Youth in grades 7-9 enjoy games and conversation at the SOS School Nite Out Program in Parksville. The popular program is expanding to Qualicum Beach, and SOS will have a grand opening for the program at Qualicum Commons on April 1. - Lissa Alexander photo

SOS youth program expands to Qualicum Beach

Youth in Qualicum and the surrounding areas in Grades 7-9 can drop by the grand opening on April 1

There is a need for more youth programs in Qualicum Beach, and that’s why the SOS School Nite Out program is expanding to Qualicum Commons on April 1.

“We currently offer one program for youth at our Qualicum Beach location and it is very well-attended,” said SOS executive director Susanna Newton. “In Parksville, our School Nite Out program is very popular, and many of those youth live in Qualicum Beach, so it makes sense to open a second youth program in Qualicum, and create more space for youth to attend at both locations.”

Sage Herrett attends the School Nite Out program in Parksville and said he loves it.

“It’s a great place to hang out and unwind with other people,” he said. “Some people have social anxiety and this lifts those people up. They can open up to people here.”

Kaiden Beal also attends the program and said that the staff and volunteers put time in to make sure it’s really fun and he appreciates that. He added that it’s a place where youth learn to be respectful and get along with others.

School Nite Out is a free program for youth in Grades 7, 8 and 9. Participants attend the program once a week and play games, go on outings, do activities and eat wholesome food prepared by SOS staff and volunteers. The program is supported by donations and purchases made at the SOS Thrift Shop, community donations, and volunteer assistance.

Brandi Klyne’s two children attend the School Nite Out program in Parksville and she said it’s been very valuable.

“I’m sure that there are a lot of parents out there like us that can’t always afford to do the great things SOS does for them – taking them to special places like the movies and Airhouse [sports complex], nerf gun wars, and all that kind of stuff,” she said.

Klyne said the activities planned are not always things you would think of as parent, when often you’re busy making sure homework is done, lunches are packed, and other tasks at home are complete.

“I think it’s enriched their lives a lot,” she said. “And it’s somewhere they feel safe, they feel like there’s someone there they can talk to, people that listen to them that are not parents, aunts, uncles or teachers. They are trusted adults that have kids’ best interests in mind.”

Youth in Qualicum Beach and the surrounding areas in Grades 7-9 are welcome to drop by the grand opening of the School Nite Out program on April 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For Qualicum Commons, 744 Primrose St. There will be food, games, activities and more. For more information on the program call 250-248-2093 ext. 232, email childandyouth@sosd69.com or visit www.sosd69.com.

— Submitted by Lissa Alexander, marketing co-ordinator at SOS

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