The United Way of South Island has stepped up to support Take A Hike in Sooke.
Take A Hike aims to change the trajectory of youth experiencing vulnerability through a program that provides full-time support for mental health and emotional well-being, embedded in an alternate education classroom.
The United Way of South Island announced that it will provide $20,000 for Take A Hike in Saanich, and for a program in Sooke which will begin this fall.
Gordon Matchett, chief operating officer for Take A Hike, said in a media release that the funding from United Way will allow the program to continue supporting youth in the South Island area, and will bring the organization closer to opening in Sooke this fall.
“This funding will provide crucial mental health and well-being support to youth within South Island communities and will ensure Take A Hike’s impacts can make a difference in the lives of Island youth,” he said. “We are grateful for the support United Way South Island has provided for our South Island programs in Sooke and Saanich.”
The funding will ensure youth receive the mental health supports they need to achieve success however they define it, Matchett added.
According to Matchett, impacts noted through the program include 70 per cent of youth reporting improvements in their mental health and well-being, despite the ongoing pandemic.
More than 80 per cent of youth reported an increase in resilience and personal competence, particularly within self-management, relationship skills, and understanding their emotions, with a program graduation rate of 93 per cent.
“United Way Southern Vancouver Island addresses the social challenges brought forward by our community with local solutions, focusing on the areas of greatest need,” said Mark Breslauer, chief operating officer for United Way Southern Vancouver Island. “Given the increased demand for mental health services on Southern Vancouver Island, we are delighted to support initiatives like Take A Hike that provide young people with crucial access to support and helping them change their lives for the better.”
Take A Hike began with one program in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith region in 2019 before launching a pilot program in Duncan shortly in response to community demand. Additional programs have opened since then in Saanich and Cowichan. For more information, visit takeahikefoundation.org.