• Advertisement

    Giving youth a safe space

    coffee talk photo

    Synergy’s Coffee Talk program begins Oct. 1 in Chestermere, and Oct. 2 in Langdon. Changes to the Coffee Talk program have been made to ensure youth will have the skills to thrive when they enter adulthood. A mental health nurse will be present for one-on-one mini clinics, where youth can come for professional support and have access to resources. Synergy’s ultimate goal for the Coffee Talk program is to give youth the opportunity to them themselves free of judgement. Photo submitted

    Synergy’s beloved Youth Encouraging Lasting Leadership (Yell) Coffee Talk program has been revamped to teach youth in Chestermere valuable skills for entering adulthood.
    “Coffee Talk right now is a youth peer support group where we have one-hour sessions every week that youth can come and chat about what’s going on in their lives, issues that are important to them, and current events,” said Synergy Resource Coordinator Khadija Samoylove.
    “It’s a safe space for youth to come and talk to each other about what’s going on in their lives,” Samoylove said.
    She added, “before there was not a lot of focus on what was spoken about. We are planning to add a little more value to the program.”
    Coffee Talk will still run with a similar format, Samoylove said, but there will be more structure to the program.
    Instead of one-hour weekly sessions, Coffee Talk will be one and a half hour sessions every week for Langdon, Chestermere, and Southeast Rocky View County youth.
    The first half an hour of Coffee Talk will consist of a check in, where youth can discuss the highs and the lows from the previous week.
    The next 45 minutes will be a topic-based group discussion. Youth will have an opportunity to choose the topic for the group discussion, and then share their experiences, thoughts and feelings on that specific issue Samoylove said.
    “We’re hoping that the issue they discuss will be about things going on in their lives, and also current events that may be relevant to them,” she said.
    Samoylove added Synergy is focused on building resiliency and building skills to help youth transition into adulthood by hosting monthly workshops.
    “We want to give youth the skills they need to thrive when they are adults, provide skills and knowledge for them to thrive, and to reduce the stresses they might feel if they don’t know certain things,” she said.
    Along with the monthly workshops, a mental health nurse will also be hosting mini clinics for youth who are looking for extra support.
    “They can come and chat with her one-on-one and then receive professional resources and support,” Samoylove added, “We don’t have a lot of mental health resources and often waiting times to see someone professionally are a very-very long time.
    “All we really want to do is provide youth with a safe space to come, make friends, find mentors, and a place where they can be themselves without judgment.”
    She added, Coffee Talks success is because Chestermere, Langdon, and Southeast Rocky View County are somewhat isolated communities and youth in the area want somewhere to go after school.
    Some youth want extra support because they don’t receive support at home, or they have mental health concerns including gender identity concerns, bullying, school issues, and family conflict, Samoylove said.
    “Sometimes they need extra support. Our goal is to provide that support, no matter what they are experiencing or what they are going through,” Samoylove said.
    “The purpose of Coffee Talk is to meet and address the mental, emotional, and social needs of our youth,” Samoylove added, “We want to provide them the skills to be able to tackle the challenges they face in their lives.”
    Coffee Talk in Chestermere officially begins on Oct.1 and will run every Monday at the Centre of Community Leadership, and Langdon Coffee Talk begins Oct. 2, and will run every Tuesday at the Langdon Field House Garage.
    The program is scheduled from 6 p.m., until 7:30 p.m., but youth are encouraged to come at 5:30 p.m., where they are able to socialize and make a healthy snack for the group to share during the Coffee Talk.
    Coffee Talk is open for youth over the age of 13. For additional information call Synergy at 403-212-0242, or email Samoylove at khadija@yoursyerngy.ca.