Reaching out to a population at risk

Ha-Shilth-Sa, August 23, 2011

The barbecue helped to build relationships between service providers and Port Alberni’s inner-city at-risk population and provide information about services.

Port Alberni — 

Port Alberni—John Gomez is called the wellness outreach worker at Quu%asa, but this is just a fancy title for family member and friend.

Gomez works with the “high risk” Nuu-chah-nulth population of Port Alberni letting them know that, whatever their circumstances, they have not been forgotten and that they are not alone. Family is only a call away, and if they have a problem he’ll be there.

“I’ll meet them anywhere,” Gomez said. And if he can’t help them, he’ll get them to people who can.

That’s why on Aug. 23, Gomez and the Quu%asa program arranged a barbecue at Dry Creek Park beside the friendship centre. It’s the second year for the barbecue, but the Quu%asa program tries to provide lunches many times a year.

Not only was there food for the stomach, but Quu%asa arranged for service providers, like VIHA public health and mental health and addictions, to be on hand to provide information.

Janice Jesperson, the clinical coordinator for health outreach programs, said the barbecue was a way to develop or improve relationships with clients.                                                                                                      

By Debora Steel