Members of the Young, Pregnant and Parenting program enjoyed a barbecue lunch on Thursday as part of the program’s Youth Week celebrations.
The group of parents aged 25 years and under meet once a week, taking part in a number of activities in a friendly, non-judgemental environment.
Program manager Jenny Cook said the group allowed young parents to mix with other people in similar situations to theirs.
‘‘The members have some great role models and the workers are professionals with a substantial background in many of the issues they may be experiencing,’’ she said.
‘‘We also have a whole circle of programs where members can be referred to other services.’’
The program is one of three run through The Bridge Youth Service, which provides specific and structured support for youth and their families in Shepparton, Seymour and surrounding areas.
The Young, Pregnant and Parenting program offers support from the beginning of pregnancy all the way through to post-natal care, with pregnancy testing, options counselling and one-on-one case management available.
Ms Cook said the program had proven beneficial, and gave young people a safe place to air their worries and concerns.
‘‘They can come in and make a confidential appointment without feeling judged,’’ she said.
‘‘It takes into consideration the stages of development the young people are at themselves; even though they might be parenting, they still might be developing.
‘‘It is very youth-focused, which not all parenting groups are.’’
Ms Cook said The Bridge had become a safe place for youth in the area and offered an easy referral pathway that allowed for positive engagement.
‘‘It is really an interchangeable model of support; the key feature is that we all pitch in and work together,’’ she said.
‘‘People can get information in an informal setting which makes them more willing to engage and take that information on board.’’
For more information about the youth programs available, phone The Bridge on 58312390.