A forum on Tuesday evening will examine ways to strengthen the bridges between youths and the rest of the community.
“We’re looking forward to engaging the community in the important discussions of asset building for our youth,” said Connie Denesiuk, one of the event organizers.
Around a dozen years ago, similar discussions were held as the community examined ways to provide youth with assets such as support from the community and a strong set of personal skills.
The result of the discussions then was the creation of the Summerland Asset Development Initiative, which now operates the Unity Youth Centre.
Keith Pattinson, the presenter when the original discussions were taking place in the late 1990s, will be the keynote speaker at the Tuesday forum.
Denesiuk said the meeting is needed because the youth and their needs have changed over the years.
“We have a whole new group of young people and a whole new group of seniors,” she said. “It’s time to re-establish these connections.”
While children and teens receive a strong level of support, Denesiuk believes more is needed.
“Let’s build up all the kids,” she said. “This isn’t just about the high-risk kids; this is about all the kids.”
She said the schools do a great job, but the schools only have the students five hours a day, 200 days a year.
“Five hours isn’t enough. They need support in their homes, in their communities and in their clubs.”
The programs offered by SADI are also valuable, but Denesiuk said the entire community needs to engage with the youths.
The forum will be held Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Centre Stage Theatre.