Support for Teens at HOPE Centre

Genevieve Cooper

Submitted Article

Monday, October 7 2013

The Teen Peer Helping Program is now open for registration and begins Saturday, October 24, 2014 until Monday, May 19, 2014. This program offers support for youth in Grades 8 through 12 in staying resilient during their formative years, under the leadership of Genevieve Cooper. We focus all of our interactions on facilitating healthy social skills, reinforcing positive autonomy and establishing good problem-solving abilities, while having a lot of fun. This program is free and available to all teens living on Gabriola. 

This program is structured around training concepts put into practice by working together on projects that are designed by the youth. This process eradicates feelings of powerlessness by taking a step-by-step approach to impacting positive change for themselves and their community.

The first trend in our training comes from the knowledge that youth turn to one another before anyone else. A fundamental component of the program is maintaining healthy, supportive relationships with their peers. This involves learning how to assist and work with others from all walks of life. 

The second trend in our training schedule is developing skills integral to project management. The youth form a plan to make positive changes for the benefit of the teens residing on our island. The youth undergo a process that teaches hands-on skills to complete their goals. The youth are answerable about meeting their commitments and reaching their outcomes as a team. Last year, the teens chose to host and participate in several art workshops in partnership with the Gabriola Arts Council. This year, we have the opportunity to do theatre workshops. Should the teens choose to take on this project, they would be working towards writing, producing and performing in a play during Gabriola’s Theatre Festival. One suggestion is a murder mystery about the foot that washed up on Gabriola’s shores, but this would be up to the teens as well.

When the youth finish this process, some celebration is in order. The program ends with a retreat, and last year the teens fundraised almost enough to go to Vancouver for two nights, including all travel, accommodation and meal costs. Parents were asked to contribute $15 for the entire trip, which was the only cost to them all year. We stayed at the Jericho Beach Hostel in a private room and went to Playland and the Vancouver Aquarium. This served as a celebration for the group, as well as a time to reflect on what was accomplished and all that we learned through the year.

Please contact Genevieve Cooper at wildcardcreationz@gmail.com or 250-247-2095 for more information or to register.