Youth organization seeks help from volunteers

SADI restructures but needs more volunteer help to keep programs running.

Staff at the Summerland Asset Development Initiative are asking for volunteers to assist them in their youth work efforts.

Laceydawn Loeppky, youth activities coordinator at the youth organization, said the past two years have seen significant staffing cuts. The staff has dropped from three full-time workers to one full-time, one part-time and one on minimal part-time hours.

Funding was also cut, leading to questions about the survival of SADI.

Despite the staffing cuts, Loeppky said the organization has been able to keep its various programs in place.

“We have not cut back any activities,” she said. In order to keep the programs operating, Loeppky and others are asking for additional volunteers, especially for the Friday evening events.

Connie Denesiuk, a member of the SADI board, said there have been some positive changes at the youth organization.

One is that the staff at Penny Lane Bargain Outlet are now handling bookkeeping, freeing up the staff at SADI to have more time to spend with the youth.

“There’s been an extensive restructuring,” Denesiuk said. “We’re seeing new life breathed into SADI.”

Loeppky said there are 49 active youth members with SADI. Two-thirds of these are middle school students.

The Critteraid animal care program through SADI has a strong core of youth participants, Loeppky said. “We’ve got kids who come just for Critteraid,” she said.

Other activities also draw regular participants. In the past, program organizers had been able to take some of the youths on one-week hiking and camping trips, but the staff time commitment involved with these projects has required SADI to restructure to find activities which require a less intense time commitment.

Loeppky said the activities are set up with a reason beyond simple entertainment. “We’re trying to ensure what we’re doing is for a purpose and not just to entertain,” she said.