Youth agencies searching for wrap-around support

A new collaboration among groups that deal with youths may be opening other avenues to help them.

A new collaboration among groups that deal with youths may be opening other avenues to help them.

Nineteen youth support groups, including school social workers, RCMP and probation workers identified trends in their activities and gaps in the supports youths are receiving during the first meeting of the new Ponoka Youth Coalition, held Wednesday, Oct. 21 and hosted by Beth Reitz, executive director for the Ponoka Youth Centre.

Four major points of service insufficiency emerged from the discussion:

Low income support;

Anxiety and mental health;

Youth crime;

Under-resourced services.

Accompanying the low income problem is a lack of proper nutrition affecting the kids. Schools are now finding out that breakfast is becoming an important part of the day for them to be able to have a positive learning day.

Reitz said she was not surprised with most of the issues that were presented with the exception of how quickly families have been affected by the downturn in the economy. Social and economic issues on the family front are creating extra stresses on students not normally seen.

Schools are having to find unique ways to get kids involved in sports as they cannot afford the extra fees to pay for those activities, which is straining budgets, and yet some administrators are finding that keeping them in those sports keeps them safe.

Reitz said that programming at the youth centre is at its maximum, especially on the Fridays when students are out of school in the Wolf Creek School Division. Rather than leave it at that, Reitz is looking at ways of reevaluating the services offered at the youth centre to ensure kids have opportunities.

Adding to the concern of financial burdens, there are increasing issues of anxiety and mental health concerns in children. One other trend that stakeholders are finding is a disconnect with students and their increased use of social media on personal devices.

Despite this challenge, teachers are also finding that they are self-correcting and calling out their fellow students on social media.

Youth crime was another issue touched on. Those in charge are having to deal with serious crimes such as heavy drug use, violence, incest and murder. These acts “are not the simple fights between two kids anymore,” according to the participants at the meeting. The severity of the crimes has reportedly increased over the years.

And on the fourth issue identified as one of the key problems is that staff dealing with youth issues are overworked. Resources are tapped out and at some point these employees are finding they have to turn kids away.

Reitz’s hope is to give stakeholders a chance to meet and network and find ways to help the kids and provide some continuation of services. “I wanted all the youth serving agencies to know what was available to them.”

One recommendation that came out of the meeting was to invite municipal and provincial leaders to the coalition. Reitz added that if groups would like to get involved, she could be contacted at the youth centre.


Just Posted

Dangers of distracted driving highlighted in mock crash

Ponoka Secondary Campus students had a taste of reality in a mock crash on distracted driving

Ponoka church hosts community summer sports series

Basketball and volleyball brings Filipino families together as part of a summer sports series.

Red Deer Lake residents have seen water levels drop steadily

AEP study shows levels on straight line decline for 40 years, investigation will continue

Ponoka high school students fundraise for women’s shelter

Creating awareness for #MMIW Ponoka Secondary Campus students hosted a bake sale

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

WATCH: Alix holds 2nd annual Icebreaker Roughstock

Many come out to see some intense rodeo action

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

Most Read