It’s been 355 days since we rang in 2017 but it feels like the New Year began just last month. ConnecTeen has had an incredible year full of hard work and exciting changes which have resulted in a stronger program that is helping more and more of Calgary’s youth.
This year, with the help of students from Mount Royal University, we refreshed the look of the ConnecTeen brand and we couldn’t be happier with the changes. Not only has our website been updated, but we’ve also created new business cards, brochures, and posters. They’ve proven to be popular already and they can be found in schools and youth serving agencies across the city.
Hand-in-hand with our new promotional materials are our community engagement activities. In 2017, the ConnecTeen program coordinators have visited 128 different classes, agencies, or resource fairs and have met over 8600 youth, parents, and professionals. Our media presence also exploded and we could be found on television, radio, and in the newspapers.
All of this work has resulted in a huge jump in the number of contacts our volunteers have responded to.
From the beginning of the year to the end of November, ConnecTeen volunteers provided peer support to youth experiencing crisis 5039 times; an increase of 111% over the same time period in 2016. While it is great to see youth in our community being willing to reach out for help, it is also concerning to see that suicide related contacts have steadily increased over the course of the year. Suicide was a presenting concern on 30.7% of contacts in the month of November. We will be carefully monitoring this trend as we move into 2018 to ensure that we can respond to the most pressing concerns of teens in our community.
I can’t begin to express how much of a team effort it has taken to keep the ConnecTeen program running as well as it has this year. First of all, I would like to thank all of the volunteers who have dedicated their time and energy to supporting their peers in this community. Your dedication and commitment has not gone unnoticed and is always greatly appreciated.
I can’t begin to express how much of a team effort it has taken to keep the ConnecTeen program running as well as it has this year.”
This September saw the departure of one of our long-time program coordinators, Vanessa. Her energy and belief in the potential of this program were crucial to the success of ConnecTeen today. We welcomed Ryan to the ConnecTeen team and he has jumped in with both feet and, I for one, can’t wait to see his fresh perspective and ideas realized in 2018. Of course, we can’t forget our communications specialist, Lindsay, without whom our new promotional materials would have had a much less professional look. Last but far from least is the contact centre staff and management. ConnecTeen is far from the only program keeping us busy this year and your willingness to support the ConnecTeen program, its volunteers, and the youth in our community is always noticed and appreciated.
On behalf of everyone here at ConnecTeen I would like to extend a huge thank you for your support in 2017. I have no doubt that 2018 will see us reach even greater heights.
Have A Happy New Year!!!
Mike Velthuis Kroeze, RSW
Senior Youth Program Coordinator