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Input sought on new youth centre

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Journal Staff

It’s not easy for adolescents in Sarnia to find a judgment-free place to talk about daily stresses, relax and make new friends.

At least that’s what Matt used to think.

The 14-year-old is among a group of youth providing input for a collaboration by 19 local agencies and groups working to create a youth “hub model” in Sarnia-Lambton.

“To have a place that offers a bunch of services, that is a good idea,” he said.

The collaboration, which is moving into Phase Two, is inviting youth to share their thoughts at an input session on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at Sarnia Lambton Rebound.

Co-chair Teri Thomas-Vanos said a report based on feedback from community groups, parents and youth during Phase One identified the need for a hub to provide youth services in a more innovative way.

“Unfortunately, the most significant finding is one that many of us don’t want to hear and struggle to believe to be true within the boundaries of our comfortable community.

“Safe, adequate housing is a growing need for many transitional-aged youth in Sarnia- Lambton.”

It’s vital for our community to meet the basic needs of young person, Thomas-Vanos said.

“Food, shelter and a sense of safety are the building blocks to future positive outcomes.”

The research project looked at successful partnerships in other communities and found that one-stop, multi-purpose youth centres have high participation rates.

Twelve community service providers are committed to creating an innovative new system for youth, said Thomas-Vanos, who also serves as Sarnia Lambton Rebound’s Executive Director.

Youth have so far said they want a place “to chill, meet up with friends, access health information, take a class, connect to employment services, a food bank or counselling, do laundry, enroll in a parenting program, (with) more long-term support such as youth-friendly safe housing and independent living skills,” Thomas-Vanos said.

Matt said such a project is long overdue.

“It sounds like a great format that would help young people,” he said.

Collaboration partners include Huron House Boys Home, Inn of the Good Shepherd, Canadian Mental Health Association, Lambton Mental Wellness Centre, Ontario Works, St. Clair Child and Youth, Bluewater Health, Neighbourhood Link, Lambton College, Pathways, Family Counselling Centre, Sarnia Lambton Rebound, John Howard Society, Lambton Public Health, Youth Probation, Sarnia Police Services Youth Bureau, County of Lambton and Aamjiwnaang First Nation.


WHAT: Youth Input Session for a new youth community hub.

WHERE: Sarnia Lambton Rebound, 10 Lorne Crescent, Dow Centre for Youth (corner of Indian and Wellington).

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

OTHER: Food will be provided. For more contact Teri Thomas-Vanos, 519-344-2841, or email [email protected]



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