Some people wonder what exactly is POSSE doing anyway? Many people think we are that "program for people who use drugs" or "where youth go for help", and although we do provide non-judgmental support to people who use drugs, and where ALL youth can come for care and support. There is so much more going on!
We are a place that provides a diverse array of services. POSSE creates a variety of training opportunities for youth to learn how to become better support to their friends. Youth learn about: human rights, harm reduction, mental health, suicide prevention, anti-oppression, human trafficking prevention and awareness, sexual violence prevention, violence prevention, anti-poverty, self care, healthy sexuality, trauma informed practice, and so much more! We do this work from a place of radical care, belief in youths right to self determination, bodily autonomy, while promoting informed choices and healthier decision making. We recognize youth as experts in their own lives and needs.
Our trainings usually occur three times per week: one in each community we serve. These trainings provide youth with direct access to services and services providers to teach them about the services they offer and various topics that impact youth, and supporting youth's employment skill development, as they become Peer Outreach Workers. POSSE also provides opportunities for youth voice and decision making at regular collaborative meetings, bringing youth and stakeholders together to oversee POSSE's development. We support youth to create their own initiatives, through partnerships with other groups such as Rising Youth. To date 6 youth have written their own grants with our support, including: Overdose Awareness Day, Energy Drink and Alcohol information cards, Music development workshop, Cooking class for young womyn, Harm Reduction information day, Art in the Park. POSSE is responsive to the needs of youth, also providing youth with the support they require in real time. Often providing immediate response for crisis. Advocacy for emerging needs. Contributing to Provincial Best Practices for Youth including: harm reduction, homelessness, human trafficking, sexual and criminal exploitation of youth, and youth with multiple barriers, the child welfare systems, and youth employment. POSSE has created responses to the needs this past year with a Youth Emergency Homelessness fund and Sexualized Violence Prevention fund.
POSSE fosters spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to build relationships, and understanding to promote Truth and Reconciliation.
We continue to provide youth with care, foster a safe space and a sense of belonging. April 1, 2021 - to present (9 months) POSSE has:
65 individual youth participated, volunteering a total of to date of 2149.75
10 youth completed 120 hours of volunteerism (in a 12 month period).
To date we have distributed over $25,135.00 in financial support to marginalized youth, living in poverty via gift cards for food, transportation and other emergency needs.
1532 youth outreach contacts, through street level outreach, meeting youth where they are at.
Provided other organizations opportunities to connect with youth seeking youth input
Contributed best practice development in meaningful youth engagement, mental health, addictions, and human trafficking / sexual exploitation, and homelessness
Provided over 1027 meals and 542 snacks
259 additional supports for: conflict resolution, violence prevention, crisis intervention, service navigation, support, referrals, etc.
Total Harm Reduction kits, excluding Needle Exchange: 1004
Needle Exchange total numbers of needles distributed: 7696
Distributed Naloxone kits: 157
Distributed Fentanyl drug testing strips: 584
POSSE has also been able to hire 4 youth under 30 with short term contracts, three of whom were previous POSSE youth volunteers.
POSSE acknowledges support from the youth, our collaborative members, our funders, and the community at large has been invaluable to our ongoing success. Wela'lioq. Merci. Thank you!