Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jan 2005
Source: Coast Reporter (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Coast Reporter


Valuing Our Youth

Editor's note: This is the second in a three-part series on youth,
drugs and alcohol on the Sunshine Coast.

Last week we asked the question: what are we as a community doing

As a result of the youth alcohol and drug community response strategy,
the Sunshine Coast Youth Awareness committee appointed a sub-committee
to work towards the implementation of the strategy. This includes a
three pronged approach: coordination, prevention and response.

The Action Committee has started coordination.

The active members of this committee are the coordinators of the
Roberts Creek, Gibsons and Sechelt community schools, a Sunshine Coast
Regional District parks and recreation coordinator, a community school
board member, the coordinator of the Sunshine Coast Community Services
to youth and a counsellor from the Sunshine Coast Alternative School.

One of the tasks of the committee is to seek sustainable funding
sources to provide effective, ongoing services for our youth. Most of
the services mentioned in this series have one-time-only or
time-limited funding.

Prevention: There are very few prevention programs for youth on the
Sunshine Coast. Those that do exist continually face the reality that their
funding could be gone tomorrow.

The Roberts Creek Friday Nights Alive Youth Drop-In (funded by Roberts
Creek Community School and the SCRD) is one of the successful
programs. This program is a supervised youth drop-in for 13 to 18 year

The program offers a positive, social, non-judgmental environment
where teens can express themselves and be comfortable, a place where
they can drop in for organized activities, watch a movie and visit
with their peers. The program is designed to offer youth a safe, free,
positive alternative to street activities with opportunities for
education and learning new skills.

The Pender Harbour Community School also offers youth drop-ins. Two
programs, Youth Jam on Friday night and Nite Sports on Tuesday night,
attract up to 30 youth aged 12 to 28. These programs have trained
facilitators using a restitution-mentoring type model for substance
abuse issues.

The SCRD parks and recreation department also provides a range of
positive, preventative arts, culture and sports activity for youth.

Sunshine Coast RCMP will offer the Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(DARE) program in five elementary schools this year.

Response: Sunshine Coast Community Services Society, with partial funding
from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, offers one-to-one
counselling and group education to support teens transitioning to
independent living. Two counsellors responding to referrals, primarily from
the Ministry of Children and Families, offer a 24-hour a week crisis service.

Recently, one-time-only funding was secured for an outreach worker to
work nine hours per week to facilitate high-risk teens in reconnecting
to their communities, schools and families. These programs have long
waiting lists. The need is far greater than the support available, and
the funding is never secure.

Coast Garibaldi Mental Health Services also offer some addictions
counselling and support for youth.

As one of the youth involved in the report says, "We need to be more
visible in our caring."

Next week, we ask the questions: What's missing in the support of our
youth with alcohol and drug problems? What can we as a community do? 
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MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFLorida)