The Cowichan Valley School District is making a foray into mental health education.

The next school year will see the start of a partnership between the board and Take a Hike Cowichan, a foundation aimed at engaging with vulnerable youth. They’ll be working together to provide a full-time program.

Take a Hike operates a full-time program which operates under four pillars: academics, counselling, adventure, and community.

They already work with five school districts across the province in Vancouver, West Kootenays, Burnaby, Delta and Nanaimo.

On their website, they boast a 97% high school graduation rate of youth in their program which they say exceeds the provincial graduation rate of 84%.

“We are grateful that we have been able to make this crucial partnership,” says Candace Spilsbury, Board of Education Chair for the Cowichan Valley School District. “Providing wrap-around supports outside a traditional school schedule or function will help ensure every student can receive what they need to thrive.”

The district says they are actively recruiting for students to enter the program for next year. Any interested parties are being asked to contact the head office for Cowichan Valley Open Learning.