If the Pine Free is terminated, our community, and specifically our youths, will experience an increase in drug abuse, suicide, STI's, depression, eating disorders, and pregnancy. It is effectively in the heart of Kitsilano. Let's keep our image, and more importantly, our youths clean and healthy.
Bryan Derek Ange LaRochelle
Captain of the Aquabus
Founder of Fair Trade Mob
"Mobbing is an antipredatorial behaviour. We unite to protect our city and our communities."
It greatly saddens me to see your organization put an end to the Pine Free Clinic on West 4th Avenue. It seems short notice and with a certain lack of information to the public. I first heard about this on the news. Wanting to know more I turned to the Internet but could not seem to find any useful information, so I went to the clinic to ask more questions. After badgering them for quite awhile, I found out the only thing they knew was that it is closing, not even when, just that it will be closed. This is not something you keep secret from the Kitsilano community. I can only assume you might be trying to save money for our government or for your organization. I guarantee this will in no way help the economy in our community. I recognize that this is a very popular business location, and that it could be exploited for economical gain. Respectfully, keeping it open would only contribute to ensuring that our future generations stay as healthy as possible and that they grow-up to be greater contributors and attributes to the economy.
Having such a place available to youth, and having it in the most convenient and well-known spot possible, is crucial. The current location is just that, it is the most effective place for a youth clinic to be. It is well known and easily accessible by bus; there are many parking options, and it is even walking distance for anyone who lives in Kitsilano. If you were to move it, or worse shut it down, you would be negatively affecting our community. Our community's foundation is youth; community centers, schools, clubs, families, groups of friends, and every individual. Just think how they would be affected by the loss of such a terrific place in the heart of our community.
The fact remains that there are always long line-ups at the Pine Free. That is proof enough that youth in Kitsilano are not only in need of help but are seeking it through this clinic. It can be hard for anyone to seek help sometimes. If you take away the most effective source of information and care that youths have, lives will be deteriorated at an early age. Youth is a crucial time in the development of self; where you begin to establish your independence and mature as a person. More so, the character and quality of this community will diminish over time. Taking this clinic away will result in a decrease in health and awareness in the youth population leading to an increase in drug abuse, suicide, STI's, depression, eating disorders, and pregnancy. These consequences will have long-term effects on their future adult lives. An ignorant and unhealthy future is bleak.
With whatever problem they may be facing, a teenager could be left with no help or support, especially when they cannot always go to their family for help. Teens are not poor, but they are still very much dependent on their parents. They are penniless most of the time and usually only get a small allowance or occasional lunch money. Most parents would not trust their kids with a lot of money, and rightfully so, but medical bills and prescriptions are expensive. This is why youths should be able to have easy access to free clinics. Notably since most parents keep their child's health card with them. If teens do not have access to enough money, support from loved ones, a health card, or help from a free clinic, our future leaders could get stuck with ever circling problems and corrupted youths.
Having been young, you sometimes get told to just be tough, grow up, get over it; basically learn to deal with your problems yourself. Even fully functioning adults seek help, but the difference is they have resources to fix their problems. When it comes to medical care this is not survival of the fittest, it needs to be a fair and functioning social construct. We should have a society that can rely on help from others, and build our sense of community. Alternatively, parents can often be overprotective of their children and can easily become overbearing. At Pine Free there is a sense of much needed understanding of specific problems to youth. When youth cannot seek help at home, or at school they need to be able to ask for help from somewhere anonymous and comfortable; The Pine Free Clinic.
I will be notifying everyone I can in this community and they will help to spread the word exponentially. This might seem like an overreaction to some, but the gravity of the situation has escalated because your organization did not properly inform us of plans that will greatly affect such an important group in our community. When I asked an employee at the Pine Free when it will close they said they only knew it was closing down and couldn't tell me when. Which means it could be shut down tomorrow. You are withholding information from the Kitsilano public. On your website* you do not have any news or events with any information regarding the Pine Free closing nor any on whether or not you are going to replace it. And when I searched through the locations link, there was nothing posted that lead to anything about the closing either. This lack of information is not acceptable.
Kitsilano is one of Vancouver's clean and healthy neighbourhoods. You can only worsen the Kitsilano image by doing this. If you terminate the Pine Free, you will be annihilating our positive youth presence in Kitsilano. It may be hard for some people to speak up about this because most of the health problems the Pine Free helps with are stigmatized and shunned, especially for youth. It is unfair to take away something so vital from those who cannot always speak up and defend themselves.
There must be another way to keep it funded. I am willing to start a fundraising organization that could one day entirely fund it with little to no help from the government. If you give the Pine Free Clinic and I one whole year to develop an organization that could do such fundraising, I guarantee you that we could fund it 100% within that year and on. The fact is it shouldn't take an organization to fund it, our community was promoting health in youths very well with the aid of the Pine Free.
Give us, the youth, a chance to be healthy. You are Vancouver Coastal Health. It is your duty. Our youth is the foundation for our future economy, community, demeanor, and our image. We must lead good examples and be models for the future.
*http://www.vch.ca/ and might I add I google searched Pine Free Clinic Closing, Pine Free Clinic News, and many other variations. Still after hours and hours of research I couldn't find anything that would help