Engagement Programs For Young Pregnant/Parenting Women

A smiling young female teen parent, taking high school courses at the Youville Centre in Ottawa Canada.

Although each Youville Centre mom is unique, they all share a common motivation to achieve their personal and academic goals. This number one motivation which inspires them to come to our centre each day and work toward a brighter future, is their child. With this in mind, Youville Centre and M.F. McHugh staff strive to deliver holistic programming that will help each young mother succeed, while always keeping their child’s best interest as a focus. We recognize that the high school experience should include fun, engaging, and motivational activities to further support our students’ success.

We offer the following student engagement programs to help our students reach their goals and enjoy their time at Youville Centre:

YouView Days

YouView Days occur at the beginning of each semester and they involve collaborative meetings between students, teachers, the Intensive Treatment Support team, mental health and addiction counsellors, and Registered Early Childhood Educators. In a YouView meeting, students are guided and supported to set their own personal, parenting and academic goals. Realistic goals which are tied to individual treatment and education plans are set, and staff continues to check in with students to track progress and set new goals as the school year progresses.

YouStore and YouBucks

An incentive program, the YouStore hosts brand new donations of clothing, toys, hygiene products and household items we receive from the community. As students display positive school spirit and personal growth, show punctuality, help other students or demonstrate other acts of kindness, they can earn YouBucks (faux dollars) to purchase these new items. This system works well to motivate students each day, as well as to provide them with items they may not be able to afford. During the Christmas season, the YouStore expands to allow our young moms to provide a special Christmas for their children.

Mentorship Program

Sponsored by TD and Famous5 Ottawa, the Youville Centre Mentorship Program combines group mentoring for all Youville Centre students with one-to-one mentoring for students who are ready for a mentor/mentee relationship. Monthly “Lunch & Learn” events bring professional women from the community to the centre to speak to all of our students on a variety of topics while they enjoy a nutritious lunch. Topics explored this year included: healthcare careers, legal careers, resiliency, goal setting, inspirational stories, and entrepreneurship. Once a month or more frequently if possible, nine mentor/mentee matches in our one-to-one mentorship program enjoyed lunch meetings off-site. Students enjoyed building relationships with, and receiving encouragement from their mentors. This year’s pilot program was a success, and we look forward to continuing to provide mentorship for our young moms in the coming year. We would like to thank everyone from the community who helped to make this program a success.

Volunteer mentors are pre-screened and have clear criminal reference checks. They are matched carefully by our multi-disciplinary team with students who are interested in, and ready for, this program. Mentors provide support and encouragement to our young mothers in the areas of parenting, career, and life balance. If you are interested in this program, please email us at communications@youvillecentre.org.