From left, Joe, 8, mom Amie Romano, one-year-old Rayanna and four-year-old Olivia relax in their Rutland home.
When her first child was born, she was 16 years old. Romano never completed high school.
Now, nine years later, Romano is taking upgrading courses at Okanagan College's KLO Road campus in Kelowna. Her son Joseph, now in Grade 3, goes to an after-school program run by the boys and girls club.
As well, her four-year-old daughter, Olivia, is enrolled in a daycare program also offered by the club.
For both kids, Romano pays about $200 a month. That's far less than her costs would be if they were in a private daycare operation. Knowing her children are in good hands during the day makes it easier for Romano to focus on her studies at the college.
"It makes a huge difference to me that my kids can go to the boys and girls club," said Romano, who has lived in Kelowna nearly her whole life. "I don't know what I'd do without them.
"The kids love going to the boys and girls club," she said. "They do lots of fun things there, like make pizzas and crafts, plus they go on a lot of outings."
While she's studying to get her high school equivalency, Romano also works part time at a local restaurant. Eventually, she hopes to enrol in a health-care training program offered by the college.
She has a fairly extensive support network locally, with a number of extended family members living nearby. Because of her relatively low income, she qualifies to live in a subsidized housing complex.
You can Be an Angel by donating at The Daily Courier, online at kelownadailycourier.ca or at any branch of Valley First Credit Union.
The campaign supports Okanagan food banks and the boys and girls club.