We have supplied a $12,845 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to Dan’s Legacy, which is being used to support the addition of a Social Worker to the team. This investment will help meet the increased demand for mental health support for youth at risk.
Left to right: Linda Annis, Christine Buttkus, Tom Littlewood, Barbara Coates
Dan’s Legacy provides therapeutic counselling and life-skills intervention programs to youth affected by trauma-based mental health and addiction issues. This includes educating their youth on how the body works and why healthy diet, exercise, and overall holistic health is important. In the past four years, Dan’s Legacy has helped over 300 youth meet their educational, housing and recovery goals.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected many social workers’ ability to see clients directly as most are following work-from-home safety directives. Dan’s Legacy’s counsellors were spending approximately 30% of their time providing critical social work support to their clients, reducing the amount of time they had available to provide therapy. The new Social Worker on the team supports the counsellors, freeing them to focus exclusively on providing no-barrier, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive therapy to youth at risk seeking mental health support.
“We’re so grateful for the continued support of our friends at SurreyCares during the second round of the Emergency Community Support Fund,” says Barbara Coates, Dan’s Legacy’s executive director. “The addition of a Social Worker to our team is a strategic investment, ensuring we can best support youth at risk in the community. Trauma counselling is most effective when the youth are fully supported by wrap-around programs, and this is where our Social Worker can help bridge the current gap in services.”
The COVID-19 crisis has increased mental health and food security issues with youth at risk, many of whom are struggling with psychosis, depression, anxiety, and self-medicating to suppress the pain. As many of these youth are homeless and hungry, they are particularly susceptible to diseases such as COVID-19. Therefore, it is critical to allocate a portion of this funding to support vulnerable youth in our community in any way necessary.
“The social worker we were able to add to our team is a proud Indigenous woman from Manitoba who recently moved to Vancouver,” explained Tom Littlewood, Director and Lead Therapist at Dan’s Legacy. “Within the short time she's been with us she has made a major impact, especially for our Indigenous youth. She radiates a motherly essence and is someone the youth are able to relate to. It is incredibly important for organizations to have a team that represents the people
This grant is made possible through the Government of Canada's $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, which saw over $900,000 allocated to SurreyCares in its first round and now, over $575,000 in the second round.
Christine Buttkus, the Executive Director of SurreyCares explains, “During the pandemic, vulnerable youth are experiencing increased barriers in accessing mental health programs. Therefore, we needed to make sure funding is going to organizations who support youth at risk, such as Dan’s Legacy. COVID-19 has been challenging our community in many ways, and Surrey has worked hard to pull through to support those in need.”
Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.