COVID-19: At-risk youth get traction via Edmonton John Howard Society run option

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When Ryan Christian Anderson was a youngster, he delivered newspapers while running.

The co-ordinator of theBridges program at Howard House, an eight-bed residential treatment program focused on high risk youth between 14 and 19 is still running, but this time with a few of his charges in tow.

“I’d have to say I was probably pretty mediocre track athlete,” laughs Anderson, who has been with the Bridges program for 17 years now. “I always enjoyed it though, and in this particular time it’s something people can do to help with their physical and mental health.”

It took quite some time for Anderson to convince his wary employers that it was a good idea to take high risk youth out on the running trails, but now everybody is fully on board.

Partnered with the Solicitor General of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton Public Schools, and the Edmonton John Howard Society, the program is run by Anderson and Bridges recreation coordinator Catherine Sanford. It’s something of a reward for the kids, who are battling addiction and mental health issues. Unfortunately COVID-19 has entered the picture; with reduced numbers due to COVID-19, Anderson is currently running with two at his side.