CEYS is looking to connect with the Tri Region service organizations for a youth shelter
By Mamta Lulla
Communities Empowering Youth For Success (CEYS) wants to help the youth in the Town of Stony Plain, City of Spruce Grove and Parkland County.
Graeme Dawes, CEYS chair, said one of the ways to make a difference is by having a youth shelter in the community.
CEYS ran a Temporary Youth Emergency Shelter Pilot project in 2011 at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Stony Plain – seven days a week. With limited funding, the shelter could only run for six months. The shelter operated for kids with mental health or addictions issues and those experiencing homelessness.
The program was successful, said Dawes, housing about 35 kids and teens, from 9:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. Some of the kids kept coming back on a regular basis to get a good night’s sleep.
Now CEYS wants to open up similar shelter – this time by partnering with other agencies in the Tri-Region.
Dawes said although the church where the pilot program ran out of, was safe, not a lot of the “street kids” wanted to come.
He is hoping to connect with an agency with an existing shelter where kids can have a safe place to sleep.
“(Connect) with an agency already providing a shelter,” he said.
The organization hosts get together events once every quarter in hopes to connect with local organizations like FCSS. The next get together is scheduled March 5 at the Family Connection Centre in Stony Plain.
“We invite FCSS, First Nations groups, Alberta For the Future Association (APFA), anyone that deals with youth side of social services,” he said.
Dawes said there’s a need for a youth shelter in the community. He said a lot of the young homeless people are taken to shelters in Edmonton, only to find no spaces available there.
Another issue for young people is going back and forth between Edmonton, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County.
For this reason, CEYS also started a Grab a Taxi program that helped them go from point A to point B. The money for the program also came from a one-time grant.
But given the success of the program, CEYS has applied for another grant and hopes to her back by the end of April.
To learn more about CEYS, visit www.ceysuccess.com
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