Star Moraff, left, and Emma Epp are Parkland Secondary School students who are helping get the word out to their peers about the Peninsula Youth Health Clinic, a free, confidential space for youth 12 to 24. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Star Moraff, left, and Emma Epp are Parkland Secondary School students who are helping get the word out to their peers about the Peninsula Youth Health Clinic, a free, confidential space for youth 12 to 24. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Youth clinic in Sidney extended into the summer

Plenty of youth using after-hours service for variety of health needs

An after-hours clinic for youth in Sidney is being extended another month, after very positive reception by the community and an abundance of people using the clinic’s services.

Originally open in June and July only, the Peninsula Youth Health Clinic will continue through August and one of the main organizers hopes to be able to keep it going even longer.

“When something like this starts, it shows you just how many people have been waiting for it,” says Jen Harrison, Youth and Family Engagement Coordinator with theSouth Island Division of Family Practice.

Harrison, in Facebook posts with the News Review, wrote that the youth are using a variety of the clinic’s services, meaning the physicians donating their time to the clinic are reaching a wide range of young people with various needs.

Helping spur on youth visits to the clinic, Harrison said, is the youth volunteers, who have been out in the community, talking about the clinic.

“They are currently creating a resource card to give out to youth across the region once school starts. It will include emergency numbers and help lines for youth-related concerns.”

The youth volunteers reach their peers easier by getting out into the community, with information, condoms, and even tampons.

“We welcome anyone who wants to help out,” Harrison continued. “We also will have Jennifer Gibson, educator with Island Sexual Health, coming out and she wants to offer sexual health (education) and health relationship workshops.”

Harrison added they’ve received interest in their program from the municipalities of Sidney and North Saanich and they are reaching out to local service groups for any potential support to cover their costs and to keep their doors open longer.

“The costs aren’t high as long as the doctors keep getting youth through the door,” she explained. “In B.C., we are working on a fee for service model, so this is how we pay the bills.”

Harrison added the clinic workers are also working with area First Nations t ensure they are offering service to youth living on local reserves.

“To make this a year-long service, we need lots of cooperation form all sectors … this is a community effort.”

She credits the work of doctors Kate Evans and Lori Vogt, calling them linchpins.

“They are personally driven to offer this service and that is not something easy to replicate.”

The youth clinic takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. every Thursday evening at the Ocean Pier Medical Clinic on Beacon Avenue in Sidney. For information, call or text 250-216-8389.

editor@peninsulanewsreview.com