Earlier this week, the Youth Engagement Strategy (YES) Project received the keys to their new building in Penticton. The YES Project, initiated by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan and the Similkameen in response to a bequest directed at increasing youth self-esteem, received the keys to their new building. The Community Foundation, along with other agencies and partners, including Board Voice Member Pentiction District Community Resources Society, have been working towards their vision of a one-stop model for youth services in Penticton since a 2014 report highlighted youth self-esteem as an issue. The purchase of their own building is a huge milestone in this project.
In December of 2017, Judy Darcy, Mental Health and Addictions Minister, announced that Penticton would be joining the Foundry network of services. In November of 2016, Board Voice offered a workshop by Dr. Steve Mathias of the British Columbia Integrated Youth Services Initiative which has now been branded as the Foundry. The philosophy of the project:
[Y]outh and family-centred, collaborative and empowering; services that are timely, accessible, developmentally appropriate, socially inclusive and equitable, and culturally sensitive, congruent, and safe.
It is hoped that the branding will help youth and their parents to know about the services much more quickly so that early intervention is possible. Penticton joins the other Foundry sites in Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Kelowna, Campbell River and Prince George. The Foundry has also launched a digital hub for youth and their families to access mental health information 24 hours a day.
Congratulations to Pentiction District Community Resources Society, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan and the Similkameen and all the other partners and stakeholders involved in this initiative.