South Island Centre’s youth counsellor Jenny Schoenberger and fundraising manager Greg Cummings rock out with kids props in the centre’s youth and children counselling room. The non-profit South Island Centre is hosting its biggest fundraiser of the year, the fifth annual South Island Centre Gala at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19. The gala features local teen rock band Tuesday’s Roadkill. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Demand for youth, child counselling spikes in Victoria

Oak Bay gala a crucial support for youth counselling

They saw a demand for youth counselling, created a dedicated program, and now the non-profit South Island Centre for Counselling and Training can’t keep up with the wait list.

Recognizing the need to increase the number of minors seen, the centre created its Children and Youth program in 2016.

Since then, Telus also stepped up with a $20,000 grant, and it’s all been a shot in the arm, says South Island Centre spokesperson Greg Cummings. The centre is now gearing up for its annual fundraising event, the South Island Centre Gala at Oak Bay Beach Hotel on Oct. 19, its biggest fundraiser of the year.

“The goal with children and youth counselling is to identify and work out problems or issues before they become severe,” Cummings said.

READ MORE: Big bash in works for little known counselling centre

Since 2016, with the launch of its Children and Youth (CAY) program, more than 100 young clients have received counselling at the centre, from just three CAY counsellors. An additional 1,500 people — family, friends, extended family, peers, teachers — were positively impacted by the mental health support provided to these young clients.

The centre’s focus on youth is in line with the province’s Pathway to Hope, a 10-year vision for mental health and addictions care that gets people the services they need early on.

Exactly one year ago, the South Island Centre brought in Jenny Schoenberger as a specialized child and youth counsellor. In that time she has worked with 29 children and youth, around 38 parent and guardians, and three independent adults, with a current caseload of 26 minors. She is one of two full time, and one part time staff, that work with youth, compared to previously, when there was only a few minors seen through the centre.

“I work through a family system perspective which basically means everyone in a family affects one another — children affect parents and parents affect children — so while most of my work happens one-on-one with children and youth, I often meet parents one-on-one, and sometimes bring parents into a child or youth’s session,” Schoenberger said.

The work means collaborating with school teachers, social workers, and other key people in the lives of the children and youths she sees.

Not all of Schoenberger’s youth clients are shy, in fact, three of them are taking the stage to perform on stage at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

“One is 7 and she will sing, and another is 14 and will perform her own song,” Schoenberger said.

The third youth is a 10-year-old boy who already has a budding YouTube presence and will take that experience to the stage.

Local teenage band Tuesday’s Roadkill will perform a set and the evening will also feature a keynote delivery by Jon Williams, disc jockey at the Zone 91.3FM, sharing his struggles with mental health early on.

In the past the gala fundraiser has hit $10,000, Cummings is aiming higher.

So far the silent auction features an Oak Bay Beach Hotel stay and spa package, with more items coming in.

“This is about giving back to youth, and bridging the gap in Victoria’s mental health services,” Cummings said.

South Island Centre’s fifth annual fundraising gala at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Visit Southislandcentre.ca/gala to purchase tickets or for more information.

The South Island Centre started in 1986 and relocated from downtown in 1995 to its current home on the grounds of St. Luke’s Cedar Hill Anglican Church (3821A Cedar Hill Cross Rd.) in Saanich.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

Oak Bay clinic opens virtual classes to public for fundraiser

Patient activity is up for cancer-supporting clinic during COVID-19 crisis

Black bear sighting reported on UVic campus

University urging residents in the area to be careful

National Doughnut Day pays tribute to those on frontlines of First World War

The Salvation Army will be handing out doughnuts to community partners on Friday

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Most Read