Grant awarded to Abbotsford Youth Health Centre

Program provides health care for young people ages 12 to 24 two days a week

The Abbotsford Youth Health Centre (AYHC) has received a $10,000 grant from the Oak Tree Foundation, enabling it to keeps its doors open through the fall.

The AYHC currently operates out of Abbotsford Regional Hospital, but funding has been a struggle, said Brian Gross, an AYHC co-chair and executive director at Impact Youth Substance Abuse Services.

“We’re still in urgent need of funds. We’re running on nearly 60 per cent volunteer time, which isn’t sustainable over the long term,” he said.

The AYHC began operating out of the hospital in November 2010, offering services for young people ages 12 to 24 every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m.

One of those two days will move to Bakerview Learning Centre in September.

The centre is staffed by a physician, who sees young people with everything from basic health concerns such as colds and coughs to more serious issues such as depression and substance use.

Many of the youths are not comfortable approaching their parents with their health concerns, or they do not have a family doctor.

Fraser Health pays a doctor for one of the days, while the Ministry of Children and Family Development pays for the other.

“For Fraser Health, there couldn’t be a better model than one that enables and encourages youth to actively seek help for their problems before they reach crisis points and end up in the ER,” said David Portesi, Fraser Health public health director.

The latest grant from the Oak Tree Foundation is overseen by the Redekop family. A member of the family, Joanne Hamm, volunteers as the AYHC’s “nurse navigator” and helps co-ordinate the advocacy support workers.

For more information about the AYHC or to make a donation, visit ayhc.ca.