United Way Ottawa's program for educating youth about the dangers of substance abuse is getting another boost, in the wake of recent overdose deaths in the city.
The Ottawa Senators Foundation announced Wednesday that it would invest $375,000 in Project Step over the next three years. The foundation donated $1-million to launch the program, back in 2008.
The funds are expected to be used in order to ensure youth in all 57 of Ottawa's high schools and three community organizations have access to counselling, support, addiction education, and prevention programming.
"Substance abuse is affecting youth across the region. It's in our schools, neighbourhoods and in some cases, our homes," said Danielle Robinson, president, and CEO of the Ottawa Senators Foundation. "Re-investing in project step will provide support for youth across the region by enhancing existing services, expanding program reach, and most importantly, giving youth the tools needed to make smart decisions."
This investment will provide:
Continued funding for project step foundation programming, allowing it to continue at its current level of reach:
- Providing prevention, education and awareness programming to reach youth in Ottawa’s four school boards.
- Offering addictions counselling services in Ottawa high schools and in non-mainstream community settings.
- Supporting parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse, through the school system.
Greater support to parents in the community:
- Enhance the assistance provided to families through community-based programs for parents whose children are struggling with substance abuse, including opioids.
- Offering parents support through group sessions and one-on-one counselling.
Ability to reach youth earlier with education and prevention by:
- Continuing to provide youth in high school with critical prevention information.
- Expanding reach to provide young people in grades 6, 7 and 8 with prevention and education sessions.
- Developing and delivering an age appropriate curriculum, in partnership with the school boards.
More than 11,760 students have accessed school-based counselling since Project Step launched in 2008, 75,710 students participated in addictions prevention education activities and over 10,930 parents have received support.
Since Monday, March 25, three Ottawa residents have died while others have been hospitalized due to drug overdoses.