By David F. Rooney
School District 19 trustees started their first meeting of 2016 with an update on the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Abuse Collaborative Project by Social Development Coordinator Jill Zacharias (center) and project leader Jewelles Smith (center left).
The project is aimed at increasing the number of children and families receiving timely access to “integrated mental health and substance abuse services” in a practical and realistic way.
At the Wednesday, January 13, meeting Zacharias said collaboration between the School District, the Canadian Mental Health Association, local physicians, Okanagan College and other agencies “as been absolutely crucial” to the project’s success. Towards that end, experts have been brought in to speak to local teachers, parents and students, Smith said.
Activities and events encouraged and/or sponsored, at least in part, by the project include: a 2012 Mental Health First Aid Course at Okanagan College; a series of workshops for teachers and parents entitled Knowledge is Power held 2012-15 in conjunction with the CMHA; Your Drug Surveys held in 2013 and 2014, Dissolve Theatre’s date rape drug presentation at RSS in 2014; the Revelstoke Theatre Company’s production of Dog Sees God in 2014; the Safe Spaces initiative; and much, much more.
“We’re exploring a number of other avenues, as well,” she said, adding that one of them could be a “Youth Hub” or centre where youth could congregate and feel safe. That particular project will require funding in order to become a reality.
Also of interest at the meeting was an update on the surplus schools’ situation. Superintendent Mike Hooker told the Trustees that the district is planning a public information meeting to gather public feedback on the redevelopment of the Mount Begbie Elementary School site. A date and time has not yet been set for that. This will likely be of fairly broad interest as redeveloping that surplus school is havign an effect on the non-profit organizations that had used its space. The Army Cadets, for instance, had occupied space in the old classrooms but have to be out of there in the next month or so and need a new home for their offices, training space and small museum.
Please activate the YouTube player below to watch Jill and Jewelles’ 18-minute presentation to the School Board starting at the two-minute mark. Superintendent Mike Hooker’s regular Administration Report to the Board begins at the 20-minute mark: