Three Island women have taken up the cause for youth with addictions, filling in where the government has fallen short.
The Reach Centre is being established by the Reach Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Janice Coady, Verna Ryan and Cheryl Roche.
The centre is a post-treatment facility for youths who are overcoming addictions.
Two of the three founders dealt with youth addictions in their own families. It was through their personal experiences that Roche and Coady noticed “gaps” in the health care system.
The women have reached out to the art community for support to help renovated the facility and artists and craftspeople have responded.
The needs for youth at risk have been well documented and although government has made some inroads, there is much more that needs to be done.
Perhaps there has been a shift in the basic premise of who the government actually is.
The prime minister, MPs, premiers, MLAs, mayors, chairpersons and councillors administer government but what has been lost over time is the notion that the government is the people. All of the politicians are there to represent us. Somewhere along the way the reins of government have been lost.
We, the people, are the government and we have to reclaim that. This is what these women are doing. This is reclamation, taking back the power and saying, “it has to be done.”
These women are setting an example for government and when they make a difference, there will be no denying it. Perhaps it will motivate the elected government to do the same or support communities in doing it.
The arts community has responded donating their talents and works to a fundraising effort in support of the Reach Centre. So they too are part of this reclamation process to get the job done.
Summerside artist Catherine Ann Dickson said it best:
“These young men or women who are going to be using the services, they’re only going to be strengthened by this and isn’t that what we want - a stronger tomorrow. We want to invest in our youth, all of our youth. We don’t want to leave anyone behind. They’re going to be a part of our community whether they’re weak or whether they’re strong. So, why not make a long-term investment and support all of our people in becoming stronger.”