The COVE is being developed in response to needs made evident through recent community assessments conducted by the San Juan Island Community Foundation and Peace Island Health. As the islands are somewhat isolated, services for youth on the islands is sparse. There is no community based youth advocacy or crisis services available. Substance abuse among the island youth is higher than the state average in almost every category. For example, 10th graders in San Juan county are more likely to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, or use marijuana than 10th graders in Washington State, as reported in Peace Health's Community Health Needs Assessment (2014, p. 17)*.
Providing a youth center in the San Juan Islands fills a crucial gap in services for this population, as well as offers a safe space with age appropriate activities where youth can engage in positive supervised activities of their choice.