Kitimat City High down LINK worker

Kitimat City High has lost their Community LINK worker.

Kitimat City High has lost their Community LINK worker as the Kitimat Child Development Centre dealt with reduced LINK funding this year.

Coast Mountains School District Chair Art Erasmus said that the district receives a certain amount of money for LINK programs but this year they received far more requests for the funding than was available.

The Kitimat Child Development Centre (CDC) is contracted for some services in the Kitimat area and Erasmus said they received $110,000 this year in LINK funds, with another $40,000 going directly to the schools from the district for related programming.

But that amount is down $80,000 for the CDC, the Centre said in a press statement.

LINK stands for Learning Includes Nutrition Knowledge, and is used both for food programs and for assisting vulnerable students.

Erasmus said that demand for LINK funding last year was almost entirely equal with the supply of money they received from the government, but demand went up for 2012 while money went down. Last year, $750,000 was available with $730,000 in requests. This year they had $1.2 million in requests for only $600,000 available.

“So last year we could meet just about everything. This year we could meet half of what was requested,” he said.

The CDC said in their statement that the reduction in LINK services was made with input from their Community Oversight Committee. There will be coverage for both elementary schools and Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School this year.

“This reduction in coverage is very concerning as vulnerable youth are affected by another service cut,” the CDC said. “The LINK program in Kitimat employs social workers to work collaboratively within the schools supporting students and families so student success at school is enhanced.”

The loss will be felt among the student body at Kitimat City High, says principal Sheila McInnis. Particularly as the high school has felt a series of cuts over the past couple of years; she said hours have been cut to their rehabilitation workers, they lost a full time teacher a year ago, administration time has been cut back and a district counsellor position has also been lost.

“Having the Community Link worker really helped fill some of those voids,” said McInnis.

While adults in the school will adjust to not having the worker, she said it will be a drastic change to the students.

“The adults will adjust. It’s the children who’ll feel the loss of having that connection,” she said.

City High’s LINK worker was Sandy Correia, who said her role covered a wide range of subjects, from connecting students to the resources they needed (for example mental health and addictions counsellors and doctors) and would follow through to make sure students made those appointments.

She also led groups that taught lessons such as how to rent apartments and how to deal with crises at home while allowing them to stay in class.

“The point was for them to stay in school, not just give up because everything else is falling apart,” said Correia.

With the position now gone, she worries about the students she’s leaving behind.

“I worry about them dropping out, not having that connection to the school,” she said. “I worry they won’t get there in the morning, or they won’t be able to get their work done, they just won’t go to school because there’s no one making sure that they’re doing all that.”

She said that, in one capacity or another, she dealt with nearly every student who attended Kitimat City High, which is currently 45.

The highlight of her job would be seeing a student from the start of their education all the way to graduation.

“It was a challenging job but it was a job that I loved.”

Just Posted

Construction of LNG Canada plant still on hold

Construction will only begin following a positive final investment decision

VIDEO: Watch ex-Kitimat video director Stephano Barberis’ new reel, featuring his own new music

Breathe of My Leaves music project debuts ‘Chimera’ album of electronic sounds

Sulphur dioxide pollution over Kitimat could be eliminated after 2024

New process will eliminate SO2 as a byproduct

Kitimat, Terrace home sales up from 2017

Optimism surrounding a potentially positive LNG decision one of the factors

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Most Read