Connected by 25 is a 2014 winner of Eva’s Awards for Ending Youth Homelessness and is a great prevention program model.
“This program works. More people are coming down with the same symptoms, more people like me can have success, a helping hand to push them to the next steps, a better future, not just their issues…CB25 is like a step by step introduction to becoming independent. The Navigator was patient. That’s really hard to find” – Program Participant, 19
Connected by 25 is a collaborative project designed to meet the needs of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the Central Okanagan that are vulnerable in their transition to adulthood. The project seeks to build capacity within the community to ensure that young people at risk of falling through the cracks in their transition to adulthood have access to the services they require. It further serves to build capacity in youth themselves by offering the relational, emotional, and material supports they need. By building community connections and natural support networks, young people will experience an increase in their sense of belonging, increasing their resiliency, while mitigating risk factors in their lives.
The target population for Connected by 25 is young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in the Central Okanagan who are vulnerable to mental health and/or substance use problems and face risks in their transition to adulthood.
This group includes, but is not limited to: Young people in care or on a youth agreement, those experiencing unstable living environments, Aboriginal youth, youth with learning disabilities, substance involved/dependent youth, and young people recovering from mental health and/or substance use disorders and FASD.
Youth Transitions Navigator
The project incorporates a dedicated a full-time Youth Transitions Navigator who works directly with young people between 16 and 24 years of age, providing them with direct supports and assistance in achieving a successful transition to adulthood. This includes one-to-one support, systems navigation, life skills development and strengthening connections to community and natural supports. The Youth Transitions Navigator plays an essential and much needed role in bridging the gap between youth and adult service delivery systems, providing continuity in service for young people that are at-risk of “falling through the cracks” in their transition from one system to another. The Youth Transitions Navigator stays involved with young people past their 19th birthday to ensure that the necessary supports and connections are in place to facilitate their successful transition to adulthood.
Project Lead & Community Capacity Coordinator
A part-time Community Capacity Coordinator works with community based, non-profit and government organizations to enhance collaboration, streamline service processes and build community capacity in supporting transitions for young people. This may include the development of transition planning protocols between organizations, increased awareness and education around services available to young people past their 19th birthday, systemic advocacy and reform related to the target population, and any other outstanding issues in this area.
CMHA Kelowna is the project lead for Connected by 25, and the following organizations have come together to partner for this project:
- The Bridge Youth and Family Services
- Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD)
- IHA Mental Health and Substance Use Services
- B.C. Housing
Navigation Supports and Services
Examples of Youth Navigator Activities Include:
- Assisting young people to navigate systems of care: These can include services such as mental health,
- addictions counselling, health care, etc…
- Housing support: Assisting young people to develop the skills and connections to find and maintain
- affordable, safe, and stable housing
- Income support: Assisting young people in accessing income supports that they are eligible for (i.e.
- income assistance, PWD, etc…)
- Individualized client-driven support: Providing one-on-one support for client-defined goals
- Life skills development: Money management, banking support, grocery shopping, meal preparation,
- self-advocacy skills, and more
- Employment and education support: Investigating and assisting with educational and vocational
- supports and services
- Social connection support: Helping young people to get involved in leisure, recreational, spiritual, and
- cultural activities and engage them in the community to develop natural support networks
- Community contribution: Recognize and enhance young people’s skills by connecting them with
- community volunteer activities.
- Access to primary health care providers and support-many young people from the target population
- have no access to a GP
For more information on Connected by 25, please feel free to contact: Mike Gawliuk, Project Lead (250-861-3644 firstname.lastname@example.org)