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 assists youth under the age of 25 who are parents or currently pregnant and are seeking support to complete their high school education. Specifically, the program provides support around education, childcare, and the social and health needs of expectant and parenting students in the Comox Valley. The child care centre allows parents to pursue their studies and careers while leaving their children in the trusted and experienced hands of TNTLS’ Early Childhood Educators.
Our Young Parent Program provides individualized outreach in the following but not limited to:
- Connection to a public health nurse, nutritionist and local hygienist
- Transportation to necessary community resources
- Supportive one-on-one coaching, mentorship and group support
- Health and Nutrition program (planning, meal prep, cooking and baking)
- Life skills training and parenting education
- A bridge into post-secondary opportunities
- Employment preparation, connections and skills
- Individualized education plans for secondary and post-secondary schools
- Experienced, safe care for children from birth to age 5 years
- Nutritious food and supplies for children (formula, diapers, and more)
- A welcoming and respectful community for children and their families
The Young Parent Program strives to help with:
- Positive academic performance
- Financial stability
- Supportive relationships
- Effective parenting abilities
- Healthy families
- Thriving independently
Support is provided to parenting and pregnant students working towards their high school diploma in School District #71. Students attending the young parent program learn a variety of skills such as parenting, self-care, financial literacy and more. Twice a week, the students participate in the Hot Lunch Program and cook lunch for themselves and all children attending TNTLS Childcare centres. The class also hosts guest speakers and events such as swimming lessons, trips to the pumpkin patch and therapeutic riding.
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.” -Jenny Deters
“I was 17 and on my own. I’m glad that i made the decision to enter the program, for me and my child. This program supported me with my mental health, sobriety, life supports and community supports. It is the one consistent place that my child has had her entire life. I know i can’t do it all myself and i’d be really messed up if i didn’t have this and these people that care.” -Melody Uddenburg
Young Parent Coordinator
Ashley Dicus is our full-time coordinator whos role is to help young parents participate in the program by offering transportation and emotional support, as well as to link parents with community supports and resources. She is also responsible for promoting public awareness of the program, developing and maintaining community partnerships, planning celebrations for students and their families, and working closely with the School District #71 teachers and childcare staff.
Ashley Dicus has a diploma in counselling and over 10 years of experience as a front line worker serving both vulnerable women and children fleeing abuse as well as high-risk youth. Her experience has been instrumental in helping them build their support network and facilitate their own personal growth. She has cultivated meaningful relationships with all of our young families and has provided consistent outreach to our young parents since February 2020. She has been a vital support during this unprecedented time of a global pandemic.
“It is an honour to serve our young parents and support them in any way possible, for them to be the best that they can be.” -Ashley
For more information or to book an individualized assessment contact:
Ashley Dicus, Young Parent Coordinator
Cell phone 250-207-0476