Society hopes to offer continuous care

The Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society operates the only Young Parent Program in the Comox Valley.

Pregnant and parenting youth in School District 71 can receive support through the Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society’s Young Parent Program at Georges P. Vanier Secondary School — the only program of its kind in the Valley. Photos Submitted

The Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society operates the only Young Parent Program in the Comox Valley.

This program has been operating for 17 years and offers support to pregnant and parenting youth in School District 71 in the Comox Valley.

The society is trying to improve this program and the service it provides to the community by offering childcare for children aged newborn to five at a single location.

This September, the school board approved the society’s request to rent a portable pad at Georges P. Vanier Secondary School. This will allow the Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society to relocate its Little Friends Early Learning Centre for children aged three to five to the same location as its infant and toddler program for ages newborn to three, Teddies ‘N’ Toddlers Childcare Centre.

The Little Friends program is currently located at Airport Elementary School, which is a substantial distance from the infant and toddler program at Vanier.

The Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society aims to have the new portable operational within the first six months of 2011.

However, the costs of this relocation project are substantial, particularly for a non-profit organization. The Society is seeking public donations to help with the purchase of a new portable that will provide a safe and welcoming environment for the children.

“The new location of Little Friends will benefit children by providing consistent, continuous care in a familiar environment,” said Hayley Datoo, whose child attends the society’s toddler program. “This type of stability seems to be very important in early childhood development.”

The society’s primary goal with the relocation of Little Friends is to improve the service it can provide to children and parents participating in the Young Parent Program.

The Young Parent Program not only supports the educational needs of young parents but also serves as a social, emotional and parenting support network.

“Teddies ‘N’ Toddlers is not your normal daycare, and the people that work there are much more than just early childhood educators,” said Taylor Bently, a former participant of the Young Parent Program. “They are a group of people who not only take care of our children but who support and encourage us parents as we struggle to get on our feet. They do not judge or criticize when so many would; instead, they listen, teach and support our dreams regardless of our age, financial stability or backgrounds.”

The child care program’s location is just steps away from the high school, which allows young parents to attend classes and realize their goal of graduating while still being present in the day-to-day happenings of their child.

“If it weren’t for the program at Teddies ‘N’ Toddlers, I would have never been able to finish school when I did,” said Bently.

Currently, the Young Parent Program is unable to provide support to parents and children beyond the child’s third year — a shortcoming the Today ‘N’ Tomorrow Learning Society aims to address by relocating Little Friends to the Vanier site.

To make a donation or for information regarding any of the programs or for new student registration in the Young Parent Program, call 250-338-8445. — Today ‘N’

Tomorrow

Learning Society