In 1993, the Young Parents program at G.P. Vanier High School was formed in response to a need to help young parents complete their high school education. The young parent program supports education, childcare, social and health needs of expectant and parenting students in the Comox Valley.
This program is accessible to all families including those completing high school or college education, employed and/or families needing assistance through the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
A coordinator is employed to help young parents participate in the program by offering transportation, emotional support, and to link parents with community supports and resources. The coordinator promotes public awareness of the Program, develops and maintains community partnerships, plans celebrations for students and their children, and works closely with the school and childcare staff.
A Public Health Nurse is available for program participants during lunch breaks once a week. The nurse provides pre- and post-natal information and supports the ongoing health needs of the children and parents. A Public Health Dental Hygienist visits the program quarterly to provide oral health education and support, as well as fluoride treatments.
Support is provided to parenting and pregnant students attending School District #71 programs. Students attending G.P. Vanier Secondary School are enrolled in a Parenting Class each semester that covers parenting, child development, life skills, and more. Twice a week, the students participate in the Hot Lunch Program and cook lunch for themselves and children attending Teddies’N’Toddlers Child Care Centre. The class also hosts guest speakers and events like swimming lessons and therapeutic riding.
Childcare is provided at two licensed facilities onsite of G.P. Vanier Secondary School. Teddies ‘N’ Toddlers Childcare Centre cares for twenty-four 0-3 year olds and Little Friends Early Learning Centre is for sixteen 3-5 year olds. The staff at both centers are qualified and experienced Early Childhood Educators and provide high quality, full or part-time childcare while parents are at school. Both daycares are open to members of the community.
Among the program’s success stories is Jenny Deters from Rattan Plus, who was among the first young parents to graduate from the program.
In Jenny’s words: “This is an organization that helped us have hope for the future as teen parents when we had nowhere else to turn. Statistically speaking, I should be struggling to make ends meet working a minimum wage job. Instead I have an amazing career and a son who has just entered a four-year scholarship to McGill University. I know that our group’s commitment to enriching the lives of each family and child results in a visible and meaningful difference in our community.”
Natalie Robinson started as Coordinator for the Young Parent Program in September 2017.
Natalie has spent years dedicated to working with and assisting people in a variety of capacities. She has based her career in community, utilizing empathy and problem solving skills to motivate and empower people to progress towards their goals.
Natalie is passionate about helping young families reach their goals for success in a supportive environment. She enables young parents to continue their education and gain valuable skills for raising their families while establishing meaningful relationships within the community.