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Vulnerable kids turn to Facebook for help
PoCoMo Youth Services is changing its name and logo to better reflect its services and its mandate, says executive director Jerome Bouvier. The new name is ACCESS Youth Outreach Services Society, and the new brand will be fully rolled out at a gala fundraising event Oct. 24 at the Red Robinson Show Theatre.
"We felt it was time for a fresh look and a fresh name because our vision and our strategic plan, and, as an organization moving forward, we want people to know what we do now."
Bouvier said the name ACCESS was chosen to underscore the organization's efforts to be more accessible to youth. The organization's Project Reach Out bus that circulates to various youth hot spots on weekends is now in Langley, as well as the Tri-Cities, and there are new programs for youth in schools to teach compassion and empathy.
Even Facebook is being used to reach out and be more accessible to youth, Bouvier said.
"We're accessible to the youth, almost everything we do is after hours and we bring services to the kids," he said, explaining the reasoning behind the new name. "We're accessible, that reflects truly who we are in the way we do things."
With Ministry of Children and Development funding last year, the organization was able to hire two case workers who job-share 35 hours a week to work with youth between 4 and 10 p.m. Bouvier said the extra hours of the two case workers, in addition to the Project Reach Out bus, means the organization is able to do more to support vulnerable and at risk youth.
Case workers monitor Facebook — 160 youth have "friended" the organization — and connect up with youth who appear to be struggling. They then refer them to school counsellors and other agencies who may be able to help.
"We become the link," said Bouvier, "We work with MCFD, PLEA and youth workers and schools to help provide support to young people."
Although the new name is being circulated, the new logo won't be revealed until Thursday, Oct. 24., when PoCoMo hosts its second annual Evening of Inspiration Gala.
PoCoMo hopes for a sold-out crowd of 250 people and to reach its fundraising goal of $15,000. The event will feature a gourmet meal, auction items, raffle prizes, live performances by local recording artist Sarah K and the Mellado youth hip hop dance group.
There will also be an inspirational speech by Jeremy Pearce of the SFU Clan Football team, who will be sharing his story.
Tickets are $70 for an individual or $525 for a table of eight and can be purchased on the PoCoMo website through PayPal or PoCoMo Office: Fernwood Lodge (Riverview site), 604-525-1888.