Since opening its doors in 2017, Foundry Kelowna has fundamentally changed the way we serve youth in our community who need help.
While there have been more than 1,600 youth who have accessed Foundry Kelowna services in the past year alone, we know there are young people who are still unable to do so. Whether it is because of transportation or financial challenges, or perhaps barriers due to stigma, there are youth who have not been able to get the help they need.
Finding the right supports should not be a difficult endeavour for young people. This gap in accessibility is exactly the need that Foundry Kelowna’s Mobile Health Unit will help to address so we can continue our best efforts to eliminate the barriers that are preventing the youth in the Central Okanagan from thriving.
The vision for the Foundry Kelowna Mobile Health & Wellness Unit is to provide primary care, mental health counselling and youth navigation/peer support services to young people between the ages of 12-24 in West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Lake Country. The mobile unit will provide a safe entry to the broader integrated services at Foundry Kelowna as well as a point of connection to other youth services within each community.
We are focusing on doing this right. We have consulted over 100 young people between the ages of 12-24 from across the Central Okanagan to understand what might prevent accessibility to health and social services particularly in under-represented demographics.
These engagement groups included representation from:
- Foundry Kelowna Youth Advisory and Action Committee
- ARC Programs
- Boys and Girls Club Downtown Drop-in Centre
- The Bridge Youth & Family Services Youth Detox 33
- Central School
- George Elliot Secondary School
- Interior Health
- Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society
- Lake Country Native Association
- Mount Boucherie Secondary School
- Rutland Senior Secondary School
- Westbank First Nations
- Westside Youth Center
Because of these more than 20 youth engagement sessions, we have been able to take young people’s recommendations to help us model the services, the design and the purpose of this mobile unit. From inception to launch, we have worked alongside youth with lived experience to inform us every step of the way and to ensure we are truly providing the help young people need.
Thanks to the support of a Province of BC Capital Gaming grant, a private donor to the Foundry network and local corporate, individual and special event donors, we are able to launch this first of its kind in BC, mobile health unit for youth. It is our hope to have this mobile version of Foundry Kelowna on the road and running later this summer.
How You Can Help
Providing mobile mental health and health care services to youth where they are – in their space – is a significant undertaking.
We are collaborating with partner organizations in West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Lake Country for service delivery and we are seeking operational partners to support the ongoing care and maintenance of the vehicle.
We are also making sure we have the financial resources we need to provide a sustainable and reliable opportunity for youth to have safe, non-judgemental care and support.
100% funded by donations and grants, we are inviting you to support mobile health for young people across the Central Okanagan – where, when and how they need it.
For more information on how you can impact the mental health of youth in our community contact Shari Slattery (Fund Development Manager, CMHA Kelowna)