Restaurateur Kjeryn Dakin and Alberta radio host Randi Chase are on a mission to create welcoming spaces for struggling youth across the province (Contributed photo)

Restaurateur Kjeryn Dakin and Alberta radio host Randi Chase are on a mission to create welcoming spaces for struggling youth across the province (Contributed photo)

New program aims to connect with struggling Central Alberta youth

The Yellow Butterfly Program is on a mission to create welcoming spaces for struggling youth across the province.

The program is the brainchild of Sylvan Lake Town Councillor and restaurateur Kjeryn Dakin and Alberta radio host Randi Chase, who first piloted the outreach project in 2021 at Dakin’s Sylvan Lake eatery Bukwildz in an effort to provide a safe space connector for struggling youth to enjoy a free meal and access vital resources if they wish.

In a release, the program directors pointed to Government of Alberta’s statistics, which indicate suicide is the leading cause of death among Alberta youth aged 15 to 19, with depression the largest disabler.

“We saw a tremendous need for this program not just in Sylvan Lake but across the province,” says Dakin. “We chose a yellow butterfly as a symbol of the transformation, hope and optimism we want our youth to feel. Our hope for this program is that it opens the lines of communication for youth and shows them that their community cares and that they are valued.”

Dakin and Chase say they are looking to grow the initative province-wide.

“Our mission is simple,” says Chase. “To give at risk youth, spaces to feel seen and heard where they can find connections to the proper resources if they wish to access them. Our hope is to provide youth with a welcome space, a warm meal and the comfort of knowing that they are supported, loved and have people who will listen.”

Participating restaurants will be provided with resources, orientation and a yellow butterfly insignia to affix to their window or storefront to indicate that it is part of the program and a safe space where youth can seek shelter, find refuge and access resources.

For those interested in the program, you can email info@yellowbutterflyprogram.com, follow @yellowbutterflyprogram on Instagram or become a friend of /YellowButterflySociety on Facebook.

They will also host a launch for The Yellow Butterfly Society on May 4 between 12 and 1 p.m. at Bukz Restaurant.

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