The Alexandra Paproski #XOXO Fund was created to honour the public and community service of Bette and Steve Paproski. Grants from this fund will support the dream of post secondary education for young (teen) parents and their children. These grants will be awarded to young parents, women and men, who intend to pursue education in a community college, apprenticeship program, technical college, university or equivalent educational institution.
Give to this Fund
Donations of $20 or more will receive an official tax receipt. Official tax receipts will be issued to the individual or organization named on the credit card.
About the Fund
On March 31st, 2014, I celebrated fifty years of blessings and privilege in my life. Inspired by Governor General Johnston's "My Giving Moment" campaign, I intend to raise $50,000 or more, with your support, for The Alexandra Paproski #XOXO Fund. In the spirit of the thousands of hugs and kisses I have received in 50 years, I will be making a lead gift to my #XOXO Fund of $2,500.00.
This Fund will provide grants to support post secondary education for young parents and their children and honour the decades of public service gifted to community by my joyful, generous and loving parents. Young parents connected to the Hand in Hand Infant Toddler Centre in Penticton, BC will be the first recipients of the proceeds from this fund. My intention, in the future, would be to support young parents in many different Canadian cities near and dear to my heart.
My first introduction to young parents, or as they used to be deemed the girls from "The Home For Unwed Mothers", was through the quiet legacy of my Mom and Dad supporting them when "accidents happened".
Following their strong faith, they welcomed young women into our family, a home away from their homes and away from the perceived shame of teenage pregnancy. They provided support during pregnancy, and in the keeping or adopting out of their babies, although, 50 years ago, the choice to keep and raise a child as a teenager was undoubtedly unheard of.
I have not wanted for any gift in my life. Once married however, wishing for children of my own, I was surprised by how difficult it was for me to get pregnant and was often reminded of my connection to those young women my parents supported.
Who gets to choose to be a Mom and why? I would have done or given just about anything to have a baby. I tried for years, we tried everything, and it was simply not to be.
Life in many cities, many careers, the idea of many babies in my past and life as a Family Counsellor in my present - my greatest gift had yet to be received. When I arrived in Penticton for my first counselling role, I never imagined what was before me. I was welcomed at Penticton and District Community Resources Society (PDCRS), this vibrant family services agency filled with many diverse programs.
On my first day, I walked in to my first stop and my colleague turned to me and said, "This is where we care for the babies and toddlers of our young parents from the area". I couldn't believe my eyes, almost half a century later, there I was becoming part of a team to support young girls (and boys) and their newborn kept children. There was an actual daycare just a parking lot away from their high school.
The daycare is tiny and filled with skilled, talented and compassionate caregivers and it was a place for both parent and child to just be. The teens are not hidden away in a far away town; not moved away from families or community; not gone to stay with an imaginary auntie or an unnamed boarding school and not called "unwed" anything. They were right here raising their children, going to school and supporting each other to be the best parents they could be.
"My Giving Moment" talks about the virtuous circle and now that my life is filled with the gift of other people's children, my circle is complete and a deep, hurtful, wounded scar is well healed.
In memory of my Dad Steve, my Mom Bette, and with great enduring love to my sibs Patrick, Peter, Anna, and Elizabeth and to the hundreds of Family of Choice who have helped the healing, I invite you to join me in making a charitable gift of $50 or more to help me grow my #XOXO Fund. In doing so, you will honour many young parents who will be forever and completely connected to my heart.
With gratitude, love and blessings,
Alexandra to many, Allie to others, Alex to family and Al to Mom and Dad
P.S. It's your gift, in honour of "your giving moment", that will support many young parents and their children through this education fund. Thank you.
Selection of the Award Recipients
If you know of a young parent who is in need of an educational grant for themselves or would like to start a fund for their children, please contact Allison Felker at 604.877.7241.
Letters of interest are welcomed annually no later than March 31 of each calendar year. Please email your letter to Allison Felker.
Note To Young Parents
These grants of $500 or more are currently available to young parents and their children in the South Okanagan. This Fund will support the dream of post secondary education for young parents and their children and awarded to those who in intend to pursue education in a community college, apprenticeship program, technical college, university or equivalent educational institution. These gifts are based on financial need and scholastic desire and for parents under the age of 19 while raising a child.