Youth Ambassador program launch

MPP Michael Chan recently announced three significant Ontario Trillium Foundation grants that will strengthen the capacity of Social Services Network (SSN) to deliver important programs that support youth and seniors.

With an investment of a $75,000 seed grant from the Foundation last summer to develop the Youth Ambassador Program, the program will now be addressing the increased rate of suicides among South Asian youth.

“This Ontario Trillium Foundation Seed grant is an important first step that will help build a culturally sensitive program to reach out and support youth who are coping with mental health
challenges in our community,” said Markham-Unionville MPP Michael Chan. “I commend Social Services Network, in partnership with Punjabi Community Health Services, for their initiative and leadership that will contribute to bright futures and a healthier York Region.”

Chan also announced two additional Ontario Trillium Foundation grants awarded to SSN:

▪ A grow grant for $488,900 over 36 months awarded in November 2017 to expand on a social isolation reduction program enabling more Markham-area seniors to participate in activities.

▪ A capital grant for $123,300 over 12 months awarded in March 2018 to expand a multi-purpose community space and purchase new furniture and computers.

The Youth Ambassador Program is being coordinated by the Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS) in partnership with SSN and takes place at SSN’s location at 8 Shadlock Street, Unit 5A, Markham.

SSN has been engaging people to determine the mental health needs of the community. Through conversation with PCHS, a leader in providing mental health services to South Asians in Peel, it has been determined that the culturally appropriate and holistic service delivery model would be a good fit. Youth between the ages of 15-24 will be encouraged to get involved as Youth Ambassadors, receiving training in the program’s monthly psycho-educational support to create a first line response for youth and their families.

This project aims to reduce the number of youth committing suicide and provide a safe space for them and their families to seek help. Multi-generational families are eligible to participate in
the family activities without restriction. The Ambassadors will be equipped with the tools to actively listen and make referrals to appropriate services for youth and their families.

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