Community Options Society

The Community Options Society (COS) has been a community partner of United Way Cowichan since 1986. COS is a leading organization dedicated to creating and providing opportunities that strengthen the bonds of young people to their families and the community by providing a range of counselling and support services.

In 2005 a female youth was faced with the reality of the loss of her only recognized father to cancer and the loss of her mother to mental health and addictions magnified by abnormal grieving. This young woman entered care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and felt absolutely alone in the world. An MCFD social worker referred services for this youth to COS where she received personal counselling and mediation for visitation with her mother throughout the first few years of separation.

The counsellor at COS supported, encouraged and respected the youth in ways she did not expect and did not know existed. The youth was able to feel as if she always had someone in her corner to help her with the ups and downs of regular teenaged life as well as coping with the life of being a foster child and all that came along with the loss of connection to biological family.

Through the support and guidance of this counsellor she learned not only to use her own voice but that if she so chose, she had the potential to help others as well. Upon graduating high school she pursued post-secondary education in social

work with the intention of helping other youths recognize the immense strength and potential within themselves and to one day work as a counsellor in a capacity similar what had helped her in the past.

COS did not just make a difference in that period of time in her life but in her future and in learning to trust in her own abilities and strengths. Recently, this same young woman was hired by COS and through her education and work experience is now able to fulfill a dream that she had since 14 years of age.

A donation to United Way will help COS to continue making huge differences in the lives of Cowichan Valley youths. Please call 250-748-1312 or visit our website: www.cowichanunitedway.com