The Centre for Community Outreach and Care was recently established by the Child and Youth Care Department at Vancouver Island University. Our purpose is to provide enriched practical learning experiences for Child and Youth Care students through partnering with the local Harewood community to engage in child and family focused activities. Under the educational direction of faculty, student groups will complete any needed research, work with community partners to identify needs, as well as develop the parameters of agreed upon projects.
Activities of the Centre for 2014/2015:
Youth Mental Health Project
The overall goal of this project is to increase the capacity of young people (youth) to prevent and manage depression and anxiety. Students are working in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, local schools and other community partners. Students created and are now facilitating a 6 week Stomp out Stigma - Youth Mental Health Group in the Harewood community. The students are also creating and presenting mental health presentations to high school classes in Harewood.
Queer, Transgender and Transitioning Youth Group
Students working on this project are supporting a pre-existing 'queer youth group'. This group is made up of approximately 20 youth and young adults, who meet weekly to connect, build friendships and support one another. Our students will be facilitating specific workshop topics in response to needs identified by the group and working with the volunteer facilitators to help build their capacity as facilitators. Students are also currently working through a planning process with this group in order to identify needs and priorities. In addition students are also facilitating the Barsby Gay Straight Alliance in Barsby high school which was started by CYC students.
Here to There Social Justice Initiative
Students working on this project are aiming to increase awareness of social justice issues in the Harewood community and globally. The focus this year is on food sustainability and students are working to develop the Child and Youth Care social justice club, support the work ofKIDS International organization and develop a local food security project, with various community partners,to be implemented in the New Year. This group, along with members of the Child and Youth Care Social Justice Club, may be hosting community-wide special events and fundraising initiatives in support of KIDS and kids here and in Cambodia. Students have also created and are facilitating a 4 week food sense workshop for young mothers in the Harewood community. This program is run out of Barsby High school.
We are very excited about this work within our community in collaboration with those providing needed services to vulnerable children, youth and their families.