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Campbell River’s Get the Point project helps clean streets, break down stigma

Get the Point is part of the KDC Health peer mentorship program, which is looking to expand

The Kwakiutl District Council Health Office’s Mobile Outreach Team has gotten some funding for their new Get the Point program from the Kinsmen Club of Campbell River.

Members from Kinsmen delivered a $4,000 cheque to Leanne McIntee of the MOUHSS (Mobile Outreach Unit for Health and Support Services) team that will go towards the program. McIntee explained that Get the Point is a peer-led program that brings people who are current or former substance users to help clean up the city and to break down some barriers within the community.

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“What we’re doing is we’re enabling folks with lived or living experience to come out and do some work to clean up around the community and also reduce some of that stigma for folks who either live outside or have lived outside in the past,” McIntee said. “It’s anti-stigma as well as a cleanup program for the community.”

Ray Goodwin is a Peer Leader for the MOUHSS program and the Get the Point project. Part of his job is recruiting folks to take part in the program.

“I try and recruit people who are trying to get out of their addiction that show some sort of promise,” he said. “I also try to get people that aren’t too. A lot of people never worked before in their life, so this is the first step to finding themselves and their self worth.”

The program runs three days a week. While it gives people the chance to help clean up the community, the main draw of it is the chance to break down stigmas and barriers between people in Campbell River, showing that all are members of the same community and deserve to be treated with dignity.

“A lot of businesses really appreciate what we’re doing and that’s good,” Goodwin added. “I get to talk to them one-on-one to get that stigma away so they look at us as people, not just people on the street.”

The Get the Point project has approximately six regular volunteers who come out to help clean up. It also attracts some people who come out on a one-time basis depending on the day. McIntee said that the $4,000 from Kinsmen will help keep the program running and will go towards increasing the types of mentorship programming that is run under the Mobile Outreach umbrella at KDC Health.

“It’s about giving people an option to do something different. If folks are actively using, they can still come out and clean up, that’s fine. There are some folks who are living outside who want to do something different. There’s folks that are using substances that want to reduce their intake. There’s people that haven’t used for a year, but are struggling because they don’t have a community. COVID-19 didn’t help that,” McIntee said.

“Ray, being a Peer Leader is connected to those folks in a way that is healthy and safe to them because he has an understanding of what it’s like to battle addiction and to live outside and fight for what you need,” she added. “Having Ray out there and being able to connect with them on a mentorship level gives them the opportunity to say ‘hey, I can do this too.’”

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