Columbus House (Pembroke) Inc. celebrates graduates of Young Parent Support Program
Tina Peplinskie / Daily Observer: Celebrating the successful completion of high school through the Columbus House Young Parents Support Program graduates and their children (from left) are Sarah Kosnaski with Remington, Melissa Thacker with Gemma, Emma Colpitts with Michael, Storm Bastien with Draeden and Delilah and Brielle Bromley with Everett.
The pressures of high school are enough for most students, without the added challenges of parenthood.
Last week five young ladies proved to themselves, their family, friends and supporters they have what it takes to persevere and see things through to completion as they earned their high school diplomas while caring for their children. This was made possible through the Young Parent Support Program, run through Columbus House (Pembroke) Inc., which offers not only assistance to complete high school courses, but also offers other parenting skills and training in first aid and CPR and safe food handling. The students and their children also had a chance to take part in parent and tot swimming sessions, music groups at the Pembroke Public Library, excursions to the Ontario Early Years Centre and presentations by the Renfrew County District Health Unit.
Speaking on behalf of the 2018 graduates, Storm Bastien was chosen to be the class valedictorian. She was in the program for two years and credits it for helping her achieve her goals while caring for her two children. She received the Baxter-Bowes scholarship this year at Columbus House.
“Columbus House, Young Parent Support Program is a wonderful program,” she said. “If this place didn’t exist, I would most likely be at home doing nothing with my life. But with this program, I have gotten all my credits and more, with high grades and am starting college in September.”
She added it has been about much more than just regular classes.
“I have learned many life skills,” Bastien said. “We have learned new ways to parent, how to garden, how to cook, how to give infant massage, how to do yoga, and many other skills. Going here, we even got our safe food handling course, and our CPR certification. What was even better is that we were able to have our kids watched right above our heads, where we knew they were safe and looked after.”
She thanked program facilitator Crystal Schroeder for her support.
“We have learned a lot from Crystal; Crystal has taught us we can achieve great things if we just set our mind to it,” Bastien said. “She pushed us to work hard, and to strive to be our best. Even when we did not want to do anything at all, she pushed us to keep doing our best.”
She also credited teacher Mike Eadie for the positive impact her had on all of the students.
“You pushed us to do our very best ... I believe if it wasn’t for you motivating me and telling me it is possible and I can succeed, I never would be where I am today,” Bastien said. “You changed my life for the better, and for that I thank you. You are the best teacher I have ever had.”
She also expressed her gratitude for others that provided support, including those who cared for the children while the parents were in class.
“I also thank all the daycare workers for taking fantastic care of our children and teaching them many new things,” Bastien said. “Our children love all of you very much and we couldn't ask for better day-care providers for our children.”