At-risk youth in the Tri-Cities' area will continue to benefit from an award-winning mobile drop-in centre and outreach program thanks to a $100,000 grant to the PoCoMo Youth Services Society.
The funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) will go toward Project Reach Out, an innovative program run by PoCoMo Youth Services Society that provides after-hours outreach support to youth in the communities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Belcarra and Anmore.
The mobile drop-in centre and outreach program is the first of its kind in Canada and connects with youth who may be at-risk where they hang out, instead of waiting for young people to access resources on their own.
The program uses a modified shuttle bus, staffed by youth workers, peer mentors and volunteers, to travel to areas in the Tri-Cities where youth often gather such as parks, convenience stores and schools to engage youth and help them make positive choices. It provides crisis intervention, health promotion, drug prevention and education, follow-up support and community information and referrals for youth age 12 to 18.
MCFD funds a range of youth services that include outreach workers, youth support workers, youth and family mediation, safe house and emergency shelter beds, transitional housing, youth agreements, support services to sexually exploited youth and the Agreements with Young Adults program.
Youth outreach and support workers go to where street youth gather. Outreach workers help youth establish safer lifestyles and encourage those children and youth who are new to the street to reconnect with their families and communities. Workers address immediate needs and link young people to community services and resources, and social workers if needed.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"Nothing is more important than the health, safety and well-being of vulnerable children and youth in B.C., and we want to ensure that they have the help they need, when they need it. We're very pleased to be able to support the innovative and important work the PoCoMo Youth Services Society is doing to ensure at-risk youth in the Tri-Cities area are able to access services or just have someone they can talk to."
Jerome Bouvier, executive director of PoCoMo Youth Services Society -
"With support through the BC Gaming grant, Civil Forfeiture grant, and the welcomed addition of the $100,000 one-time grant, government has helped reenergize PoCoMo as an agency and impacted the lives of hundreds of youth in the Tri-Cities communities. This funding support from the Ministry of Children and Family Development is a true recognition of the value placed on PoCoMo programs and the contributions we make to the lives of vulnerable youth in communities we serve. This welcomed support is a strong message that government cares for the youth and families of B.C."
- The ministry is committed to ensuring the safety of B.C.'s children and youth in communities throughout the province by providing services for vulnerable youth.
- The ministry's budget for youth support services and agreements is $36.7 million this year, an increase of nearly $11 million since 2000-01.
- This budget funds outreach workers, youth support workers as well as a number of other valuable services that help youth, including:
- safe houses/emergency shelters - provide safe and supportive short-term accommodation for youth who wish to leave the streets or other unsafe situations. The ministry provides funding for approximately 85 safe housing and emergency shelter beds throughout B.C.
- parent-youth mediation helps families resolve problems by recognizing and building on the strengths within family relationships.
- support services for sexually exploited youth.
- Youth Agreements with MCFD to address homelessness if living at home or with relatives is not an option, providing financial assistance for alternate places to live in addition to other supports.
- Youth Education Assistance Fund - supports former youth in government care to engage in vocational training and post-secondary education with more than $8.9 million in bursaries distributed to more than 1,300 youth.
- The PoCoMo Youth Services Society was established in 1992 and has won four awards for their services including the 2010.2011 Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Not for Profit of the Year award; the 2009 Tri-City REACH Awards' 'Creating a Safer Community award; the 2009 Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Innovative Spirit award, and the 2008 Community Safety and Crime Prevention award presented by the B.C. government.
For more information on youth services and supports available go to: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/for_youth.htm
For more information on PoCoMo Youth Services Society go to: http://www.pocomo.org/
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Children and Family Development