The age-old saying “youth are our future,” still stands as true today as it ever has. Unfortunately, that future isn’t always paved evenly to the final destination. Our teams over at Youth Services are working hard to correct that. Under the umbrella that is Youth Services, we have phenomenal team members who work together tirelessly and blend their programs to ensure that they are always putting their youth first. In fact, our Youth Services has the least restrictive conditions and largest age range to guarantee that they are able to reach even more of our city’s at-risk youth.
With most youth programs running from ages 15 to 24, our Youth Outreach program runs till age 26 and has no restrictions for those who suffer from mental illness and addictions. This allows us to wrap around our youth community members and really make sure no one slips through the cracks. In fact, our Youth Services team spends a large majority of their day in their vehicles driving the city to better reach at risk youth. This common practice allows them to be able to put eyes on some of their higher risk youth that otherwise may not check in as frequently in the traditional drop-in style. It also enables them to provide rides to appointments, as well as the foodbank that their youth community members may not have had access to due to limited means of transportation, including lack of funds for public transportation.
It’s nearly impossible to cover all that our Youth Services team does for their community day in and day out, as each individual and their needs are as unique as they are. A day in the life of just one of our youth accessing our programs can range from support on learning how to schedule their own doctor’s appointments, to learning how to maintain a safe living space - All of which our team is well prepared and happy to assist with.
They approach their work holistically in a safe and respectful environment, being mindful of and working in tandem with those experiencing multi-generational trauma, as well as striving to make sure that the youth and their families feel included and valued from the very beginning.
It is their aim to enhance previously existing community connections, as well as foster and maintain new ones that allow long-term support for the youth as they journey on through to adulthood.
A great success story, of many that Youth Services could bring forward, is that of 'C,' a 20-year-old Indigenous female with a 1-and-a-half-year-old son, 'A.' C’s story is sadly not far off from many other Indigenous females in our community, her past riddled with hardships starting back from when she was only a few hours old when she was placed into the care of Child and Family Services. At the age of just ten years old, C found herself homeless, left to couch surf, which only came to an end this past year and a half. 2020 saw C ringing in the new year, homeless, pregnant with her son, and struggling to find a place in the world. Facing multiple serious charges and an unhealthy relationship where she was subjected to numerous counts of domestic violence, she admitted to staff at Youth Services that this was her “rock bottom.” However, everything began to change for C in June of 2020 when she gave birth to her beautiful baby boy. She attributes her drastic lifestyle change to becoming a mother and the aid of our Youth Services team. Together they worked hard on the new life that C so desperately wanted for her son.
She put in the effort and worked hard during this time. Cutting off all previous toxic ties to members in her community that did not help her move forward, she took step after step towards a new and healthier support network which included members of her family.
C abstained from drug use and alcohol, completed various counselling and assessments, began to address her legal troubles, and started to develop cultural connections as well as following through on her safety plan and obtained housing. C and her son now live in a building that focuses on Indigenous families, as well as healing and reconciliation. She still connects with her supports on a weekly basis and utilizes them appropriately. She aspires to attend post-secondary school to do Mechanic work. C thanks her son for giving her this second chance at life.
This life-changing work that is being done every day over at Youth Services can be even furthered by you. There are so many daily expenses at Youth Services that the budget unfortunately cannot stretch to. Sometimes this means that youth who need to obtain important medical prescriptions have to go without. Simple things like bus tickets, clean underwear, and snacks can make a world of difference over at Youth Services. When you donate to Boyle Street Community Services, you support this team and their initiatives. Learn more about how you can donate through the link: boylestreet.org/donate
If you know of a youth at risk, or you yourself identify as an at-risk youth, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Youth Services is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30m pm at the Community Centre. They can also be reached by phone at 780.336.5822 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org