Young people and their families in the Okanagan Valley now have a new Foundry centre in Penticton, which focuses on reaching young people early — before small problems become big ones.
“Foundry centres provide a safe and judgment-free environment where youth can feel comfortable asking for help and accessing the services they need,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “With the opening of Foundry Penticton, young people in the Okanagan have access to another one-stop shop, in addition to Foundry Kelowna, to receive the important services they need to not only survive, but thrive.”
Foundry Penticton, as with all Foundry centres, offers increased access to co-ordinated health and wellness services and supports.
Foundry Penticton is initially offering walk-in primary care, peer support, walk-in counselling, mental health services, housing and employment supports, legal advocacy and substance-use counselling. The hours of existing services will expand in the fall to fully represent the scope of the Foundry model and meet the unique needs of local young people and their families. More services will be added, including a sexual health clinic, income assistance and access to opioid agonist therapy.
“Mental health, youth justice and social workers are available on the second floor of the Foundry so that youth can get the medical care and counselling they need on the first floor and see our staff for extra support upstairs,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Being part of the Foundry hub ensures health professionals are co-located and can meet with the youth’s counsellor, social or outreach worker, providing a safety net of services that youth need.”
Foundry Penticton, which is operated by OneSky Community Resources, brings together a variety of local organizations — including Interior Health, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Pathways Addictions Resource Centre, YMCA Okanagan and other community partners — to transform the way mental health and wellness services are provided to the city’s young people.
The total project cost for Foundry Penticton is $1.2 million. This includes $200,000 from government, $400,000 from donations and grants through the Foundry provincial network, and $600,000 secured by OneSky Community Resources, in partnership with the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen, to renovate Foundry Penticton — creating a warm, welcoming centre for youth.
Located at 501 Main St., Foundry Penticton has a skilled team of knowledgeable and compassionate professionals that work collaboratively with young people to prepare the most well-rounded and appropriate plan and course of action based on the unique needs and circumstances of each youth who comes into the centre.
Foundry Penticton is one of eight sites now open around the province, joining locations in Vancouver (Granville and the North Shore), Kelowna, Campbell River, Prince George, Abbotsford and Victoria. An additional three centres are in development in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, Richmond and Terrace.
As an integral part of A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s recently launched roadmap for making mental health and addictions care better for people in British Columbia, the one-stop shop Foundry model will expand even further to include eight new centres. This is in addition to the 11 mentioned above, for a total of 19 centres provincewide.
Pamela Liversidge, acting executive director, Foundry —
“We are so pleased to have Penticton join the Foundry network as the eighth centre to open its doors. This community has demonstrated a strong commitment to working with young people to ensure that their needs will be met. We have also been very pleased by the local partnerships, including the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen’s commitment to support integrated youth services and earlier interventions.”
Tanya Behardien, executive director, OneSky Community Resources —
“I am encouraged that our youth will be the generation that leaves stigma behind. Foundry Penticton is an opportunity for our friendly, professional staff to walk along side youth, and intervene earlier. We want to co-design better services, because it’s essential we innovate and integrate across health, education and social services. Young people need, and deserve, our very best efforts.”
Husain Sattar, youth advisor, Foundry Penticton —
“Everyone knows someone who is struggling. Nobody is immune. There is no greater investment a community could make than to give youth a home, a place designed with youth and for youth, where they can feel safe, supported, connected and welcome. Foundry will be life changing for some of the youth that walk through the door to join a program or start a conversation.”
Terry McKinlay, parent advisor, Foundry Penticton —
“Through my own family's experience, we've learned that for families of youth needing support, it can be difficult to navigate services. Families need quick access to care and collaboration between service providers to avoid multiple appointments and wait lists. They need education and support. In these ways, Foundry can be a game changer.”
Aaron McRann, executive director, Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen —
“Since 2013, we have been working in partnership with young people to create a youth resource centre and improve access to basic needs, recreation and mental health supports. It has taken a lot of work and collaboration, and we are so proud of our youth leaders for their advocacy, guidance and fundraising. We are really excited to see it finally happen and so very thankful to the partners and donors who stepped up to make positive change in the community.”
OneSky Community Resources: http://oneskycommunity.com/
Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen: https://www.cfso.net/
Interior Health: https://www.interiorhealth.ca/Pages/default.aspx