On the surface, it looks like any other pen…but it’s a whole lot more than that.
Yank down on the slender metallic tag protruding from its underside and the simple writing tool reveals a colourful paper scroll imprinted with contact information for agencies serving youth in crisis.
“It’s easy access,” said Gerry Dwyer, a retired OPP officer and founding member of the Kiwanis Children’s Safety Village.
“If they have an issue or a problem, here’s the number – give them a call.”
The volunteer-led committee developed the list of local emergency contacts for youth in co-operation with community partners.
Phone numbers and email addresses for a range of supports and services are also imprinted on cell phone pouches and business cards that will be distributed at area schools.
Listed agencies include the Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans Youth Line, the Sharing Place Food Bank, and Youth Mobile Crisis.
Orillia Mayor Steve Clarke applauded the effort, describing it as a “progressive” approach to the challenges facing local youth.
“It’s no secret that we have issues within our community, as many other communities do,” he said. “It’s what we do about those issues that I think is important.”
Orillia OPP detachment commander Insp. Pat Morris echoed those sentiments, adding that young people often aren’t aware of community services.
“This information that we think is available to us … whether it’s anything to do with substance abuse or mental health, we think it’s omnipresent, but for the people who are often in need, it’s not,” Morris said.
Orillia’s youth centre is among more than a dozen organizations listed in the portable directory.
The easy-to-access contact information is a value resource for the city’s younger residents, says director Kevin Gangloff.
“We can continue to impact the community in such a positive manner with this type of information, this type of setup,” Gangloff added.
The Kiwanis Children’s Safety Village travels to area schools where children learn how to live and play safely through hands-on displays covering potential dangers ranging from electricity and fire to traffic.
“There is no other ongoing project that I think brings more pride to our members …,” said Orillia Kiwanis Club president Ben Cole.
Article courtesy of Orillia Today™