Harm Reduction

Abbotsford conference a testament to youths’ capacity: organizers

Conference on harm reduction, mental health, foster system and more organized entirely by youth

An event in Abbotsford may be the Fraser Valley’s first youth-initiated, planned and produced community conference, and event co-ordinators say it’s an indication of the organizing capacity of youth.

The Abbotsford Impact Society’s FLOH (Foster System, Life Promotion, Opioid Dialogue, Harm reduction/Homelessness) program, created and organized by 10 Fraser Valley youths, began talking about holding a conference late last year and successfully applied for funding for the event.

The event was sold out by early this week, but another 30 spaces were added to the event.

RELATED: Bonds formed on Abbotsford’s front lines of homelessness

The Balancing Our Minds Summit, which will be held on Feb. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford, will include keynote and panel sessions, as well as two breakout sessions of four dialogues on topics, including leadership, personality/borderline disorders, naloxone/opioid dialogue, destructive tendencies, domestic abuse and recovery, gender fluidity, the foster system and lateral violence.

“The conference is actually quite spectacular because the funding opportunity was sent to me about a week and a half before the deadline was up, so in that week and a half our youth planned an entire conference, confirmed at least 7 different schools to let their students come, and confirmed almost every speaker at the conference (about 25 people),” said Marcie Pruden, regional youth FLOHcilitator in an email.

“If that doesn’t prove the amount of capacity youth have when they’re given opportunities to thrive, I don’t know what will.”

Organizers hope to get contributions from all areas of expertise, from lived experience of families and youths to professional experience, but Pruden said the main target is youth, “to not only give youth a chance to listen, but to also give opportunity to share.”

“This event is important because its letting youth stretch, grow, and take healthy risks, but more importantly, it’s giving them trust and respect,” Pruden said.

“We are hoping other youth see this conference as an opportunity to learn that they are all capable of creating something like this. We are also hoping our group discussions helps normalize, and even celebrate the topics we cover.”

Find more of our coverage on the overdose crisis here.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man sentenced for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

Developers to unveil plan to transform Aldergrove mall into new town centre

Community to find out new Aldergrove Town Centre plan for dormant 10-acre lot in heart of downtown.

Tensions mount over Abbotsford homeless camp removals amid cold snap

City calls camp removals a safety issue, advocates say actions risk health and safety of homeless

Abbotsford mom calls on PM to help bring home kids abducted to Lebanon

Shelley Beyak says her two children are Canadian citizens and should be protected

Honeybee farmers hope science can allow hives to thrive

Pesticides and globalization has threatened the 21st Century existence of honeybees

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

OPINION: Province to blame for lack of Highway 1 widening

“What’s the delay? The answer: the current provincial government” Abbotsford chamber president writes

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read