Healthy Spot supplies all Cirque’s necessities like food, treats and toys. They spoil her with the best in nutrition and stimulating activities for her play time. Healthy Spot also raises funds to cover Cirque’s other related costs. One successful fundraiser that Healthy Spot ran in the fall was the Cirque Surprise Box. It had lots of Cirque’s favorite treats and other surprises that buyers and their fur buddies could really enjoy.  The fundraiser was so successful it was a quick sell out and raised over $2000. “Way to go Healthy Spot!” They plan to run this kind of fundraiser again in 2021, so if you missed it last time keep an eye out for the next opportunity. Andrea says it had always been on her mind and heart to do something amazing like support the work of a support or service dog. So when she heard that Archway Society for Domestic Peace and Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre were getting an Accredited Facility Dog she jumped at the opportunity to be Cirque’s sponsor. Andrea says it’s just the right fit for her business and customers love it. Having an Accredited Facility Dog is truly a team effort and without the support of a business like Healthy Spot Pet Nutrition and Supply, we could not offer this great service and comfort to children and youth at Oak Centre. We could not agree more with Andrea’s words – “It’s a perfect fit.”

As an AFD Cirque’s role is to maintain a calm presence and help reduce anxiety for children and youth as they are interviewed, attend court or meet with advocates. The calming affect of Cirque on those that engage with her is incredible. For example, a young child who would not speak to any of the adults in the room, hiding their head in their caregiver’s arm, was handed the leash . The child immediately sat up and started to speak excitedly. From that point on the professionals were able to open up a dialogue with the child and start to build trust. This type of scenario has become a regular occurrence as Cirque settles into her work at the centre.

Cirque was trained and placed with Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre and Archway Society for Domestic Peace by the talented team at PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society). We had discussed an AFD from the very development of Oak Centre at the urging of one of the frontline child protection social workers. Over the years we had visits from AFDs in training and met with other handlers who had AFDs in their centre and saw the benefit of a placement of a facility dog within a child and youth advocacy centre. In 2019 we connected with a regional trainer and from there we were put in touch with the trainers at PADS in Burnaby. We worked with them to identify handlers in our agency and to go through the application process. It was very important that the dog placed with us had the right skills to work with our vulnerable clients and be able to adapt to different work settings – during meetings with young clients and professionals, in police interviews  and with children and in courtrooms.

A match was found for us and we started team training in May 2020 with Cirque. Our team graduated in September after written exams for the humans and a practical skills test for the humans and Cirque. A virtual graduation celebration was held in December. Cirque is a remarkable dog and all who meet her are amazed by her skills and calm demeanor.  We look forward to having Cirque as part of the team for many years to come.

We are pleased to announce that the CCTV room at the Vernon court house has received a much needed face lift made possible by Department of Justice Canada funding. Children and youth use the CCTV room to testify, so that they do not have to do so in open court and face the person accused of their abuse. The Oak Centre felt it was an important project as we know that children and youth feel more settled and less anxious when in a comfortable and welcoming environment. The new look of the room was modeled after the style used at Oak Centre. Thank you to Vernon Courthouse staff for your support in the completion of this beneficial project.

We are pleased to announce that the Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre received $340,000.00 in federal funding that will enable the centre to continue to support children and youth throughout the North Okanagan over three years ending March 2021. On August 13, 2019 Oak Centre staff and partners were happy to welcome Canada’s Attorney General and Justice Minister David Lametti to tour the Oak Centre and publically announce the funding. During his visit Minister Lametti acknowledged that, “Child and Youth Advocacy Centres, such as the Oak Centre at the Archway Society for Domestic Peace, provide vital services that make a difference for young victims of abuse and violence.” Federal funding has been an integral part of the Oak Centre success and continues to be vital to the centre’s ability to provide a safe space for children and youth who have experienced trauma to share their story and receive the necessary wrap around support and care.

April 2, 2018

We are thrilled to announce that Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre was the recipient of several grants, ensuring that the critical services provided to children and youth in the North Okanagan continue in to the future.

  • Department of Justice Canada has awarded Oak Centre $100,000 to be used for the next three years.
  • The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch of the Government of British Columbia has awarded Oak Centre a Civil Forfeiture Office Grant of $50,000, to be used over 2018 & 2019.
  • The Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General has awarded Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre with the Program Enhancement Grant for $27,475, to be used over 2018 & 2019.

February 27, 2018

100 Men representatives hand over the donation.

Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, along with two other worthy organizations, were invited to present at the 7th meeting of Vernon’s 100 Men Who Give a Damn on January 24, 2018. Despite a snowstorm raging outside, the group came together in full force, selecting Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre as the winner of the funds collected at the event. On February 27, 2018 three of the group’s organizers attended Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre for a tour of the facility and to formally present the funds raised at the 100 Men Who Give a Damn meeting, totaling an amazing $11,200.

Thanks to the generous donation from Vernon’s 100 Men Who Give a Damn, Oak Centre can continue to support children and youth within the North Okanagan. To learn more about this amazing local group check out their website vernons100men.com.

February 19, 2018
Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Tolko Industries – Lavington Planer for choosing to donate $1000 to Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. It would not be possible to provide these services and programs to children and youth without the support of our community, so on behalf of all Oak Centre staff and partners, please accept our thanks.

Thank you Kalamalka Rotary Club for donating $10,000 to Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. We could not have got up and running without your support!

 

Ribbon cutting ceremony at Oak Centre

Megan Turcato, Global News Staff -October 20, 2015

VERNON – A new advocacy centre for children and youth that have experienced trauma is opening in Vernon and it is the first of its kind in the Okanagan. The Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, that has been in the works for more than five years, officially opened its doors on Tuesday.

The project is a partnership between six organizations and is being headed up by the Vernon Women’s Transition House Society. The centre will help kids who have experienced trauma, including those who need to be interviewed by investigators.

“For children and youth that have experienced abuse or sexual assault [or] maybe witnessed a crime such as domestic violence, they will no longer have to go to the RCMP detachment to be interviewed. They will be able to come to Oak Centre, meet with a police officer and a social worker and tell their story,” says Brooke McLardy, the acting executive director of Vernon Women’s Transition House Society.

The aim is to consolidate the interview process so kids only have to be interviewed once. In a typical case, a plain clothes RCMP officer would interview the child in one room while social workers monitor the interview from next door. That way both police and child welfare officials get the answers they need without the child being interviewed twice.

“What we found in the system that we have currently is that it is very fragmented, kids are having to run all over town to tell their story and they are telling it multiple times which is very difficult for them,” says McLardy.

The opening is particularly meaningful for one Centre volunteer.

“[I’m] very excited it has been a long time coming and it is a great thing for our community,” says Krista Blankley. “It strikes close to home for me. I’ve gone through some similar situations. For me it means a lot because it is taking what use to be such a chopped up thing and putting it all together.”

The Centre expects to serve more than 250 kids each year who have experienced trauma. Some will only be seeking support, while others will use the Centre when they are interviewed for criminal cases.

Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, as well as the community programs of the Vernon Women’s Transition House Society, got a fresh coat of paint thanks to Dulux Paints, local painting contractors, and community volunteers. This incredible team effort got Oak Centre off to a great start as we prepared to open our doors to the children and youth of the North Okanagan. Thank you to Dulux Paints for the incredible donation of paint and supplies, and thanks to everyone who was able to lend a hand (or paw) that day.