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ROC Community Care kits build on peer-to-peer support and leadership opportunities

A $15,000 grant in support of the Recreation Outreach Centre’s new “County Care Kits” program is helping to build on the strength of peer-to-peer support and leadership opportunities for the County’s youth.

This grant enabled the design and creation of the youth-led project to address accessibility barriers in Prince Edward County.

“The main focus of this project is to decrease accessibility barriers that youth face around accessing basic needs (hygiene, education, winter supplies) and information of existing supports (food bank hours, transit schedules, etc),” said Christian Everall. “Since November we have been planning and executing this project to minimize barriers by providing customized County Care Kits to those who place an order (93 orders in two rounds), and moving forward, we will keep stock of the most needed essentials which will be made available to other service providers in the area.”

Some students busy packing care kits during one of the recent school strike days.

The customized and standard care kits are tracked, processed, packed, and distributed by youth leaders at the ROC. The group is well on the way to achieving the goal of 100 kits for local youth in need.

Cynthia Surette of RBC Kingston, presented the grant to the ROC’s Youth Advisory Committee at the downtown Picton centre last week.

It was awarded through RBC’s Future Launch Community Challenge, in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada and The County Foundation also participated in the cheque presentation.

The project was spurred by a ‘Vital Conversation’ in 2019 where the Youth Advisory Committee, gathered at the ROC with representatives of RBC and The County Foundation to talk about issues affecting the community, with the goal of innovating a youth-led project.

“We met again to discuss our priorities and narrowed all of the ideas into specific projects that include increasing access to educational resources, basic needs products related to winter, hygiene and education, and knowledge of existing services within PEC.”

They launched their first round of County Care Kits in December. They designed an order form for people to place customized orders, requesting what they need in the areas of hygiene, education, winter, and personal supplies as well as identifying what they would like to know more about – in option areas including mental health services, free food services, housing information, and transportation options in PEC.

“Each kit contained a coupon for a free meal prepared by Food To Share, a hand-written note from ROC Youth, a holiday goodie, information packages, and was packed with the utmost care,” said Everall. “Lots of volunteer hours were collected in December alone!”

The goal of the program is to shift power to young leaders to make a positive social change in the community, while gaining valuable skills and experience along the way.

The project also addresses barriers to accessing basic needs and services in a practical, hands-on way.

“It builds on the strength of our peer-to-peer support system, with the addition of a leadership opportunity for everyone on our team. We, the youth advisory committee, are honoured to play a role in the bold change that youth are leading across the country through this national initiative with RBC.”

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