Troy Peters just wants the world to be a better place.
How? For Peters it starts with youth. If children are given the support they need — food, a safe place to live, and guidance developing life skills — they’ll grow up capable, and be a boost to the world.
“If we can support youth as they develop, I believe they’ll be able to navigate whatever life throws at them,” he says.
Peters is Program Coordinator for Youth and Family Services at Terrace and District Community Service Society, better known as TDCSS. The Society helps youth and families in crisis, offers guidance for older youth looking for housing or career support, teaches parenting and other life skills, and has services for special needs children and their caregivers.
“We’re all human, and we all need help from time to time. I need help with my taxes so I go to an accountant; some people need help with anxiety, or a family crisis. Everybody needs a bit of help, especially now — it doesn’t matter who you are,” Peters says.
Reinventing services through the challenges of 2020
Before COVID-19, the TDCSS building was a hub of activity, with movie nights, group programs and one-on-one services of all sorts.
“For many kids this is their safe place. We always feed them as much as we can, and I’m constantly applying for grants to pay for even more food. My office is right across from the kitchen, which is usually full of kids,” Peters says. “When they first come in they’re usually shy and withdrawn, but after a week they make themselves at home — they’re making smoothies, baking muffins, and having fun with other kids their age.”
TDCSS adapted services during the pandemic, meeting with clients on neighbourhood walks or in the backyard, offering a patient ear to parents who just need to vent about the added stresses of working and schooling-from-home, and continuing services in schools.
“We thought at first that youth would really enjoy using technology, but that hasn’t been the case — they don’t really like video meetings or even phone conversations. So we had to keep reinventing ourselves, and offered a lot of supports through text,” Peters says.
Group services have been next-to-impossible thanks to COVID-19, but Peters is hopeful TDCSS will offer them again soon. Staff received their vaccinations in mid-March, and programming should return to normal as the world opens up.
“Group programs are so useful for helping youth apply the tools they’ve learned one-on-one, and giving them a safe space to just hang out.”
If you need food, shelter, work, counselling or just a friend to listen to you vent, reach out to TDCSS by phone (250) 635-3178 or email email@example.com. Visit tdcss.ca or follow them on Facebook to learn more!