Lance was accessing counselling at Foundry Abbotsford and wanted to find other ways to benefit his mental health. After being referred to a Foundry group activity in March 2022 he has made an effort to attend every week.
Foundry groups give youth an opportunity to meet with others in the community and engage in activities that promote mental, emotional and physical wellness. Activities are both planned and supervised by two peer support workers and are always free for those wishing to attend.
“Every time I go, I’m just so excited to see all the new faces and the old faces, everybody there is so nice,” said Lance. “It’s nice that I get to make relationships with new people each time.”
When asked what makes him want to keep coming back, Lance shares that, “it’s a mix of both when it comes to the people and the activities. The coordinators are wonderful people, and they always plan really fun activities that everybody can access.”
“It has really helped my mental health, my confidence and my social skills, it’s just really good for your overall health to go there,” shares Lance.
About Foundry Abbotsford
Foundry Abbotsford provides physical and mental health care, substance use supports, social services and peer support to local youth and young adults along with their families.
Over 2,000 youth have accessed services and groups at Foundry Abbotsford in the past year. While less well-known, Foundry’s groups are an integral part of encouraging wellness in our community.
“We want to support youth holistically,” said Karen Lavoie the manager of Foundry Abbotsford.
“The more we can encourage social connection and taking care of yourself, the more we can prevent problems from beginning or escalating.”
“Groups are an excellent resource that helps connect youth to their community and provides them with a safe place for them to be themselves,” says Alex, one of the youth peer support workers.
Employees have seen first-hand the impact that these groups have had on the youth that attend them.
“We have definitely had some more shy youth who have social anxiety attend and they come out of groups making friends,” said Melissa*.
“Some youth have been coming for years and now have friends that they hang out with in the community which is really cool to see.”
Lance encourages other youth to join. “One week we will be doing community clean up and the next week we’ll have a movie night. There is just so much to do, every week it’s something different.”
“If someone is thinking about it then they should just try it once because it is very worth it and if they don’t like it that’s okay too!”
Why I Donate
I donated because I believe in community care and the importance of mental health services. As a middle school teacher, I see every day what these kids deal with and the lack of funding for imperative services for them. I wanted to help in a tangible way to ensure help is there when it’s needed.
For the most current information on Foundry groups, please follow @Foundry_Abbotsford on Instagram.
Activate is a group designed to help youth engage in activities that promote building healthy relationships with peers while engaging in activities that promote one’s well-being.
Youth can come to destress and engage with others through an activity that helps promote wellness in their lives. Past activities have included swimming, painting in the park, and community clean up.
Schedule: Every Tuesday from 5-6pm.
Youth learning how to make their own smoothie bowls from scratch.
Life Hacks is a group catered towards youth that have previously been in foster care or accessed mental health or substance use services.
Life hacks focuses on providing youth with life skills in an open learning environment. Previous activities have included learning how to make bubble tea, how to safe money with coupons, and learning about nutrition. These activities allow youth to connect with other peers all while gaining practical life skills and knowledge that will be beneficial towards their future
Schedule: Every Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm
Youth attending Birchwood Dairy for a self-guided tour of the facility.
Healthy by Nature
Healthy by Nature focuses on exploring nature with one another and engaging in outdoor activities as a group. This group is in partnership with the BC Parks Foundation, as they make the activities possible by providing funding and transportation.
Lunch, snacks and transportation is always made available to the youth attending. So far this summer groups have been able to go hiking at Rolley Lake to see waterfalls, alongside kayaking at Hayward Lake to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather.
These activities allow youth to get active by going outside. They provide learning opportunities that are not available indoors and enhance one’s overall mental well-being.
Schedule: Runs at least once a month.
Youth enjoying a hike at Rolley Lake.
Wellness Wednesdays are for younger youth who are looking to connect with others and have fun over the summer. Activities range from making slime as a group to decorating cupcakes with one another.
Ages: 12 –16
Schedule: Wednesdays in the summer
Youth building terrariums at Mill Lake Park.
Support Local Youth
To keep providing holistic health for youth, Foundry relies on donations.