New youth programs

The Fireweed Collective Society has received a substantial grant to begin developing and implementing youth programs.

The Fireweed Collective Society has received a substantial grant to begin developing and implementing youth programs.

The group will receive $197,000 from the Community Action Initiative to implement programs for youth in the community between the ages of 16 and 25. The funding is part of Canadian Mental Health’s 10-year plan for mental health and substance use.

The grant is the second phase of a grant the group received to study and develop a plan and partnerships to receive this additional funding to further develop and implement the programs.

Fireweed is looking at the programs from a cooperative/collaborative approach which will utilize various groups in the community offering different opportunities for youth.

“One of the main things is just to bring everybody to the table,” said Brandi Hanterman, director of the Fireweed Collective.

They are partnering with Nak’azdli Health, Northern Health, Mental Health and Addictions, the Fort St. James Farmer’s Market Society, Stuart Lake Public Health Unit, the College of New Caledonia, Nechako Valley Family Services, and Tl’azt’en Nation.

The program will be varied and will involve lots of different types of programs and activities.

“It’s huge,” said Hanterman. “There’s so many different aspects to it, it’s hard to narrow in on any one thing.”

There will be after-school study groups, recreation programs, and they hope to form a youth council some of whom may get to go to a conference on leadership.

There will also be a food component to the program, working with the farmer’s market to hopefully start a garden the students can run to create a connection to the food they eat and where it’s coming from.

But nothing is set in stone.

“The nice thing about this grant is it’s fairly organic,” said Hanterman.

The funding will include the hiring of a coordinator for two years, and hopefully there will be opportunities to apply for further funding to keep the programs going indefinitely.

“This is a really exciting grant,” said Hanterman. “I think it’s important to involve the youth within as many different levels within our community.”

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