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New Horizons for Youth in Kelowna

Published July 20, 2016 20:12

Many young people in our community are trying to navigate life's daily challenges and yesterday the support to do this was increased through the Civil Forfeiture Grant from the Province of BC.

$100,000 is being earmarked for the New Horizon's Program at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs Downtown Youth Centre. This grant will enable the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs (OBGC) Downtown Youth Centre to continue New Horizons for Youth, a program first supported with a $20,000 grant in 2015. It provides a structured, high-quality approach developed for, and in consultation with, local young people, aged 14 to 18. Curriculum development is ongoing in consultation with youth members, 94 of whom have participated to date.*

New Horizons covers healthy attitudes and coping skills to bolster participants’ resilience in the face of negative peer pressure. Four broad modules address:

  • Mental health and wellness. 
  • Sexual health and healthy relationships. 
  • Self-care, goal-setting and financial planning. 
  • Effective verbal and non-verbal communication.

"This grant allowed us to dedicate a staff member to consult our young clients and develop responsive life-skills programming of exceptional quality. To date, New Horizons teaches:

  • communication,
  • problem-solving,
  • conflict resolution and
  • various soft skills.

All of these skills build a foundation for young participants to make strong choices and meet their own needs, without resorting to crime. The flexibility of the program and its respect for different learning styles benefits both learners and teachers, as the latter face fewer barriers now in conveying information and ensuring the youth ‘get it’. We will continue building our curriculum and using it in our programs. In this way, the civil forfeiture grant helped us introduce a sustainable intervention in youth criminal behavior.” Sarah McKinnon, Director, Okanangan Boys and Girls Clubs Downtown Youth Centre.

Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs mission is to provide a safe place for young people to belong where they can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life. The Civil Forfeiture Grant will definitely help us continue to do just that for the youth in our community.

(*reference from https://news.gov.bc.ca/11567)

Sarah Mac Kinnon, Steve Thompson, Diane Entwistle July 19, 2016 1

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