woman in gray sweater carrying baby in blue and white shirt

Empowering Niagara’s Young Families | Strive Niagara

Aug 17, 2022

For nearly 30 years, Strive Niagara (formerly Adolescent’s Family Support Services of Niagara) has been committed to supporting teen parents as they work towards completing their high school education.

For some young mothers, returning to school after having a baby just isn’t possible with the added responsibilities of caring for an infant. Many that do try to return to mainstream school become withdrawn, miss classes and fall behind. That’s why Strive Niagara works in partnership with the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board to offer an informal education program that allows teen moms to earn high school credits while having their little ones nearby.

With locations in St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls, Strive provides students with a positive and flexible learning environment where they can feel comfortable knowing their children are in the childcare centre down the hall. If they were up late the night before, students can relax on a couch in the back of the classroom, or if they need to leave the class to nurse, they have that option. Students are also surrounded by other teenage moms, so they can openly share their experiences with motherhood.

In addition to receiving personalized academic support, young moms also have access to counselling and mental health support, as well as one-on-one guidance on things like life skill training, goal setting, budgeting, and resume building.

In June 2022, Strive’s education program saw a total of 14 students graduate with a high school diploma.

Strive also supports dads through its Brighter Futures program. Fathers of all ages can attend free, monthly virtual sessions that focus on parenting from a dad’s perspective. Attendees can open up about fatherhood and receive information on how to care for and bond with their children, as well as how to maintain healthy relationships with their partners.

Soon-to-be moms can take advantage of Strive Niagara’s programming, too. CPNP Healthy from the Start promotes prenatal well-being by providing young parents-to-be with healthy lifestyle and nutritional information, nourishing snacks, prenatal vitamins, cooking classes and access to registered dietitians and public health nurses. Between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022, this program supported 64 pregnant women.

During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, Strive Niagara assisted a total of 32 young parents through its classrooms and childcare centres in St. Catharines and Welland. Because of Strive, their clients can not only go on the pursue post-secondary education and enter into fulfilling careers, but they’re also empowered to be the best parents they can be.

image of young woman with backpack

CAA Niagara has partnered with Beatties to provide support to teen parents. Between August 20th and September 3rd, a brand-new backpack will be donated to Strive Niagara every time a CAA Member spends $10 or more at Beatties. These backpacks will go directly to young mothers receiving education and support through Strive Niagara. Plus, CAA Members will also be entered to win a back-to-school bundle, including a new Acer Travelmate B3 Notebook, Canon Inkjet Printer, $150 Beatties gift card and more (valued at $750).

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