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Clarissa Arthur is a mother of two children, 15 and 19 years old and is a Child Development Program Coordinator in Ottawa, Ontario. She is known for her work in early childhood education and child development, early literacy and infant mental health.

Currently, she supervises the Child Development Program at Youville Centre. Youville Centre is a non-profit, registered charity that serves adolescent mothers and their children. Youville’s trauma-informed, holistic programs and services include: crisis intervention, intensive mental health therapy and treatment, addiction counselling, collaborative problem solving, a licensed child development program with a focus on infant mental health, attachment-based parenting programs with intervention and treatment, and a fully accredited secondary school. For more than a quarter century, Youville Centre has been an innovative centre that motivates, educates and nurtures young mothers and their children to become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.

The Child Development Program consists of over 20 Early Childhood Educators and support staff and 55 young children between the ages of 1 month and 3 years. At Youville Centre, Clarissa is also responsible for the intake of new students and is involved in the development and co-facilitation of their infant mental health and parenting programs. In addition to her work at Youville Centre, she also works part time as a Parent Support Worker with high risk families and has previously volunteered as a Birth and Parent Companion with Mothercraft Ottawa.

Youville Centre is one of the agencies that helped to develop the Welcome to Parenting for Young Parents program. Clarissa has a unique investment in working with young parents as she was one herself. She became pregnant at the age of 17 and attended Youville Centre with her son where she learned important parenting strategies as she worked toward obtaining her high school diploma. Upon successful completion of her high school, Clarissa attended Algonquin College to earn 2 honours diplomas in Child and Youth Work and Early Childhood Education. Clarissa now has a special opportunity to give back to the very Centre that helped her as a young parent by working with and inspiring the young mothers that access Youville Centre today.

In her career, Clarissa has worked as an Educational Assistant in the school system, a Special Needs Counsellor, a Speech and Language Community Worker, an Early Literacy Specialist, a Parent Child Educator, a Home Childcare Consultant and a small business owner teaching sensory based infant development classes.