Thunder Bay: New Program for Youth at Risk

expect changeTHUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Counselling Centre in partnership with St.Joseph’s Care Group and Children’s Centre Thunder Bay announced a new social skills program for youth who are at risk. Rebound’s Choices Program encourages young people to think and act positively by building self-esteem and helping them learn valuable life skills in a safe environment. Thunder Bay Counselling Centre Executive Director Nancy Chamberlain says; “As parents and guardians we all really try to teach our children the difference between right or wrong so they can make positive life choices as they face outside influences at school and in the community. Unfortunately making the right choice is not always easy. The Choices program will provide guidance, role models, and support to help young people find the right direction in life.”

The Choices program, which is a free service, works with youth from all different walks of life. Young people who are at risk may have difficulties including anger and frustration, peer pressure, substance abuse, vandalism, and shop lifting. Choices is a ten week program with sessions led by volunteer mentors and role models who are all provided with specified training. Chamberlain says; “We are actively seeking youth to participate in the program. Our mentors will show them that there are better choices available and will provide participants with someone to look up to and help them focus on the more important things in life.”

Decision making, goal setting, alcohol, prescription drugs, and self respect are just a few of the topics that will be explored throughout the sessions, that encourage youth to develop useful social skills and habits and refrain from disruptive, or self-destructive behaviors. Children at risk may be referred or participate voluntarily.

The Choices program is a very successful program that has been implemented in Southern Ontario. It was originally created in 1984 by Sarnia-Lambton and has since successfully served over 13,000 young people. Most youth that participate in the program leave with a newfound respect for themselves and others. Chamberlain continues; “This program results in not only happier youth, but will ultimately create a healthier and safer Thunder Bay.”

Registration for the program is now open to the public. Those interested in more information can contact Thunder Bay Counselling Centre.