Partnership Leads to Strong Families

Lutherwood has contracted with the Strongest Families Institute in Nova Scotia to provide evidence-based bilingual mental health services to children, youth, and families. The Strongest Families Institute offers customized skill coaching virtual programs for anxiety and behaviour challenges. Participating children, youth, and families have access to weekly individual or group coaching calls to build skills to address specific issues. This service is a proactive strategy to address increasing service demands due to the pandemic and the local need for less intensive services, which will reduce waitlists for those more intensive services.

Mixing Summer Fun with Treatment

Last year, Lutherwood offered a summer camp program for children under the age of 12 enrolled in or on a waitlist for our Day Treatment program. The camp ran for over 5 weeks, with the indoor and outdoor activities built around specific skills such as emotion regulation, teamwork, and mindfulness. It supported clients and families who are transitioning out of the day treatment program and returning to community school in September, as well as providing future clients with an introduction to our treatment programming before the start of the school year.

Navigators for Newcomers

Lutherwood has hired 2 additional Newcomer Employment Navigators to help newcomers to Canada with their employment and training needs. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funded these community-based positions to help clients access employment and income supports, provide translation at interviews and at work, and provide other support needed to help newcomers navigate the new-to-them systems. We also hired a Newcomer Education Navigator to help improve access to complex education systems and help newcomers access language training, high school, post-secondary education, or apprenticeship. The goal is to help newcomers with language or other barriers secure employment and move to better jobs that meet their needs and use their skills and abilities.

Just Say YESS

Through its Youth Employment Skills Strategy (YESS), Service Canada is funding a program that supports youth up to age 30 that face unusually high barriers who are looking for employment. Launched in March 2021, the 3-year program called “Getting Ahead” will help 100 high-barriered youth with support to work through housing instability, mental health concerns, financial assistance (for food, rent, and other personal expenses) as well as provide pre-employment skill training with paid placement opportunities while they are enrolled in the program.

Working to End Homelessness

The Housing Division continues to diligently work towards ending homelessness in Waterloo Region, particularly chronic homelessness. We are doing this by working collaboratively with our local Housing Stability System partners including emergency shelters, day programs, drop-ins, and local housing providers. These providers offer community housing, supportive housing as well as market rent housing units for those in need. In fact, through the combined efforts of our Resource Centres, Prioritized Access to Housing Support Team (PATHS2Home), and Families in Transition (FIT) teams, 775 households were supported to either maintain their current housing to avoid the experience of homelessness or to end their experience of homelessness. Throughout this year FIT also continued to maintain functional zero across Waterloo Region for chronically homeless families. Functional zero represents 3 or fewer families experiencing chronic homelessness in our community at one time. These are particularly notable achievements given the increase in people seeking shelter, the reduction of affordable housing stock, and the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Steps for Kids 2022

This year’s Steps for Kids Fundraiser had a rainy start, but that did not stop any of our participants from getting out and taking their steps. We saw over 400 walkers from Brazil, Portugal, British Columbia, and Ontario put on their walking shoes to show support for children struggling with their mental health. Rising to the challenge, participants either rowed, biked, or walked 5, 10, or 20 km (26,000 steps) during Children’s Mental Health Week. Several participants shared that Steps for Kids is their kickoff to being more active every day after a long winter inside. These steps proved to be another success for children’s mental health and individual wellness. We are so grateful to our Lutherwood community for their support of another virtual event. Together we were able to raise over $105,000!