Breanna Longden

Program helps build Mission youth’s confidence

Breanna Longden spent 13 weeks in the Youth Keep Working program

Crossing a vast expanse might not seem like a hard thing unless you’re 33 feet off the ground and your footholds are nothing more than a series of wooden slats suspended by rope.

As Mission’s Breanna Longden watched her peers making their way across the bosun’s steps she was sure she would never be able to do it.

Longden was taking part in a team-building day at Camp Squeah, in Hope last month as part of Youth Keep Working (YKW), an employment program for youth with multiple barriers to employment, funded by the federal government.

The day included several activities that required the seven participants to challenge themselves individually and to work together as a team. The high ropes course proved to be the biggest challenge for Longden.

“It was way beyond my boundaries,” she recalls, but by the end of the day, she conquered the bosun’s steps and much more. “Once I was up there, I didn’t want to disappoint myself or the others.”

YKW is offered through Agora Employment Essentials Inc. in Abbotsford (a company wholly owned by Mennonite Central Committee BC to deliver its employment programs) and provides life and employability skills training to youth, assisting them to connect them with paid employment or return to school.

Program facilitator Cherie Lynn Wagar says that experiences like the team-building day at Camp Squeah are essential to the program because of the confidence and trust that are built.

“This group becomes like a family,” she says, explaining that they are together six hours a day, five days a week, for 13 weeks. “It’s important for the group to learn to trust each other, encourage each other and learn that they actually have the power to go beyond do what they thought they could do.”

Activities teach them problem solving, leadership skills, and the ability to work with others — all skills that will be valuable in life and to any future employer. YKW participants also learn how to write resumes, cover letters and conduct a job search. Another unique component of the program is time spent in a community service project in which they learn valuable workplace skills while working together on a project that benefits a local community organization.

For Longden, the whole program has been life-changing.

She began shy, unsure and dependent on others and has grown to be confident and independent. When faced with getting from Mission to Abbotsford every day, she decided to start using the bus pass she’d been given through the YKW program — something she’d never have done before. Now she commutes by bus every day.

“The process of doing it gave me the confidence to see that I actually could do it,” she says.

To learn more about Youth Keep Working, visit findingyourway.ca or contact Cherie Lynn Wagar at 604 859 6790 ext 316 or e-mail [email protected]

Just Posted

Publication ban on Letisha Reimer’s name lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by The News to lift ban

Ten banners chosen to hang from Abbotsford light standards

Public voted on dozens of created as part of a collaboration between the city and The Reach

Group protests alleged mistreatment of birds at Abbotsford petting zoo

Rally ended on a hopeful note, with the owner of the farm working with the protest group

Abbotsford and Mission homes are sparkling for the holidays

Local homes are all aglow with Christmas light displays

Double-lung transplant a success for Abbotsford girl, 12

Surgery performed Sunday in Toronto for Autumn Carlson

VIDEO: Abbotsford Police City Basketball Tournament

Highlights from the senior girls final featuring Yale vs. Bateman

Story of the Year:: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Stricter drunk driving laws to take effect across Canada today

It gives police officers the right to ask for a breath sample from any driver they lawfully stop

Winter storm warning issued for Coquihalla highway

Total snow accumulations of 40-50 cm expected by Wednesday

The prize was wrong: Man turns down trip to Manitoba

A New Hampshire man won the prize on “The Price is Right”, but turned it down because the taxes were too high

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

Watchdog called after man says Coquitlam cop shut car door on his leg

The Independent Investigations Office is probing an incident that occurred in Coquitlam last weekend

Most Read