After leaving my hometown at the age of 17 in pursuit of a better life, I found myself pregnant, alone, and heading down a path that I knew would make me unhappy. I desperately wanted to pursue my education and build a better life for my child than I had growing up, but the odds were stacked against me.
When I was 15, I dropped out of high school and moved out of my parents' house. It was an extremely difficult time. By the age of 17, I was determined to start a new life and decided to move to Kelowna. Although things were better, I became pregnant with no idea how to move forward. I was very afraid, in a new town with no job, no support system and no idea what the future looked like for my family and myself.
I knew I needed help and started by joining a few programs to learn about the basics of parenting through Kelowna Community Resources and the YMCA of Okanagan. They were great, but I still had a long way to go to achieve my goals. Then I learned about the YMCA’s Young Parent Program which completely changed my life as a young mom.
This incredible program provided me with child care, parenting classes, life skills training, community resources, and helped with my education. All of these were instrumental in setting me up for success, and they were all free! I was able to focus on my studies knowing my daughter was in good hands. All of which I never would have thought possible.
The staff were really nice and welcoming. I got to connect with other young moms in the same situation which helped immensely. Not only did I learn more about being a mom, but I got to practice life skills and bond with other people.
Since I moved out at such a young age, I didn’t know anything about being an adult. It was so nice to relate with people and have the support that I never received at home. I’ve been able to build a healthy foundation for my family all thanks to this program, which is funded by donors.
At the age of 21, I had my second child, and now both of my kids attend the Kelowna Secondary School YMCA Child Care Centre. They both love the staff and the other kids. They don’t even say ‘bye’ to me anymore when I drop them off, they just run in! I couldn’t be more grateful that my children receive the love and support that I really needed as a kid. It means the world to me to know my children have the YMCA community around them.
Before I started the Young Parent Program, I was trying to upgrade my schooling. Most people have no idea how difficult it is to be a single mom while studying to graduate high school. Since I was little, I have been determined to become a nurse as I always wanted to help others. I don’t think I would have been able to carry out my dream had it not been for the Y.
Now I am happier than ever. I am pregnant with my third child, my children are thriving in YMCA child care, and I am on track to become a Nurse. I have been able to create the life I’ve always wanted for my family, my fiancé and myself.
I can safely say that if it weren’t for the YMCA and its donors, I would most likely be unhappy, working in a job that I hated. The Y helped me navigate life as a struggling young parent by providing me with a caring community, teaching me vital life and parenting skills, and supporting me as I pursue my education.