Children and families will have more opportunities to get involved with the YMCA, thanks to a total of $11 million in government funding announced today by MLA Sam Sullivan for Vancouver-False Creek on behalf of Health Minister Terry Lake.
“With today’s funding, we are supporting youth mental health, and we are proud to help the YMCA expand upon their already successful YMCA youth mindfulness programs,” said Sullivan. “Youth health is not just physical. By partnering with the YMCA, we are providing the supports and tools that will help children get on the right path to healthy living, including mental wellness.”
The funding is divided into two priority areas for the YMCA ‒ $3 million for the YMCA to expand their successful youth mindfulness program, and $8 million to support existing infrastructure projects for the following YMCAs:
- Surrey City Centre YMCA- a new centre;
- Coquitlam YMCA- a new centre;
- South Vancouver YMCA- a new centre; and
- Chilliwack YMCA- greatly renovated and expanded.
“I have seen first-hand the difference the YMCA programs make to the families in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and throughout the province,” added Sullivan. “This infrastructure funding will create new centres and dramatically renovate the Chilliwack YMCA, giving families in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley improved access to fun and healthy activities.”
Developed in 2015, the youth mindfulness program at the YMCA has seen a 91% participant completion rate and currently has a waitlist of young people in the greater Vancouver area wanting to register for the program. Funding will help the YMCA provide the program to even more youth, with plans to expand to 25 communities to serve up to 2,500 youth over three years.
“Early intervention is often the key to long-term wellness for children and youth dealing with mental-health issues like anxiety,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. “YMCA’s youth mindfulness program focuses on providing this critical early emotional and social support – without barriers and at no cost to participants – while also supporting their physical health through free access to the gym and other fitness programs.”
B.C.’s YMCA and YMCA-YWCA associations serve over 187,000 people each year at their 200 locations throughout the province. Programs are available for all ages and include activities such as swimming, team sports, martial arts, child care, employment, immigrant services, youth fitness and mental-health programs, and day and overnight camps. Government infrastructure funding announced today will help to serve an additional 250,000 people in the rapidly growing communities of Coquitlam, Surrey, Vancouver and Chilliwack.
“I want to thank the Province of British Columbia for these generous contributions to youth mindfulness programming and our Capital Growth and Enhancement Strategy,” said Stephen Butz, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “Partnerships like this are needed now more than ever and this multi-sector investment into social capital brings together government, citizens, business leaders, foundations, community partners and the Y to address the health needs of British Columbians.”
Existing provincial supports to address the needs of youth living with mental-health concerns or substance-use challenges include helping children and youth through community based child and youth mental-health teams throughout B.C., providing vulnerable youth with health care, shelter and social support through the Foundry integrated youth service centres in Kelowna, North Shore, Abbotsford, Campbell River, Prince George and Vancouver; and specialized mental-health beds at Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital.
The Ministry of Health spends about $1.45 billion each year to support people in need of mental-health or substance-use services and supports.
The B.C. government is making record investments in modern, safe infrastructure projects throughout the province. In doing so, these construction projects are creating well-paying, family-supporting jobs. These investments are possible because of the fiscal plan of the B.C. government.
Find your local YMCA and learn about its programs at http://ymca.ca/Find-Your-Y
Visit Healthy Families BC at www.healthfamiliesbc.ca
Visit the new mental health digital hub to find services near you:
For more information on accessing community-based Child and Youth Mental Health services:
To visit the youth mental health services map: