In house referrals are provided for those with greater needs and other community-based programs and supports are accessed as appropriate. Appointments can be made after hours for individuals or families who are not able to attend during regular working hours or a no contact hamper delivery can be arranged. The scope of this program continues to expand based on the increased complexity of the mamas and families that are presenting to us. We have added a fill the gap dental program to the at-risk services, supporting families with financial support to relieve dental pain and infection, a court support program to help mamas involved with the justice system or MCFD, as well as a fill the gap hearing program to support families experiencing poverty as a result of meeting the financial burden of their child’s audiology needs.
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