What do you do when you are 16, living in a remote community, and pregnant? The first thing is to go online and start intense searching. That is how Amelia found The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program website. She emailed Nicole, The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Worker, and so began a back-and-forth chain of questions and discussions. Amelia quickly realized that there were options for her in Victoria but none in her small, northern community. She reached out to a cousin living in Greater Victoria and asked if she could stay with her for a while. Her cousin agreed, and soon Amelia was on her way.
Amelia and Nicole met soon after Amelia got to town and started making a plan. Amelia wanted to keep her baby. It meant Amelia and her baby would need stable housing and an income and that she would need to settle before the baby is born. Nicole helped Amelia complete applications for all of the local supportive young mom housing programs. Next came an “Adult Youth Agreement” that allowed Amelia to apply for income assistance while still being a minor. That required opening files with the Ministry of Child and Family Development and with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction – both daunting processes when you are very young and know nothing about how it all works. Nicole successfully guided Amelia through all the phone calls, forms, and meetings. Several weeks later, Amelia got a call from one of the supported housing programs – she would have her own space in the home with a family who would help her parent and launch into adult life. Amelia was able to move a few weeks before her due date – and Nicole was there, helping with the move.
Amelia’s story did not end there – and The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program continued supporting her every step of the way. Nicole helped her source baby furniture, clothes, and diapers and found a midwife. She continues to help with transportation to the medical appointments; she is there when Amelia needs a familiar face and reassuring voice when the inevitable frustrations arise for a young mom trying to learn to be an adult. Amelia is excited, scared, overwhelmed, and determined. Nicole is her anchor.
The Cridge Young Parent Outreach Program will continue supporting Amelia: when she delivers the baby and takes her baby home. When all the “newness” settles a bit, Nicole will start helping Amelia think about her future and what it could look like. How will she finish school? After school, then what? How do you navigate childcare? There is so much more for Amelia to figure out. Nevertheless, she can be confident of two things: she will be the best mom, and Nicole will be there to help.