The goal of this project is for Oak Centre clients who disclose sexual abuse to receive medical care through a health check exam. Having a medical professional provide reassurance of a child’s health and wellness goes a long way to preventing long-term emotional impacts of the trauma they have endured.

We are fortunate to have a volunteer project lead, Randy, who has assisted us to acquire Shared Care funding through Doctors of BC so that we can contract physicians to assist us to create medical service pathways for our clients. We are working closely with the Shuswap/North Okanagan Division of Family Practice to find a service model that will work best for our clients and community.

We thank Randy, Shared Care, the Division and the physicians who came forward to work with us on this project. We hope to have great news about new service pathways for our child and youth clients in the New Year.

The Oak Centre wishes you safe and happy holiday and we look forward to see you in 2022!

Oak Centre received a grant from the Victims Funds to put on an awareness campaign to draw attention to the incidences of child abuse / sexual assault in our region and let people know about the services that our agency provides. We have increased Instagram & Facebook ads directing people to learn more about Oak Centre, lightpost banners went up on Main street in downtown Vernon and radio ads are playing on Pure Country radio. The professionals at Oak Centre work closely with community partners to increase safety and provide services to children, youth and their families that are victims and Survivors of Crime

Pick up your Cirque Surprise Box at Healthy Spot and spoil your fur baby while helping support Archway Society’s accredited facility dog. The box is packed with amazing goodies for your special pup and you might even be the lucky winner of the Cirque plush and bonus gift card. Huge thanks to Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition & Supply for doing this fundraiser and sponsoring Cirque.

We are immensely thankful for this generous contribution that will go to help fund our Family Therapy Program. With your generous funding children and youth and their families who have experiences trauma will be able to heal individually and as a family unit. The program meets children and families where they are at on their healing journey and recognizes that each person has unique needs. First West Foundation has been helping our communities thrive since 1996 and we recognize how their contributions have made our community a better place.

It is hard to believe it’s already been a year with Cirque as part of the Archway Society and Oak Centre team. Cirque has blossomed into her role as she accompanies children and youth in interviews, meetings and court appearances. The impact of having her on the team is truly amazing. Taylor, a community based victims service worker at the court house puts it like this, “I was able to observe Cirque with a young witness. The young girl had a chance to take a break from testifying and while on break she played tug
of war with Cirque. It was pretty amazing to see a child smiling and enjoying herself while experiencing what could very well be one of the most difficult days of her life. I felt proud and amazed that we had gained such a valuable member to our team.” Big thanks to Cirque’s handler mamas Brooke and Daphne and her sponsor Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition & Supply for bringing her through the first year, with many more to come! Now let the dog spoiling begin!

We send our thanks to Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth for awarding us this grant of $90,000. These funds are what makes it possible for the professionals at Oak Centre CYAC to serve children, youth and their families to increase safety and live free from abuse or violence. Thank you for valuing the great work that is done to advocate for children and youth in the North Okanagan.

Cst. Ashely Fast, RCMP Speical Victims Unit, with Cirque, PADS Accredited Facility Dog at Oak Centre

When Cst. Ashley Fast with the RCMP Special Victims Unit comes to the Oak Centre she is in plain clothing, dressed professionally and approachable, she comes to the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre to interview children who are victims or witness’ in regards to physical or sexual abuse.  Ashley is motivated by the true innocents she sees in kids, “It’s tough sometimes but the work is rewarding because I want to protect kids who are hurt and help them have a voice.” She adds “Kids are genuinely innocent victims.” Ashley has been with the RCMP for over 9 years and the last 2 years she has served as a liaison between RCMP and Oak Centre. Ashley says the Oak Centre makes a huge difference in the child interview experience, it’s a safe place for children and youth where they can meet with the officer and advocates.  And the interview happens in a non-threatening environment by an officer in plain clothing and in a way that does not re-victimize the child. There is also a big difference for families and caregivers that accompany the children, Ashley points out that at the detachment they would have to sit alone and would not have the support of the advocates. At Oak Centre the space is available for caregivers to wait in comfort, have other children with them and an advocate is there to offer support. Ashley appreciates the Oak Centre for it’s warm and welcoming staff and atmosphere, she says there are just so many great benefits and she hopes the Oak Centre and other CYAC’s will be used by more professionals in her sector. The Oak Centre has really benefited from Ashley’s partnership with the centre, she is instrumental in providing a team approach in serving families. Oak Centre staff send out a huge thanks to her for all she does.

The interview room at the Oak Centre is looking great with it’s new coat of Buxton Blue paint. The room had originally been painted grey but with a desire to brighten the room a repainting of blue was chosen and we think you’ll agree it is looking amazing.

From the onset, decisions on colour and design at Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre were thoughtful and intentional  in order to create a comfortable environment that would give children and families the best possible  space to go through the interview process and get ongoing support. Choosing the right colours and lighting was an important part of preparing it to be a calm and comforting environment.

It is very interesting how colour intersects with emotions, even at times affecting us physically. Some colours feel cold, harsh, and may cause anxiety and others boost
energy and create inspired feelings. For example, orange encourages creativity and can bring a joyful feeling, red can activate energy and can cause a spike in blood pressure and anxiety.  Knowing how colour impacts children and families is why at Oak Centre we chose colours that would reduce anxiety  and stress, and colours that would  eliminate  external distractions as much as possible. We mainly use blue tones because blue slows the heart rate and is tranquil. Blue provides a peaceful and calming energy and has tremendous stress management qualities. Grey was also chosen as a complimentary colour to blue. Grey is a soothing colour with a cooling presence and it also contributes to the space as a neutral color.

It is a fascinating to thing how something as seemingly minor as paint colour could impact the important work with children and families at Oak Centre.

We also want to add a huge thank you to the volunteers that helped with the project.