Survey aims to assist at-risk youth in Comox Valley

Intended to gain insight from those in the 15- to 24-year age bracket

  • Apr. 6, 2015 10:00 a.m.
At-risk youth issues are not solely a big-city problem.

At-risk youth issues are not solely a big-city problem.

Scott Stanfield

Record Staff

The Wachiay Friendship Centre, in conjunction with the John Howard Society of North Island, has developed a survey to assist at-risk youth who are transitioning to adult services.

Results will help several community agencies develop programs to help a large population of Valley youth and young adults who are not well supported or connected with the community.

The Have Your Say survey is intended to gain insight from those in the 15- to 24-year age bracket as to what they’d like to see in their community.

“There’s a huge gap between youth supports and adult supports, and what’s expected,” said Allison Abraham, FASD (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder) keyworker at Wachiay. “My position sees a lot of those gaps because it’s developmental age versus chronological age.

“Because we are a friendship centre, we are a connect for a lot of aboriginal youth when they come from North Island,” she added. “We are sometimes that first connect for people when they’re not sure where else to go. The whole idea is that continuity, getting them used to being parts of groups, reaching out to adults to support them at a young age.”

The John Howard Society sees similarities in terms of youth in transition.

“They have a soft shoulder for a lot of the youth they support,” Abraham said. “There’s a lot on their plate at that young age, and they really do need that guidance still.”

She’s hoping to receive more than 300 completed surveys by June, ready for implementation by summer or September.

“We’re all doing this off the side of our desk to create a safety net for those in that age bracket,” Abraham said, noting a greater presence of youth at the library and soup kitchen. “We’re trying to reach as many youth as possible, especially the ones that aren’t connected.”

Surveys are available at Wachiay, the Courtenay Library, AIDS Vancouver Island, John Howard Society, Cumberland Community School drop in, the LINC, the Job Shop, Lewis Centre, soup kitchen, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Adult Mental Health, MSDSI (social assistance office), Transition Society and the Salvation Army shelter. Schools are also participating internally.

The survey can also be found online at svy.mk/1FicOG0

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com