There is an urgent, regional need to support street-involved and at-risk youth and young adults in the Cowichan Valley. The Child and Youth Services program of the CMHA-CVB employs eight mobile Youth Outreach Engagement Workers working in teams of two to cover the Cowichan Valley.
Youth Outreach has quickly become a reliable service to many of the youth in the Cowichan Valley. The team is passionate about their position in the community and are always finding new ways to support youth. The project is ever-changing in order to better meet the needs of the clients and provide the best outreach care possible.
We serve people from 12-24 and sometimes beyond depending on the situation. We regularly see 10-15 core youth every week (either by appointment or in passing), regularly meeting “new youth” (high school programs, working alongside Warmland, OPS and BikeWorks), provide outreach to the local schools, as well as a few young mothers in the community.
The teams provide homeless youth access to services, nourishment, social connectivity and empathy. Whether it is taking someone for a coffee, providing critical support or simply listening, Youth Outreach Workers are often the only friendly face at-risk youth encounter in their daily lives.
The Youth Outreach Team mini-van frequents camp areas and other temporary sites to supply homeless youth with such necessities as water, food, clothing, tents, blankets, and even basic first aid. Many of the youth who are connected with the Outreach team are focused on survival, often self-medicating to get through their day. Given the right supports, they would have the potential for recovery and to lead full, healthy lives.
Our statistics show that we have regularly provided services to over 100 youth in the Valley in the 2019. These numbers will only increase due to a lack of access to affordable housing, the continuing opioid epidemic, families moving to and from the Cowichan Valley, and youth aging out of care.
Outreach was formed out of CMHA staff seeing the need in the community for a mobile care unit. These are roots we are proud to build on. We pride ourselves on meeting our client’s where they are at (literally and figuratively). Outreach is always taking the initiative to integrate themselves into client's care, to advocate and consistently shift the program to meet the needs of clients with a focus on harm reduction.
Please phone: (250) 732-2395
We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of BC.