Kids getting a little extra support

A unique summer program for teens in Chilliwack shows there’s a correlation between positive reinforcement and success.

A unique summer program for teens in Chilliwack shows there’s a correlation between positive reinforcement and success.

The Youth Extra Support (YES) program meshes work experience and skills development, with mentoring and counselling, recreation, and community service.

For local youth who didn’t manage to land a summer job or get registered in a summer day camp, YES has become a structured and valuable program, developed by Ann Davis Transition Society staff.

It’s heading into its fifth year of operation with a solid track record.

“For many of the kids it’s their first experience with positive feedback,” says YES program coordinator Steve Andrews, a child and youth counsellor for ADTS.

“Giving them individualized feedback at the end of the day seems to make a huge difference.”

Recreation and community service are key components and the activities are also learning experiences.

A typical day will see the group starting out at the Ann Davis offices on Young Road for about an hour of skills development in a classroom-like setting.

Then they’ll head out and do a couple of hours of community service work like painting, landscaping, trail-building or walking dogs for example.

Thursday afternoon the kids were helping out at the Chilliwack Community Garden, which is being developed on Wells Road by Food Matters Chilliwack and Chilliwack Society for Community Living.

The garden plot has been plowed and the YES team was helping prepare the lumber to make a series of raised vegetable beds at the site.

But just like in the real working world, if they’re going to be late one morning or too sick to come in, they have to phone in.

“But if they have a bad day and head home a little early, when they come back the next day we tell them it’s fantastic they’ve returned.”

This year Chilliwack school district officials are allowing YES participants to put their work experience hours toward the 30-hour requirement in order to graduate from high school.

The program is for 13- to 17-year-olds who may be struggling in some areas, and it helps them fill in the gaps over the summer holidays.

“They experience personal growth in this program because we ask them to set goals. For some it’s just arriving on time regularly.

“For others it may be becoming work-ready or getting work experience, so we’ll talk about interview skills and stress management.”

YES was made possible this summer with a $15,000 grant from Coast Capital’s Community Investment fund.

Two groups of about a dozen kids each are signed up for three week sessions in July and then in August.

“Sometimes kids return and go on to become junior leaders. They end up setting the standard for the others in the group.”

A good attitude goes a long way.

“I always tell the kids they can make things fun or miserable. It’s their choice.”

They are also acquiring life skills, which helps along the way to make them employment ready. The elements of resume writing and interview role-playing are practised.

“They’re moving toward more positive social behaviour at the same time.”

At the end the program they all receive a written letter of reference for their future studies and career searches.

Plus they get some spending money for their diligent efforts.

“Each youth is paid $25 a week for their volunteer work. That’s a big attraction for many of the kids. We treat it like a pay cheque. There’s a real sense of pride in earning and receiving a cheque. It works really well.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

VIDEO: Bloodhounds join the search for missing Chilliwack woman

Petsearchers Canada arrive in town Monday afternoon to help out

‘No little nook and cranny that’s too small’ in search for Chilliwack woman, say RCMP

Residents urged by police to assist in search for Grace Baranyk by checking property thoroughly

Search continues for missing elderly woman in Chilliwack

RCMP, Chilliwack Search and Rescue and community members combing area for Grace Baranyk

Big Chill a hot event in Langley

Flight Museum holds “ask the pilot panel” and demos flights for young pilots over the weekend

VIDEO: Hiker airlifted from Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park Sunday

Park east of Chilliwack popular with tourist and B.C. residents who walk up to the falls

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read