When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020, we witnessed a significant increase in mental health and addiction concerns with our high-risk youth in Thunder Bay. Many in-person programs and resources that were previously available were put on pause. We wanted to respond to the need for support, recreation, and healthy activities.
We developed a program to beat the COVID-19 lockdown boredom with resilience and engagement, and give youth something fun to look forward to.
- Created a drop-in, virtual group for youth ages 12-25, to offer an opportunity for healthy coping during the COVID 19 pandemic.
- Ensured the group was youth driven and experiential. During each group, the youth were encouraged to share their experience and be a part of creating the agenda for upcoming groups.
- Youth were contacted for reminders and encouraged to join sessions that met their schedules. They were not required to commit to attending every week.
- Centered the group on the holistic wellness wheel approach and included: exploring what it means to be well in all areas of life; developing new and healthy coping skills; and connecting with fellow youth about mutual challenges and successes.
- Created an opportunity to practice socialization skills in real life – talking to a peer after being isolated for months can be scary!
- Encouraged diversity and individuality. The group was designed to be inclusive of all youth.
- Developed program purpose and agenda.
- One-step referral: youth can join through any partnering agency.
- Group facilitators reach out to youth to encourage attendance in the days leading up to group.
- Weekly activity packages are delivered to youths door the day of group.
- Have fun, Choose to be healthy and tell a friend.
For more information on Boredom Busters, please contact Amber Scavarelli, Youth Services, St. Joseph’s Care Group, email@example.com