The Vancouver Police Foundation Funded Here4Peers Mental Health Literacy Program held its first annual Celebration Ceremony on June 12th. Here4Peers Facilitators and Adult Mentors of all 3 trained high schools: David Thompson, Killarney, and Vancouver Technical, came together to share experiences, celebrate their many achievements, and receive certificates for this pilot year.
Some achievements highlighted were: the nearly 2,000 volunteer hours given to the program by the trained Here4Peers Youth Facilitators this year, the 36 mental health workshops presented to 1,000 grade 6/7 students in 17 Vancouver Elementary schools, and the extraordinary opportunities seized by many Here4Peers Youth Facilitators as they presented themselves. Some of these opportunities included: presenting at the “Balancing Our Minds” Youth Mental Health Conference, sharing their personal stories in an interview with the Canadian Press, and speaking about Here4Peers on the jumbotron at the Vancouver Canucks #Hockeytalks game—an annual event dedicated to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. The first two Here4Peers Scholarships, valued at $250.00 each, were also presented to two outstanding facilitators who went “beyond the call” in their roles in supporting youth mental health initiatives this year. Congratulations were given to Amneet Grewal and Joshua Ramos, both from David Thompson Secondary.
The event was also attended by some of the project’s supporting partners: Vancouver Police Department, Canadian Mental Health Association—Vancouver Fraser Branch (CMHA), Vancouver School District Vancouver Coastal Health, and City of Vancouver.
Kind words of inspiration and acknowledgement were also shared by Deputy Chief of Police, Laurence Rankin, CMHA’s Manager of Mental Health Promotion, Judy Gray, and Vancouver Police Foundation Chair, Darcy Wray.
The Here4Peers Program looks forward to expanding from three to seven trained Vancouver high schools next year, and more than doubling its reach for the 2018-2019 school year.
For more information on Here4Peers, visit our featured stories section on our website.
Written by: Ashley Currie, Here4Peers Program Coordinator
Photo Credits: VPD Cadet Volunteers, Arran Roy and Joy Siscar