New Young Parents Program for Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadows

Parenting is not easy, and it can be particularly daunting for young parents who often have lower income, less knowledge of the system and supports available to them, and less stability overall – particularly while our community is facing inflation and a housing crisis.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development recognized a need for improved and specialized supports for young parents under 25 in the Tri-Cities and Ridge Meadows communities, and Westcoast Family Centres jumped at the opportunity. We’re so pleased we were selected as the community’s new service provider for the Young Parents Program because it aligns well with our expertise, experience, and dedication to support children, youth, and families reach their full potential.

Our Young Parents Program is a completely free service for youth (25 and under) who are pregnant or who have children under 6 years old. Our support workers will work 1-1 with young parents to help them navigate the system, and access educational resources, parent groups, and other concrete needs. No referral is needed to work with a support worker.

If this sounds like something you or someone you know could benefit from the Young Parents Program, please inquire with us here.

We’ll soon be offering parent education and support groups specific for young parents as well – watch our Workshops & Groups page for those opportunities.

The holiday season can be a stressful and difficult time for many of our families, not only because of the pressure of gift giving and entertaining, but also because it can remind folks of lost loved ones or painful memories. In attempt to bring a little bit more joy, our Holiday Hampers campaign is one of the most inspiring parts of the holiday season at Westcoast Family Centres. Each year, donors provide hampers full of essential gifts for children and parents – they shop, wrap and donate these gifts just in time for the holiday season. This reminds families that they’re not alone in their journey.

Thanks to our generous donors and sponsors, our holiday hamper campaign was a complete success. Our goal was to ensure that 100% of the families who needed a hamper would receive a hamper, and we’re delighted to share that we achieved that goal.

We’re also grateful to The Province who awarded us a generous donation on behalf of the Empty Stocking Fund – this fund allowed us to purchase grocery store gift cards to provide families, helping them stock up on essentials for their holiday meals.

This year, our donors sponsored a total of 126 families! This meant that every family that was nominated for a hamper by our counsellors and facilitators went home with a hamper filled with clothing, food, and other requested items. Our families have been so grateful for everything they’ve received, and many of their gifts (and their wrappings!) have been so thoughtful.

To make this magic happen, 63 groups sponsored families this year. We are so grateful to see that our number of donors is growing! Some groups were families that included small children, which helped share the spirit of giving with the upcoming generations, and other groups were corporate teams who took the opportunity to bond through philanthropy. All of our donors are generous and essential to our program at Westcoast, including our incredible long-time donors like Tugo who sponsored an astonishing 28 families this year and Clark Wilson who sponsored another 10 families.

Tugo donated 28 hampers this season. Thank you, Tugo!

This year, we also added a new way for donors to make our families’ holiday season extra spectacular. We put together an Amazon Wishlist of special items that families requested, which would improve their quality of life. These items weren’t necessarily essentials, nor did they fall into the budget of the Holiday Hampers. Items on this Wishlist ranged from toys to furniture, and kitchen supplies to home décor. What made purchasing items from our Amazon Wishlist so easy for donors is that their items would be shipped right to our front door. Thank you to all who purchased gifts from this list!

No matter the season, our staff recognize that the families we serve are deserving of community support and we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all individuals and organizations who have supported us during the holiday season and for recognizing the needs of our families.

We look forward to connecting with and updating you all again during our upcoming 2024 season! Please stay tuned for more information on ways to get involved in our next campaign.

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