Mel Cooper Looks a Lot Like Santa!

On December 3rd, Mel Cooper, Chair of the TELUS Victoria Community Board, paid an unexpected visit to Threshold. His mission was to deliver a grant cheque that will assist Threshold with its Safe Housing for Youth program. His policy is always to deliver a cheque in person, adding a face and smile to the Board’s good work in the community.  What a great time of year to visit! Jiggling bells were heard in the background!

Mel Cooper (left), Chair of the TELUS Community Board of Victoria and Mark Muldoon (right) Executive Director of Threshold

The TELUS Victoria Community Board was launched in May 2007 and is led by Mel Cooper. The annual donation budget is $350,000.  Since 2007, the Victoria Community Board has donated $1.85 million to 168 projects. In 2012, it donated $350,000 to 28 projects.  In fact, there are 11 Canadian TELUS Community Boards and three International Boards that provide funding to local grassroots organizations in major centres where TELUS operates. These Community Boards are located in Victoria, Vancouver, Thompson Okanagan, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Rimouski, Quebec City, Atlantic Canada, the Philippines, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Today, Childhood Poverty; Tomorrow, Youth Homelessness

A new report indicates that British Columbia has the highest child poverty rate in Canada, with one in five kids considered statistically poor, says a report that calls for quick action to alleviate a worsening situation in the western province.

The report by the child and youth advocacy group First Call said B.C.’s child poverty rate is 18.6 per cent compared to the national rate of 13.3 per cent. Manitoba’s rate, the second-highest in the country, stands at 17.3 per cent.

Adrienne Montani, First Call’s provincial co-ordinator states: “B.C. stands out as having done the least among all provinces to bring down child and family poverty through government supports and programs.”

The report, unfortunately is not reporting something new. BC has had one of the worst child poverty statistics in the country for years. Is there any reason why BC cannot fix this problem. In a letter to the editor in the Times Colonist, Dr. Robert Duncan argued:

Investing in the Future of a Community – Intact Insurance

In November, the Intact Foundation recently made a financial donation to the Threshold Housing Society to assist in its mission to provide long-term transitional housing for at-risk youth in the Victoria region.

Intact Insurance is Canada’s largest home, auto and business insurance company. It is also a company that truly believes in building community in the areas they serve.  Over the last several years, the Intact Foundation has made a priority of assisting at-risk youth.  The company profoundly understands that the future of any community lies in the healthy and well-being of its youth.  In focusing in on at-risk youth, Intact takes the long view that social outreach and engagement is more effective by embracing a preventive model such that investing in at-risk youth today will negate indirect costs associated with social issues (homelessness, chronic poverty and criminal justice involvement) tomorrow.

Mr. Peter Norton, Regional Branch Manger, Western Division for Intact Insurance (centre) presents a cheque to Rebekah Humphrey, Mark Muldoon (left) and Graham Kelly (right) of the Threshold Housing Society of Victoria, BC

The BC Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Speaks to Youth Services Providers in Victoria

On November 19, 2013, the BC Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, spoke to an audience of about 100 youth workers from the Victoria Region. The talk took place at the Greek Orthodox Hall on Elk Lake Road. Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s talk focused in on a recent study released by her office entitled Still Waiting: First Hand Experience with Youth Mental Health Services in B.C.

The BC Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, speaks to local youth service providers. To her left is Brian Hill, one of the researchers of the report on youth mental health, and, on the right, is Jennifer Au, an advocate for the RCYBC.

The message of the report is that youth mental health in BC is fractured to the point of being dysfunctional. Many of the promises made by the Ministry of Children and Family Development in their 2003 five year plan, Child and Youth Mental Plan, have been unfulfilled.  Many of the complaints noted in the report where well-known to the service providers in the audience who struggle daily to find mental health resources that actually work for youth.  These complaints include long-wait lists, lack of follow-up with family members or guardians, lack of specialized acute care hospitals for youth with mental health problems. As pointed out in the presentation, while the government may think they have provided services for youth, such services in reality don’t exist or don’t work. If mental health was understood on the same level as we do physical health, as for example with diabetes, we would create a much more friendly footprint of how to access treatment without shame and denial.

THRESHOLD HOUSING SOCIETY RECEIVES A $25,000 GRANT FROM THE HOME DEPOT CANADA FOUNDATION – Grant to support affordable youth housing project in Victoria BC

Victoria BC, Oct 10th, 2013 Threshold Housing Society celebrated a $25,000 grant they received from The Home Depot Canada Foundation for their affordable housing project. The grant is part of the Foundation’s Affordable Housing Grant Program and will be used to upgrade flooring and the bathroom at Holly House

“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the funding generously provided by The Home Depot Canada Foundation,” said Mark Muldoon of Threshold Housing Society, we are very grateful to Home Depot for their generous donation.” “It will make a big difference for the youth coming into our program!”

As part of its commitment to supporting affordable housing and building strong communities for Canadians in need, The Home Depot Canada Foundation launched its Affordable Housing Grant Program in 2009. Through this program, the Foundation provides support to Canadian registered charities completing repair, modification and/or renovation projects to their housing dwellings that benefit youth in need. By the end of 2013, The Home Depot Canada Foundation will have distributed $1,975,000 in grants to 79 community organizations across Canada through this program.

THRESHOLD HOUSING SOCIETY RECEIVES A $25,000 GRANT FROM THE HOME DEPOT CANADA FOUNDATION – Grant to support affordable youth housing project in Victoria BC

Victoria BC, Oct 10th, 2013 Threshold Housing Society celebrated a $25,000 grant they received from The Home Depot Canada Foundation for their affordable housing project. The grant is part of the Foundation’s Affordable Housing Grant Program and will be used to upgrade flooring and the bathroom at Holly House

“This project wouldn’t have been possible without the funding generously provided by The Home Depot Canada Foundation,” said Mark Muldoon of Threshold Housing Society, we are very grateful to Home Depot for their generous donation.” “It will make a big difference for the youth coming into our program!”

As part of its commitment to supporting affordable housing and building strong communities for Canadians in need, The Home Depot Canada Foundation launched its Affordable Housing Grant Program in 2009. Through this program, the Foundation provides support to Canadian registered charities completing repair, modification and/or renovation projects to their housing dwellings that benefit youth in need. By the end of 2013, The Home Depot Canada Foundation will have distributed $1,975,000 in grants to 79 community organizations across Canada through this program.

Support Youth Housing in Greater Victoria: Drop your Loonies into the Quilt Tin or Use a Thrifty’s Smile Card

 

Over the years, one tradition that has taken hold at Threshold surrounds the gift of a hand-stitched quilt given to each young resident who leaves our houses. The program was started by a group of quilters who felt it important that youth in transition have a tangible object that would represent care, hope and the need for a sanctuary.

Lorette Dickson took one year to complete this stunning quilt

Threshold Releases its New 5-Year Strategic Plan

During its 2013 Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors released a 5-Year strategic plan charting Threshold’s path into the future.

At the level of program delivery the plan responds to an overwhelming cry from the community for more youth housing.  As a result, the plan calls for Threshold to supply a total of 50 units of youth supervised housing by 2018.

This plan was formulated after an extensive environmental scan of youth services in the community was undertaken by Board Members.  Over a four month period, Board Members consulted with over two dozen services agencies, including provincial agencies and non-profits, in hopes of understanding better the needs of the community and gaps in services to at-risk youth.

This is the first strategic plan to be tabled by the Board in many years.  It speaks to the changing nature of youth services and the non-profits whose mission it is to assist youth. The plan emphasizes growth in the Western communities of the CRD, namely, Colwood and Langford.  These municipalities are among the fastest growing in BC, if not Canada.  Serving as the bedroom communities of Victoria, social problems like youth in crisis are expected.  In 2012, two reports were released by the West Shore Task Force on Youth Housing calling for the establishment of both youth shelters and transitional housing.

Soroptimist International Victoria Westshore come to aid of young women in need

Soroptimist International is an international organization for business and professional women who volunteer in order to improve the lives of women and girls in their communities and throughout the world.

In June of this year,  Soroptimist International Victoria Westshore  celebrated the grand opening of Anney’s Closet  for young women in need.  For a recent article on this wonderful resource for at-risk young women, read the article from the Times Colonist.

Anney’s Closet will be a free store where young women referred by social agencies can select furniture and household items that will transform their first apartments into functional and comfortable homes.  In accessing Anney’s Closet, young women will not impact their Youth Agreement stipend. This is a much needed resource in the Westshore and congratulations to Anna Harvey for pulling the support of many organizations and funders to make this possible.

Oh!, if you RVSP by June 6th, you are eligible for a $15o gift certificate from Sante Spa at Bear Mountain.  RVSP  anneyscloset@gmail.com

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