Youth at risk are getting more help to improve their lives through the expansion of two successful youth programs announced today, May 21, by Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard.
The Youth Outreach Program is receiving $250,000 for five new outreach workers based in Dartmouth, Truro, Kentville, Whitney Pier and East Preston.
The position in East Preston will be the first in an African Nova Scotian community. Another $25,000 will go to the Educational Program Innovations Charity (EPIC) Youth Peer Centre in Sydney.
“This next generation is the future of our province and every young person deserves support to develop their full potential,” said Ms. Bernard. “We’re expanding the reach of community partners that are deeply committed to engaging with youth.”
Outreach workers support youth who may be experiencing multiple social, emotional, economic and family challenges. They connect youth with much needed community supports and help them to succeed and reach their full potential. This brings the total of youth outreach workers in the province to 13.
The grant to EPIC will support the recruitment and training of volunteers. It will also fund a study into the program’s impact on participating youth. Increasingly, EPIC is working with high-risk youth. EPIC’s Breakthrough program focuses on developing greater resiliency.
“It’s very busy at our location and we’re working more and more with older youth,” said Margaret MacLeod, program co-ordinator at the Whitney Pier location. “A youth outreach worker will allow us to provide more support to those in need, while expanding our facilities to create a unique space for them.”
Partner agencies are essential in the delivery of the Youth Outreach Program. They include the Boys and Girls Club in north and east Dartmouth, the East Preston Family Resource Centre, the Canadian Mental Health Association in Truro, the Portal in Kentville and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cape Breton — Whitney Pier.