Hand in Hand Working Wonders in the Okanagan

Purposefully nestled in between Penticton Secondary School and ConnectEd, Hand in Hand Infant/Toddler Centre is a thriving partnership between Penticton & District Community Resources Society and School District #67.

A joint school-community venture, Hand in Hand provides quality care for children under the age of three whose young parents are attending school in Penticton.

Thanks in part to nearly $19,000 in grants from the Valley First Community Endowment over the last few years, the Penticton & District Community Resources Centre (PDCRS) continues to provide a positive, nurturing environment supporting and building healthy families in the Okanagan/Similkameen.

First and foremost, the Society recognizes parents as partners in their commitment to providing quality service. This awareness is central to the dynamic partnership that exists with the parents and their children in the program. They are part of the family.

And there are many success stories. For example, Nikki, who relocated to the Okanagan as a teenager, had a difficult past and struggled from a young age. Now 21 and a mother of two young boys, Nikki joined the PDCRS Family and attended ConnectEd to finish high school. Traditionally this would be the end of the road, but the support didn’t end there.

Nikki now attends Sprott Shaw College completing a one year intensive program to become a Community Support Worker. Her two boys will continue to attend Hand in Hand until she graduates from college. PDCRS recognizes that young mothers need more education and child-care support than a high school graduation provides.

On many occasions PDCRS has gone to the government to fight for the rights of these young mothers and their families. It’s a big win as mothers can keep their children in the program at no cost while they complete their education. PDCRS acknowledges that in order to have productive, vigorous communities, there needs to be an investment in this vulnerable population.

Success stories abound as family members who were able to keep their children in the program have graduated to become pharmacists, branch managers and support workers, to name a few. It is an extraordinary undertaking creating strong, resilient and resourceful communities, one family at a time.