More than $185,000 in grant funding is set to help youth in the Central Okanagan struggling with mental health, poverty, and homelessness.
This year, the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation Kiwanis Legacy Fund committee approved five grants for funding.
The Benvoulin Housing Initiative, operated by the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, is set to receive funds to hire a youth mental health navigator who will provide education and development in life skills, on-site supports and connection to community services. The initiative provides 18 self-contained, safe and affordable studio suites to young adults (aged 16- 24) in need.
Another grant will go toward the Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) Resilient Families Program, which provides trauma support and health and wellness resources to struggling youth and families. Those funds will support a coordinator, who will help build and manage the program and provide on-site counselling and crisis management for victims and non-offending families.
Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) will be implementing Text Lifeline for Youth. KCR centralizes calls from four local and national crisis and suicide lines to ensure Central Okanagan youth speak to an individual in their home community. The Kiwanis grant will support a part-time coordinator to build, supervise and market the new service and recruit and oversee training of crisis line responders.
The Interior Health Adolescent Psychiatric Unit’s Wellness Support Project provides much-needed necessities to support safe daily living for those youth impacted by homelessness and poverty in the community. This program will also receive a grant which will fund essential items such as backpacks stocked with personal hygiene products, socks, undergarments, hats, bus tickets, blankets, sunscreen, masks and sanitizer, among many other necessities, for those living on the streets or impacted by poverty.
The fifth grant will go toward Kelowna General Hospital Pediatrics Wellness Support Project, which provides coping tools to pediatric patients with mental health concerns. The grant will help staff provide positive strategies and patient comforts to promote calming and healing, including hygiene supplies, stress coping tools and weighted blankets.