“Central City Foundation trusted us that we would know what was going to work for young people.”
Alex Dykstra sees youth from all backgrounds and situations come through the doors of the Day, Evening, Weekend Youth (DEWY) drop-in centre in Coquitlam. Some are dealing with homelessness, precarious living situations or complex family dynamics, but all are trying to find ways to overcome addiction and better manage their mental health.
“One of the primary reasons youth will turn to substances is because they are trying to cope,” says Dykstra. “It is so often them trying to feel better or not feel lonely or depressed. It is also a means to fit in and belong.”
The DEWY Program is an intensive group program that focuses on mindfulness and relapse management for youth 13-18 years old. The program works on everything from developing coping skills, recognizing triggers and cravings, communication, boundary setting or recovery goals. Essentially the program helps youth work through their own substance use and mental health issues.
Youth are not immune to the current opioid crisis that claimed more than 1,000 lives in BC in 2017, which is why investing in programs like DEWY is more essential than ever. Our donors helped fund the renovation of DEWY North’s new location in Coquitlam to make the space more accessible, warm and welcoming to youth needing a place to belong.
The program needed to relocate due to problems with their previous space. Moving and renovations were not in the budget and without funding from Central City Foundation (CCF) donors, the new space would not be as clean, welcoming and youth friendly as it is today.
The DEWY Program is operated by the Pacific Community Resource Society (PCRS), which also operates Ashnola at the Crossing in Keremeos – a social purpose real estate property owned by CCF and provided for this youth treatment program at no cost.
The relationship between CCF and PCRS goes back over 15 years when the two organizations teamed up with a vocal parent group called From Grief to Action to lobby the government to fund youth addiction services. The partnership was a success and our relationship with PCRS continues to grow.
“The space we work in shows that we value the people who we serve, and the people who serve,” said Ingrid Kastens, Executive Director of PCRS. “Every time we’ve been able to move to a better space it has improved both our numbers coming through the door and our attendance.”
“For young people struggling with addiction, it’s not a quick fix, which means we’re here for the journey. We’re able to help more young people because they feel welcome in this space and we’re able to have a greater impact because they actually want to come back.”
Dykstra sees the impact the space makes on the youth that he serves. They feel comfortable hanging out, creating and connecting with him and their peers. The added benefit is that the space is also more welcoming for him and his colleagues.
“I love the new DEWY North,” said Dykstra. “I love our space and I love our location and I get to come to a place that is well designed for the work that we do so I can focus on what is important, which is the youth.”
Join us in our mission to support programs for youth by becoming a Central City Foundation donor.