While most of us were off relaxing this weekend, Alongside You turned two. To say that the time has gone fast would be a massive understatement. I still remember sitting on the couch with Meg when we had made the decision for me to leave my permanent job in the health authorities and for us to open an integrated health clinic. I’m pretty sure the looks on both of our faces would have read something along the lines of, “Are we really doing this?”
See, for many different reasons, this was probably not the smartest move. I had a permanent position in the health authorities that paid well, gave us health benefits, paid time off, and flexibility for me to do some private work, and take time off when I needed to help out at home after the accident. Meg was still in no shape to do any work of consequence, but she had a feeling she may be able to do something as long as it was based around her rehab schedule and how she was doing that day. You see, we had a dream; a dream that we knew had a real possibility of changing lives, including our own. We had a dream to build a team of people who not only were excellent in their field, but shared our vision: to make integrated health care, that cared for the whole person, accessible to anyone regardless of income. This was a big ask of ourselves, and of our staff because we knew that this would require sacrifices from all of us to make the dream happen.
It is with great joy, and gratitude that Meg and I would like to share a few details of what has happened in two years at Alongside You.
600+ new clients receiving services
4400+ hours of services provided
1000s of hours of volunteer work in the community
Over $125,000 in subsidized services provided
Nobody turned away due to lack of funds
Anyone who has met Meg or I know that we wear our hearts on our sleeves. We’ve both been overwhelmed by emotions over the past two years when we’ve been able to observe what has been happening and the lives that have changed through our little clinic.
As a part of celebrating our two-year anniversary, we thought it might be good to share some of what’s happened and what we’ve been a part of in the community for the past two years, and a little bit of what’s coming up in the next year!
Some highlights of the past 2 years at Alongside You
- Starting with one counsellor, and building to a staff of 10+ and holistic services to meet the needs of clients including Occupational Therapy, Registered Dietitian services, Neurofeedback, Therapeutic Yoga, Pelvic Rehabilitation, Therapeutic Arts, and more!
- Building a Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) program that provides help to some of the most at-risk clients across the Greater Vancouver area and Fraser Valley and has greatly reduced hospitalizations and has had no clients take their lives while in our care.
- Providing therapeutic art services for at risk youth, South Delta Home Learners, rec therapy clients from Fraser Health, and more.
- Facilitating community art projects with local businesses and groups.
- Writing a monthly column in the Delta Optimist about integrating art with daily life.
- Starting up a Friday Night Knitting club based on a request from the community, and using it as a platform to support the Step Forward Program.
- Volunteering our time with the Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team and providing consulting work by going into schools and youth groups to find out what is, and isn’t working for youth and finding ways to fill gaps in services
- Successfully recruiting one family doctor, and together with the Delta Division of Family Practice, placing him in a local medical clinic
- Building an internship program working with local universities to provide clinical supervision and training for Masters students, which further reduce barriers to accessing counselling for the local community
- Started the Step Forward Program that provides further subsidy for services for those who need some extra financial help
- We were honoured to be the recipients of the Rising Star of the Year award from the Delta Chamber of Commerce, awarded to the best new business for 2016.
I could go on, but we have to stop somewhere. As exciting as it is to review some of what’s happened in the past 2 years, I’m even more excited about what’s coming up!
What we’re doing now, and into the future
More services for kids!
We are expanding our services to kids, including counselling and groups. Starting this month, we will offer Taming The Worry Dragons, a great program offered at BC Children’s Hospital, but lacking in our local community. It’s a great program for anxious kids to learn skills to manage their anxieties.
Next, we’ll be offering the CHI Kids program from Michelle Kambolis, which builds on the CBT approach and integrates art, creativity, and yoga. This will launch in late fall or early 2018.
Rolling out a Substance Use and Addictions Program
Starting this fall, we are developing and rolling out a full addictions program. We will start with a men’s group twice per month, and build to a full after-care program that is integrated with inpatient treatment centres to make sure that clients coming home from treatment have somewhere to follow up and continue their work. We will be working with other local businesses to integrate the full spectrum of services needed!
Expanding our Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Program
Starting this month, we have doubled our DBT groups. We will continue the Saturday group that meets from 10am-12pm, and be adding another group on Thursday evenings from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
We are also starting a DBT group for Youth – we’re not quite finished building out this program but look for an announcement toward the end of September!
We are also expanding the availability of our 1:1 DBT services, and Share Forde will be adding 1:1 hours on Wednesday mornings.
LGBTQ support groups
We are working on starting up support groups for LGBTQ youth, and for their families. We are in the development stage and hope to launch these this fall, or early 2018.
Services for Chronic Pain and Chronic Conditions
While we already provide individualized support for people struggling with chronic conditions, we’re expanding our services to create a variety of options for our local community. We’ll start with a chronic pain support group using Mindfulness Based Art activities, starting in January 2018. Stay tuned for details!
South Surrey Office – January 2018
We’re in preparations to open a South Surrey office in January 2018. It will start small, with counselling, neurofeedback, registered dietitian services, dialectical behaviour therapy for individuals and groups, and consulting services and growing from there. Stay tuned, details will be announced this Fall!
Expanding The Step Forward Program
The Step Forward Program has been a great success, and we’re looking to expand it further and make it more sustainable. We’re developing a sponsorship program where individuals and businesses can join with us to provide funding for services, and receive benefits as well for participation. Look for more details this fall.
As you can see, we’re pretty excited and we could go on, but we need to stop somewhere! We would be remiss if we didn’t say a few thankyou’s to those who have made all of this possible along the way. We can’t thank everyone here, but know that if you’ve been a part of it, we are very grateful. We are grateful to the community of South Delta who have embraced us, and used our services. We are grateful to our unbelievable staff who have joined our vision, and enabled us to say yes to people when they’ve needed help and couldn’t afford it. We are grateful to donors who have come alongside us, and given us money to provide services to clients even though they get no tax break – they simply wanted people to get help.
Finally, we want to thank our family and friends. It takes a great deal of support to pull something like this off and whether it’s been helping with renovations, taking care of our kids, or just checking to see how we’re doing, we truly appreciate it.
Meg and I both feel very honoured to have been a part of the South Delta community since 2006, and now for two years as a part of Alongside You. With your support, we look forward to many more years serving our hometown and beyond.
Alongside You is an award-winning, integrated health agency in the heart of Ladner, BC, and they serve a wide range of clientele in Ladner, Delta, Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Langley and surrounding areas. They provide accessible health care to anyone in their communities, because people matter.
If you would like more information about what Alongside You is doing in the community, please contact Andrew Neufeld at 604.283.7827 ext. 701, Meg Neufeld at ext. 703, or email them at email@example.com.