JOIN US AS WE WORK TO CHANGE THE HEADLINES,SET THE EXAMPLE AND LEAD THE CHARGE TO RESCUE, PROTECT AND HEAL OUR YOUTH.
The Bridge Youth & Family Services Society is appealing to the community to help build a life-saving support for youth struggling with addiction.
The Okanagan witnessed 126 overdose deaths last year, with 66 of these occurring in Kelowna, our own back yard. Twenty-three of those who died due to illicit drugs in our province last year were children and youth between the ages of 10 and 18. The rate of young people dying from overdose doubled from 2016 to 2017 and shows no sign of abating.
There are fewer than 50 publicly funded substance use treatment beds for youth in all of BC. Just four of those beds are designated for our community’s young people, between the ages of 17 to 24, and there are NO beds available to children under 17.
At The Bridge, we have supported children as young as 13 through our Youth Withdrawal Management program. Here, they spend a mere 15 days housed with us. Many return to poverty, homelessness, and life on the streets.
BUILDING PLANS ARE UNDERWAY
We are currently working with municipal leaders, architects and builders to establish the Youth Recovery House, a thoughtfully designed 16 bedroom, 25,000 ft2 live-in facility with healing spaces dedicated to expert care, recreation, education, counselling and contemplation.
Treatment will be tailored to the needs of the youth in care and will focus on the biological, spiritual, social, psychological, cultural and emotional needs of each individual. The program will enable youth to foster healthy relationships and be reconnected with themselves, the community, nature and those who genuinely care for their well-being. Life skills, education and job readiness training will be an integral part of the recovery therapy.
When it comes to the harsh reality substance use imposes on children and adolescents, The Bridge team is well-seasoned and unshakable. But, our adversary is evolving. Today, we see children we have cared for die outdoors and alone, and it shatters us. We are firm in our resolve to rally the community to build and provide long-term rehabilitative housing and care for youth in our area addicted to substances.
Together, we can make a difference. Our young people are struggling; yet, they are children; their futures are decades ahead and can be rewritten. They deserve the opportunity to heal, learn and change course. We are the catalyst for their resurgence. Our children and youth are relying on us.