Project Reach Out – “The Bus”
Project Reach Out (PRO) is an AWARD WINNING PROGRAM and the first multi-service mobile drop-in centre and outreach program of its kind in British Columbia. An innovative, AFTER-HOURS program, PRO provides services to the five communities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody. There are an estimated 32,000 youth ages 12-23 in the Tri-Cities.
Since its conception, Project Reach Out has made over 30,000 connections with street involved youth.
We recently added more outreach through our MALL-BASED outreach program. This enables us to connect with more youth and haver a greater impact in the community.
There are ‘barriers’ to street involved at-risk youth accessing traditional services. Youth struggle with contemplating change out of their own territory (street involved) into other community supports. In their territory Project Reach Out’s mandate is to identify youth, youth who are involved in at-risk behaviours, or youth who are maybe exploring at-risk behaviours, create connections, relationships, and provide support services. Project Reach Out “shape shifts” to meet the needs of the youth we serve, it does not ask the youth to change who they are to access services. With the use of modified shuttle buss and staffed by a team of adult youth workers, peer mentors and volunteers, Project Reach out travels after-hours to areas of the community where youth naturally congregate – parks, convenience stores, skate board parks, schools, “Hot Spots” etc., and actively seeks out and engages street involved youth.
We engage with youth where they are, strengthening their connection to the community, building relationships, and helping them make positive choices. We are relationship-based first, issue-based second. Project Reach Out is often the first point of contact for many youth struggling with drugs or other issues and provides a safe place for youth to go and talk.
ACCESS understands that changing the nature of engagement with today’s youth is essential, and the importance of relationship building! There are barriers that prevent youth from trusting some traditional services. Research continues to indicate that relationship building is the catalyst to breaking down those barriers and assisting youth in accessing community resources, and reaching their full potential.
Project Reach Out is an innovative product of this reality, taking services to where youth are at, on their turf.
THE BUS DOES NOT TRANSPORT YOUTH.
Staff hands out coupons to reward youth who demonstrate positive behavior in the community. Coupons can be for a free slurpee, swim and skate admissions, pizza slices etc. In an effort to recognize good deeds done by youth in the community, build stronger connections to the community, and to create a sense of belonging, consistent positive actions shown by youth are further acknowledged with an opportunity to win a draw for a t-shirts, skate board, movie passes etc. We have witnessed significant changes in many youth we meet and how they hang out in the community.
- RESUME NIGHTS: On designated nights, the buses offer opportunities for youth to come and get assistance from the bus team in creating resumes's that will assist them in job searching. The bus team will also refer youth to potential job opportunities through our job posting board on the buses.
- COMMUNITY BBQ PROGRAM: Community BBQs are implemented by the bus staff in various areas of the community. This is an opportunity for neighbours to get to know each other, strengthen relationships between neighbours & youth, enjoy a fun evening, and create stronger, healthier and safer communities.
- BASIC NEEDS: Project Reach Out also makes available clothes, food items, blankets, and a warm cup of hot chocolate.
- AND MUCH MORE
- Interact with youth as their friend not as an authority figure.
- Listen to their story and help them figure out what their options are.
- Get to know each youth by their first name.
- Provide youth with health promotion information.
- Develop trust and 'street credibility” so young people feel comfortable seeking help from an outreach worker.
- Hang out, have fun and engage in activities.
- Respect young people in their existing environment.
- Assist youth to access help if youth are struggling with substance use or other issues.
- Provide information for youth on services in the community.
- Assist youth in accessing information on sexuality and safe sex.
- Provide sexual health and substance abuse education presentations.
- Be the bridge for youth when referring to community resources.
- Support youth in being their own agents of change.
- Always let youth know they are valued and cared for members of society.
MODEL: Relationship Based.
Model Key Components: E.A.R.R.
THE BUS TEAM OFFERS ...
- ENGAGE: Meet Youth Where They Are
- ASSESS: Assess each situation in the moment to determine response
- RESPONSE: Brief 1:1 support, crisis/early intervention, drug education, sexual health information, basic needs, and/or referal.
- REFER: Refer youth in need of ongoing support of community resources and/or ACCESS Youth Engagement worker
- Street outreach
- Early/Crisis intervention
- Drug Prevention/education presentations
- Health Promotion presentations
- Brief Assessments
- Job skill support
- Basic needs (cloths, food, blankets, health kits)
- Positive passes
- Weekend Follow Up
- Referrals to community resources, and
- Referrals to ACCESS'S Youth Engaement Worker (YEW) for further one to one assessments and support
... a safe and trusting place to go after-hours.
Bus Hours of Operation?
Friday & Saturday Evenings: 7:00 pm to 12:00 am
Tri-Cities Bus Numbers:
- Bus #1 (604-781-6671)
For more information, please contact the Outreach Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOLLOW THE BUSES ON TWITTER: @accessyos
Each weekend evening, the bus teams will tweet their activity so our twitter followers get a view to the streets and an idea of the work the bus teams do.