Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Race success will help end youth homelessness

Opinion

To the Editor:

On behalf of Pictou County Roots for Youth, I’d like to express my gratitude to our community for their support of our first annual Routes to Riches Race.

We had 24 teams totalling about 90 individuals who took part, and collectively they raised over $13,000 for our organization.

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A big thank you to our sponsors:  Scotiabank, East Coast FM, Sobeys, My Home Apparel, Speedy Autoglass, Pictou Lodge, Chapel Cove Chocolate as well as some private donors who set us up for success. Special thanks to Joe and Marie Roberts of The Push for Change as well as Jillian, Emmett and Antoine (Tetreault) from The Amazing Race Canada who made our day extra special.

Here at PC Roots for Youth, we want to end rural youth homelessness. To tackle this problem effectively, we have to

1. prevent it before it happens

2. deal with it when it happens, and

3. help to reintegrate youth back into the community with support so they don’t end up homeless again in the future.

For us, prevention means running programs for vulnerable youth and intervening before the crisis hits. These programs help us to connect with young people in our community to make sure they know we’re here and we’re on their side.

Dealing with it when it happens means providing shelter for youth who can’t be at home. The average youth stays with us for two months and receives connection to approximately five services in our community that they weren’t accessing prior to arriving at Roots House. While they’re here, we work with them to plan their next steps and access housing that is affordable and safe. We’ve helped 15 youth in the past 12 months end their homelessness.

Reintegration into our community means that even after they leave Roots House, they remain connected to us. Each youth who comes through Roots is offered mentorship with one of our volunteers. They are also welcome to visit us during our open Drop In sessions (which are held daily from 4:30 to 8 p.m.) as often as they wish. No young person should feel like they are alone in the world.

Our community’s support of us through the Race, through private donations and from organizations such as the United Way, ensures that we can continue the work we are doing to help the most vulnerable among us. So from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Stacey Dlamini
Director, Pictou County Roots for Youth

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