Soon a successful program that has provided a place of comfort, a chance to build life and employment skills and hope for moving forward in an employment based world, will close its doors.
The Pathway Project, overseen by WorkLink – the local employment skills office for the province’s WorkBC program – is a victim of government funding cuts. As its outgoing co-ordinator can attest, its absence will be noted by the at-risk youth who have come through its doors in recent times and over the past 13 years.
At the same time, the West Shore and WorkLink have welcomed a newcomer to the employment skill-and self-esteem building crowd, Bridges for Women.
The 26-year-old Victoria-based organization has long served women from the West Shore and as far away as Sooke, who have suffered abuse and/or trauma in their lives and are looking for signs of hope to move on with their lives in a emotionally healthy way.
Both programs are designed to give people who may have been dealt a lousy set of cards in life, and those who may have made some unhealthy choices in past, a hand up rather than a handout.
We like that approach, since it helps people take responsibility for their own well-being while also teaching them there are people who really do care what happens to them.
The difficult thing about good organizations that count on government funding or private donations to survive is they are only one or two funding cuts away from extinction.
It’s not so different from individuals who are one or two paycheques away from being homeless.
We hope the services provided by the Pathway Project will be taken on by some other organization. It may be difficult to find one whose staff care as much for their clients as these folks do, but the main goal is to avoid having young people fall through the cracks and take the wrong path in life.