Here at YES, we are committed to ensuring the Health and Safety of both the youth and families we serve as well as our staff and volunteers. We have been closely following the recommendations put forth by public health officials and have been working to come up with practices that are in line with the CDC guidelines so we can continue to serve the community during this challenging time. The Youth Empowerment Society, at present, will continue to provide meals, washroom facilities and shelter spaces during this time.
At YES, we recognize that it is our role and responsibility during this time, as it is at any other time, to ensure the health and well being of the youth and families we serve. We take this role seriously and understand that there are additional challenges youth at risk will be experiencing including:
- Access to food and nutrition, as many of our youth already struggle with getting enough to eat in a day.
- Access to shelter that meets CDC guidelines as sleeping on the streets or in crowded emergency shelters increases their risk of contracting the flu, cold or other serious health conditions.
YES is doing all it can to minimize those challenges while still adhering to appropriate health and safety practices during this time. Social distancing has been identified as the most effective measure we can all be taking to ensure the spread of COVID-19 slows down and in light of this; the following steps have been taken to do our part in these unprecedented times.
- YES will be using its own staffing resources to support essential services and is finalizing our COVID-19 Emergency Plan.
- Counsellors will be supporting youth and families via text/messenger/phone.
- Administration work will be done from home.
- Referrals at both the Kiwanis Emergency Youth Shelter and Specialized Youth Detox will now include the recommended questions from the BC Center for Disease Control.
- Residential programs will be practicing social distancing whenever possible to ensure youth and staff safety.
- If youth are presenting with symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed or is symptomatic, they will be immediately isolated while staff follow instructions as provided by 8-1-1 Healthlink.
- The Alliance Club will be shortening its hours to 1:00pm-6:00pm Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays. The Club will be serving meals to go as well as having bags made up of toiletry supplies for youth to take. We will continue to monitor the Club and will inform the public if additional changes need to be made.
- Volunteers have been asked to stay home.
- Visible handwashing signs and stations have been posted around the building
- ‘Cover your Cough” signs at entrances and in program areas.
- Increased attention to high touch areas, disinfecting multiple times daily.
- Providing access to cleaning supplies, tissues, and hand sanitizer throughout our programs for staff and youth to use.
As this situation continues to evolve, we are relying on health services including Public Health Agency of Canada, BC Center for Disease Control (BC CDC), and the World Health Organization for information and will be updating the community as service delivery changes occur.
Thank you to the community for your continued support during this time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Director Pat Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org