Announcement of funding support for youth engagement in the RICHER project

The Rotary Club Arbutus Chapter has joined the partnership with our Social Pediatrics RICHER  team by providing a generous donation of $7000 to support the “Off the Grill” Project at Brittania Teen Centre just off Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. This donation will allow for construction “participatory” meal preparation with the youth by providing a hand washing sink plus a starter of generous healthy food provisions for diverse and nutritious meals.

This approach helps bridge the gap in youth health services for disenfranchised youth by including them in the process.  Eight Rotary Club members joined “Off the Grill” on Wednesday for a meal and conversations with the youth.  The photo shows Davinder Grewal, President of the Arbutus Chapter, presenting a check to Kellie Carroll and Hendrik Hoekema of the Network of Inner City Services Society and Eva Moore, MD, MSPH of BC Children’s Hospital’s Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine. Included are other members from the Rotary Chapter; Britannia Community Services Society board members; Michele Sims, Vancouver Coastal Health Nurse Practitioner; and Zoyah Thayer, medical student.

This Summer, Rotary Club Arbutus Chapter joined up forces with the Social Pediatrics RICHER Initiative to engage at-risk youth in the Grandview Woodland Community on Wednesday.  Since last year, our BCCH RICHER team and their community partners, joined by our Medical Legal Community Partnership (Vancouver Foundation funded) have had grave concerns about inadequate supports for youth congregating in Grandview Woodland area.  The concern reached city-wide attention when a 25 person suicide pact of youth was formed among the vulnerable youth last fall.  Youth workers have struggled to redirect youth to any of the multitude of positive activities that the community offers, to no avail. 

But now the scene has changed.  Three times a week, the “Off the Grill” community food program is engaging youth while also transforming the community space to a positive environment.  Youth volunteers prepare and cook a nutrition meal for their peers and community members.  Youth eat free and adults eat with a $5 donation.  Experienced youth counselors run the program, creating healthy relationships with the youth and a safe space.   Youth focused physicians and nurse practitioners, drug and alcohol counselors, librarians, school support workers, and community art teachers work to build relationships over a common meal.  RICHER clinicians are present weekly to provide on the spot medical consultation for vulnerable youth who rarely seek health care unless in a crisis. Dr. Eva Moore, a BCCH RICHER team member from the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, has been doing outreach to Grandview Woodland since November and she says:.”The food program has made an incredible difference by greater relationship building and more health care access by these highly vulnerable youth”.