Youth worker position cut

  • Mar. 2, 2011 1:00 p.m.

A funding shortfall has resulted in a position cut at the Summerland Asset Development Initiative.

In February, the youth support worker position held by Randy Wheeler was cut in order to cope with the financial  shortfall at the youth organization.

“It was an unfortunate decision that had to be made,” said Michelle Stefan, program manager of the organization.

The youth organization has been facing financial difficulties since last year.

In June, a funding shortfall of around $70,000 was announced.

“We restructured and tried to raise around $50,000,” Stefan said. 

Support from the United Way, the municipality, the Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club came close to raising the required funds.

“The community really came together to get us through that time,” Stefan said.

Still, the organization was forced to dispense with one full-time position at the time, in order to balance its finances.

This year, Stefan said, the organization has lost another $70,000 in funding.

As a result, staff has been cut once again and is now down to one full-time and two part-time positions at the youth organization.

“It’s a huge loss for the kids,” she said.”

The after-school program draws between 25 and 40 children and teens on Monday to Thursday each week, while around 20 attend the movie night events. 

Another 10 to 15 attend other activities.

Stefan said around 125 children and teens from Grade 6 to Grade 12 are members of the organization.

The organization’s total budget, which has been as high as $270,000, is now down to $120,000.

While the cuts are severe, Stefan said the youth organization will be able to cope.

“I really feel like we’re going to be able to get through this,” she said. “We have a lot of private donors and service clubs and government grants.”

In the past, the youth organization has received significant funding from Penny Lane Bargain Outlet, a nonprofit business which provides funding for various youth projects and programs.

Bruce Hallquist, a member of the Penny Lane board, said the ongoing recession has affected the business.

“It’s just tough times,” he said. “If we can go back to where we were with the supply of merchandise, we’ll probably be able to fund SADI again.”

He added that the funding for the youth organization would likely take a different form than in the past.

Penny Lane also provides funding to numerous other organizations working with youth. 

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