Nurturing Youth Towards Success and Independence
Through supportive and innovated programs, our youth are afforded a sense of belonging, offered a feeling of family and home. Programs are designed to allow youth opportunities to socialize with other Crown Wards that share similar experiences. Siblings that do not reside in the same home will often attend together and visit. Our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a group of young advisers who have grown up as Crown Wards and have participated with our Youth Programs and play an active role in creating and recommending activities that meet the needs of today’s youth in care.
New Outlooks & Beginnings (NOB) Program
The New Outlooks and Beginnings (NOB) program supports our youth in their preparation for and transition to independence. The program works with young people to encourage positive life choices. The NOB Team works with youth aged 15 – 21 as they transition from foster care to living independently in the community. Supports include helping them set up households, learn life skills and establish goals and crisis management techniques. Life skills they learn include banking, budgeting, filing taxes, shopping for groceries and cooking. The program operates with direction from our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), endeavouring to meet the growing needs of today’s youth.
Home for the Holidays
10 years ago, we embarked on our – “Home for the Holidays” initiative in which we welcome our youth home to our St. Catharines office for a holiday celebration, including a traditional dinner, gifts and belongingness. We offer these events five times a year; Family Day; Easter, Summer Barbeque, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In essence, these youth are able to “come home” to the Society’s office and we as staff and corporate parents are able to prepare and serve them traditional holiday dinners. It is an unfortunate reality that these youth may not otherwise be able to participate in a holiday dinner with all of the traditional trimmings given that they are or were permanent wards of the Agency and may not have a family to return home to for the holidays. An integral component of the celebration is that all youth leave the event with care packages, including food, seasonal gifts and houseware items that assist their transition to independence.
Home for the Holidays also conjure a sense of responsibility and celebration in the Agency staff as they partake in the event and can meet and support our youth in ways that they may not typically be able to. Staff from various departments in the Agency have donated their time, baking and gifts for the youth. These events allow staff an opportunity to demonstrate caring, one of our Agency’s values.