Dustin Read, Valley First branch manager presents Joan Spence. YMCA family support facilitator and Rhonda Zakala, YMCA VP of fund development and marketing with a $12,000 donation to support the young parent’s program. - Contributed

YMCA helps young parents with program for second year

The Young Parent Program is in its second year in Kelowna

The Young Parent Program, currently in its second year of operation by the YMCA of Okanagan, is making a profound impact on the lives of teenage parents and their babies, according to a YMCA news release.

“I would not have graduated from high school without the Young Parents Program,” says a teenage mom from the program. “Knowing my child was well cared for in a licensed, quality daycare with the YMCA I was able to focus on my education instead of dropping out. With the help and support I received, I am able to move towards my dream of going to college and securing sustainable employment to care for my child and myself in the future.”

The YMCA Young Parents Program, located next to Kelowna Senior Secondary, provides parents under the age of 20 with the fundamental tools they need to continue their education and care for their young ones, including quality child care, parenting education, life skills training, connections to critical resources and a supportive community, the release said.

RELATED: YMCA helps adults manage stress in the Okanagan

“I am grateful to be able to make a difference in the lives of young mothers and families in our community,” says Joan Spence, YMCA Family Support Facilitator. “Many of them face significant challenges, which are often difficult to overcome without the support of community resources and positive role models. Ultimately, the most rewarding part is seeing young parents succeed, even beyond their own expectations. It’s so amazing that it brings tears to my eyes.”

The YMCA Young Parents Program is funded in part through the generosity of donors, providing basics many teenage families would not be able to afford such as nutritious daily meals, diapers, formula, and clothing for their child. This past year, donations from caring individuals and organizations like the Valley First Community Endowment, TELUS, Coast Capital Savings and Rotary Club of Kelowna Morningside, have made this possible.

To learn more about or support the Young Parents Program, please contact Rhonda Zakala at 250-491-8672.

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