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WES for Youth Online receives $50,000 from RBC Foundation

The RBC Foundation has pledged $50,000 to WES for Youth Online (WFYO) to help support their upcoming counselling service expansion. Vickie Mighton (centre), branch manager of the RBC branches in Hanover and Paisley, presented the cheque to WES for Youth representatives last Thursday. Pictured, from left: Emma Martin, WFYO community relations director; James Cameron, WFYO vice-chair; Mighton; Jennifer Mulcaster, WFYO executive director; and Rebecca Matches, WFYO board member. (Mike Wilson photo)

WALKERTON – WES for Youth Online received huge financial boost from the RBC Foundation last week to support their upcoming counselling service expansion.

On Nov. 28, an intimate gathering was held at the WES for Youth office in Walkerton with members of the WES for Youth board of directors, staff members and representatives from RBC, where a cheque for $50,000 was presented to the local organization by the RBC Foundation.

“Our organization would like to thank RBC profusely for their commitment and support of community technology-based solutions like WES for Youth Online,” said Jennifer Mulcaster, executive director of WES for Youth Online. “Through opportunities like the RBC Youth Mental Well-being Project, more Ontario youth and their families will have greater access to the appropriate care right when they need it most.”

According to statistic from WES for Youth Online, only one in five youth with a mental health illness get access to the care that they require. RBC’s Youth Mental Well-Being Project looks to fund initiatives that address youth and their family’s urgent need to access mental health services.

“Technology is increasingly becoming the solution to these issues by increasing remote access to care. Programs that use technologies like email…help to bridge the gap between supply and demand of mental well-being care services. These programs can offer assessments, diagnosis and care that would otherwise be delayed, or not available at all,” according to the RBC Foundation.

Vickie Mighton, branch manager of the Hanover and Paisley RBC branches, said they are proud to be involved with WES for Youth Online.

“RBC’s investment in the mental well-being of our youth is a step towards de-stigmatizing and opening doors for them to have an outlet to receive help in a confidential, free and accessible manner,” said Mighton. “We at RBC are so proud to be involved in this exciting venture and are amazed at the number of youth who have used the service over the last seven years.”

WES for Youth Online plans on using the funds from the RBC Foundation to facilitate growth and provide sustainability of the free online counselling service platform.

The expansion project will run for 87 weeks, beginning at the start of the 2020 fiscal year in January and ending at the end of the 2021 school year. WES for Youth’s intent is to acquire 1,000 new youth registrants during this time through peer referrals, totalling service numbers to over 2,800 youth.

The funds will also provide further support of their online services – development research for a mobile platform, website redevelopment, online marketing and advertising costs, monthly platform support fees, annual licensing fees (Therapy Online) and cyber insurance costs.

In a press release, WES for Youth Online says these funds will allow them to further allocate existing resources to compensate six certified counsellors, which currently costs the organization approximately $160 per hour, an average expense of $6,300 per month.

“It is our hope that WES for Youth Online is able to provide youth and their families with an alternative solution to waiting in line for mental health services,” explained Mulcaster. “Our counsellors are available to talk to youth about anything that is bothering them; no issue is too big or small. We need more people to know this and RBC Foundation is going to help us do exactly that.”