Friday, June 27, 2014

Young mothers discovering their opportunities

Discovering Your Opportunities (DYO) is a City of Calgary program changing lives of young mothers for 15 years.

Keneisha, 19, participated in the program in 2010.
In 2000, staff at The City of Calgary Youth Employment Centre (YEC) became aware of a variety of research indicating teenage mothers were less likely to have completed high school or post-secondary education. According to the research, this directly impacts their earning potential and occupations, often resulting in their children and themselves living below the poverty line.

“To be able to celebrate 15 years of success is a great honour for all staff, partners and participants who have been involved in the program since its inception,” said Christina David, employment counsellor and DYO coordinator. “It's fantastic to think this program has had a positive impact on over 150 teen moms and their children.”

Working together to make a difference

Staff took this information and designed a program aimed at making a difference in the lives of teen mothers and their children. Supported through a partnership between YEC, the Calgary Board of Education Louise Dean Centre, Catholic Family Services and a number of local employers, the program provides an opportunity for young moms to earn high school credits, gain valuable work experience and earn some money.

The five-week summer program assists participants in developing a career and life plan, as well as focusing on self-esteem and job search strategies. Afternoons provide the participants with valuable work experience, where the women have the opportunity to develop new skills and explore career options.

Celebrating success

A 15th year celebration event will take place this July to reunite both staff, participants, and partners. The event celebrates the program’s longevity and achievements in Calgary.

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