WHITEHORSE—This spring students at the Teen Parent Centre will have access to a drivers’ education program thanks to collaborative funding by Yukon Education and local organizations.
“Completing a driver’s education program allows young parents to gain independence and meet their transportation needs, which many of us take for granted,” Education Minister Scott Kent said. “Helping young families succeed helps to strengthen our community.”
Last fall the Teen Parent Centre requested funding from community organizations to facilitate the drivers’ education program. Centennial Motors and the Grey Mountain Lions Club donated a total of $800—the cost for one student to take the week-long course— and Yukon Education topped up the funding, enabling up to 10 students to participate.
The Teen Parent Access to Education Society will pay for child care, the costs associated with meals and snacks for the week, and will also fund students $70 each to write the learners’ licence test beforehand, which is a prerequisite for the drivers’ program.
The high cost of the course is a major factor prohibiting young parents from accessing drivers’ training on their own. Students Leslie Currie and Chyloe Lennie, who participated in last year’s course, stress that the training can have a powerful impact on quality of life.
“We all have children, so a licence is a must-have. I was taking the bus while pregnant, with another kid who didn’t want to stay in his stroller—it was frustrating,” Currie said. “Being able to get my licence really changed my life.”
Having a driver’s licence enables self-sufficiency and can minimize obstacles for accessing vital and timely community resources and services.
“It’s really useful when you have to go grocery shopping, so you don’t need to be spending a whole bunch of money on cabs,” Lennie added.
The Teen Parent Centre expects between eight and 10 students will access the course this year.