THUNDER BAY -- Being a young parent is tough enough as it is.
Being second-guessed everywhere you turn makes it that much tougher.
Kylee Buckley says unfortunately young mothers and fathers are constantly given unsolicited advice about how to parent, or outright told what they’re doing is wrong. It’s why she took part in Our Kids Count’s one-year PhotoVoice project, Broken Pieces, Mended Hearts.
The project presents a collection of photographs taken by eight young mothers over the past 12 months, and is on display for the next week in the city hall foyer.
Buckley said it was an inspirational effort.
“I feel it has encouraged us to keep moving forward and it’s given us more strength to keep standing up as a whole,” she said.
“PhotoVoice will show that we are no different than anyone else in their 30s and 40s. We all have one focus in the world and that’s to care for our kids.”
Brooklyn Chlebovec said it’s proof young parents shouldn’t be judged by their age, their looks or how they choose to raise their children.
“The experience has also shown me that just like our photos, we’ve each got a different perspective on parenting,” she said.
Cori Bannon is the co-ordinator of the Young Parents program at Our Kids Count and said the ideal behind the PhotoVoice project was to try to break down the barriers and stigmatism attached to parenting at a young age.
“They do have a lot of barriers. They’re followed around in grocery stores, whereas somebody my age wouldn’t be,” Bannon said. “A lot of them look different, so people automatically judge them on their appearance. Some of them have dreadlocks, some of them have piercings and stuff like that.
“It’s a matter of public perception and trying to break down those walls, saying these are just parents being parents and that’s exactly what our project is all about – to simplify and just say look, this about parenting.”
Paul Tsekousas, a member of Leadership Thunder Bay, which helped sponsor the PhotoVoice project, said the display may only spend a week at city hall, but it won’t be the last time it’s heard from, promising to share it at venues throughout the city.
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We’re going to have this in other places in Thunder Bay.”
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