Spotlight – Child, Youth, and Family Services

Located across a range of sites, Child, Youth and Family Services of SSICS represents a broad array of programs and services well integrating into the community.  Locations include the Main Building at 268 Fulford-Ganges, The Core-Inn Youth Drop-In and Youth Services at 134 McPhillips Ave, Family Place on Park Drive, GISS, Outer Gulf Islands, RCMP Dispatch and through Outreach Services across the island in other settings.

Our Community Counsellor Jacinda Duque, whose position is funded by the Ministry of Health, works out of the Main Building providing one-to-one supportive counselling to adults 19+ who may experience multiple barriers accessing other mental health and addictions services. Jacinda brings a curious and deeply compassionate presence to this role, critically supporting the most marginalized members of our community and able to provide additional resources such as food cards, bus tickets, child minding, and vocational supports.

The Core-Inn Youth Drop-In provides after school recreation to youth 11-18 years old. Headed by Bryan Dubien, activities such as karate, disc golf, basketball, music, movie nights and games are offered with plans to expand into a youth café.

Our Youth Outreach worker, Trish Nobile provides a range of helping services to youth who are disconnected from healthy social supports and may be resistant to seeking help. Trish is particularly skilled at crisis intervention, support and advocacy, employment readiness training, and life skill building.

Shae Houston is our Youth and Family Substance Use Counsellor doing outreach at the local alternate school twice per week, attending the Youth Drop-In in an outreach capacity, creating new and strengthening old community connections, and planning psychoeducational groups, all while maintaining a caseload of counselling clients.

One of our two Child and Youth Mental Health (CYMH) Clinicians is Luis Araujo. Providing assessment, clinical counselling, and treatment planning for mental health concerns, Luis is passionate and energetic, bringing a wealth of experience to his practice. Through his drive and leadership, he’s also developed a thriving youth group that now has two additional mentors, Natu Mbanefo and Juli Mallett, the latter of whom has become a practicum student on our youth counselling team. We are thrilled to have them both!

Family Place is the home of our second Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician, Michael Birkett who, in addition to providing individual counselling services, is also a skilled and committed family counsellor. Providing this critical service to the community, he has helped numerous families navigate complex mental health situations and resource systems.

We recently welcomed Karla Loor as our new Child and Youth with Support Needs Program Coordinator. Warm and engaging, she is working to develop and provide this much needed group program, which will expand on our existing one-to-one supports currently provided by John Herbert.

One of our two Family Development Workers, Maryanne Benwood, works out of Family Place. Maryanne brings years of experience to her position supporting families through separation and divorce, relationship challenges, and parental support individually and in groups.

Our second Family Development worker, Ali Stark, services the Outer Gulf islands. Previously a social worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ali brings a wealth of experience and education to this position.

Our Family Place Coordinator, Hannah Kahane, liaises with other Family Place staff to organize groups as well as running programs for families with children from prenatal to six years old. Currently she runs the Community Kitchen, Mother’s Wellness, Mother Goose, Dad n Me breakfasts, and supports doula Angela Flegel to provide prenatal classes.

In partnership with School District 64, the School Based Child and Youth Counsellor, Kirsty Chalmers, is well situated with offices at the high school to offer counselling to youth on an ongoing or drop-in basis.

Katie Watters, Victims Services Coordinator, is located at the RCMP detachment, providing support, information, and guidance to large caseload of families and individuals.