THOMPSON—The Manitoba government is providing an additional $200,000 to The Link, as part of the StreetReach North team, to provide enhanced mental health, wellness and cultural supports and programming to at-risk youth in Thompson and surrounding communities, Families Minister Rochelle Squires announced here today.
“Our government is committed to working collaboratively with service providers to offer a comprehensive, co-ordinated community response strategy that addresses the sexual exploitation victimization of children and youth,” said Squires. “This grant represents another initiative in our whole-of-government approach to prevent and intervene in the sexual exploitation of children and youth.”
The Link and StreetReach North work collaboratively to offer programs that focus on building positive, safe relationships with youth who access their resources, services and supports, noted Squires. The minister said the enhanced funding will support the organization to:
- offer cultural and diversity teachings and activities, which lead to the development of a large-scale Indigenous and youth-led art project in partnership with the City of Thompson;
- connect at-risk youth with medical professionals, to make health care more accessible;
- support wellness and advocacy for at-risk youth; and
- provide community-based mental health and spiritual programs.
“The Link is proud to serve northern Manitoba and with these additional resources from the Department of Families, we will enhance our programs in Thompson,” said Kerri Irvin-Ross, CEO of The Link. “The grant will increase our capacity to offer community-based services that will build on the strengths and resilience of youth while supporting their healing journey.”
StreetReach North is one of 24 initiatives implemented under Tracia’s Trust: Manitoba’s Sexual Exploitation Strategy. With annual core funding of $900,000, the program uses a multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional approach to prevent and address the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and youth. Between April and September, StreetReach North facilitated the safe return of 117 children and youth deemed high risk for sexual exploitation victimization and documented close to 2,000 relationship-building opportunities.
“We thank The Link and Awasis Child and Family Services Agency for their StreetReach North partnership and for their ongoing commitment to help ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable children and youth,” said Squires.
The Link also operates a four-bed Youth Resource Centre that operates 24/7 to provide a safe place for youth to stay for up to 72 hours, including access to food, clothing, and emergency supports, as well as recreational and cultural activities.
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