Research Project Gives Teen Parents a Voice

The Successful Families program, offered in partnership by Terra and Brentwood Community Development Group, provides safe, supported and affordable housing for teen families in Edmonton. Currently, 25 families are involved in the program, where they develop skills to maintain long-term tenancies, reduce social isolation and build parenting confidence. Successful Families is facilitated by four Terra housing support staff who operate out of Brentwood House – a big, welcoming house directly across the street from the Brentwood townhouses that our young families call home.

Eight young parents recently documented the impact Successful Families has had on their lives through photography, as part of a photovoice project. These photos show the honest, joyful and challenging journey of teen parent families as they develop their independence and thrive with the support of programs like Successful Families.

“These pictures were taken on my son’s first birthday,” says one participant. “This was a special day for both him and I since it was celebrated in our first home, together with friends and family. What matters to me as a parent is having a home where we can celebrate every holiday together so my son knows stability in his life.”

The photovoice project is part of a partnership between Terra and the University of Alberta’s Community-University Partnership. University researchers spent approximately 110 hours over a six-month period meeting with participants. The meetings provided a safe space for open and honest discussion and each had a theme. Afterwards, participants went home and took photographs reflecting that theme. The resulting photos give us a glimpse into the realities, struggles, accomplishments and breakthroughs that these young parents have experienced.

We’re excited about some of the media attention this project has received, as well! Participant Bria-anne Blanchard recently spoke to CBC Edmonton about her involvement in the project and some of the stereotypes she faces as a teen parent. Alex Carlson, another participant, talked to CTV Edmonton about some of the benefits she experienced by being part of the photovoice project.

To share this hard work and these inspirational moments, we are displaying the photographs at Edmonton City Hall, on the west side of the main floor, until August 3, 2017. We encourage you to visit the display and share it with others in the community. For more information about the display, contact Megan Hunka at 780-428-3772 or

Use the hashtag #teenparentvoice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to tell us what you think, ask questions or spread the word about the display!