Peer support workers Nyachol and Jenni celebrated Pride Month at Foundry Abbotsford in June. The agency recently celebrated its second anniversary. (Submitted photo)

Peer support workers Nyachol and Jenni celebrated Pride Month at Foundry Abbotsford in June. The agency recently celebrated its second anniversary. (Submitted photo)

Foundry Abbotsford celebrates two years of service

Agency provides support to youth ages 12 to 24 and their families

Foundry Abbotsford celebrated its second year in operation with a virtual bingo event on June 19.

The agency provides youth ages 12 to 24 and their families with integrated wellness services, such as physical and mental health care, substance use supports, social services, and youth and family peer supports.

It is one of nine sites currently operating in B.C., with another eight announced to open.

Since officially opening in June 2018 on Simon Avenue, the Abbotsford location – operated by Archway Community Services – has served more than 2,500 youth who made over 11,000 visits and accessed 19,500 services.

Simone Maassen, manager of youth services at Archway, said the number of visits increased 50 per cent over the first year of operation while the number of unique youth went down, showing youth are highly engaged and returning for a variety of services.

“The amount of young people coming each month clearly demonstrates how much our community needed and continues to need a Foundry,” she said.

“Foundry has been a game-changer for youth and especially young adults wanting to address their mental and physical health.”

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During COVID, Foundry shifted its counselling and peer support services to online or phone sessions.

Recreational groups shifted to an online format as well, including group exercise like yoga, a Harry Potter book club and the Life Hacks group.

The Foundry Youth Health Clinic has stayed open to provide primary care with enhanced safety measures in place.

“It has been a great two years. Foundry Abbotsford, along with our clients, has grown in so many ways. In recent months, with the emergence of COVID-19, we have been stretched and our learning has been the greatest,” said Laurel Jarvis, the Foundry service delivery coordinator.

“I am proud of our staff, partners and clients for how quickly everyone adapted to virtual care. We look forward to the days when we can, once again, see clients face to face. Until then, we continue to adapt to the new normal and do our best to provide the best possible services to our clients. “

The centre brings together a variety of organizations, including Fraser Health, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and other community partners.

For youth and families not living near a Foundry centre, Foundry recently launched a new province-wide virtual service accessible by voice, video and chat for young people ages 12 to 24 and their caregivers in British Columbia.

Foundry’s virtual services include drop-in counselling, peer support and family support, and will soon include primary care.

Foundry Abbotsford continues to fundraise in order to run at full capacity and increase the number of youth it can serve. Visit Archway.ca/donate/foundry/ for more information.

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