Bringing an Integrated Youth Services Centre to Guelph and Wellington County
A grassroots community initiative is well underway, led by the Rotary Club of Guelph. It will bring an integrated youth services centre to Wellington County and the City of Guelph, where youth age 12-26 are at the centre of services that are available in our community and youth have equal access to a continuum of services from employment to mental health and addiction services. Our vision includes service providers working together to enhance the integration of services and build a system to better meet the needs of youth in our community.
On November 24, 2018 the Rotary Club of Guelph working collaboratively with the Guelph YMCA/YWCA, GCF and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington hosted a one-day workshop to examine the viability and willingness to create a youth hub. A wide range of stakeholders were invited to participate in the workshop including youth from the Guelph YMCA/YWCA, City of Guelph Youth Council, and Rotaract. Over 30 different agencies heard experts giving presentations on relevant topics including the current mental health and addiction crisis in Guelph and Wellington County and what a youth hub model looks like.
Results were not surprising. Everyone acknowledged that there is an overwhelming need to do things differently, that it will take our entire Community working together to change the alarming trends and trajectory of what we are currently witnessing.
What is an Integrated youth Service model?
A “one-stop-shop” for youth aged 12-26 designed to meet a wide range of needs across the continuum, including mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing and other community and social services. Co-designed with youth, they are created to include peer services, outreach, and system-navigation services. Services emphasize quality, are timely, integrated and co-located, making it incredibly easy for youth to get what they need, when they need it.
How you Can Help:
As a partner, GCF has created two funds for immediate expenses and an endowment fund for long term sustainablity. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of local youth and would like to help us build ayouth model this is an option for you. Anyone can donate any amount to these funds.
We are proposing that the initial stage of this project focuses on physical co-locations in both rural and urban locations for youth, including the creation of a network with multiple locations in Guelph and Wellington County centrally located where a youth can access community services. This new model of care would consist of the integrated approach provided through youth friendly locations that are easily accessible and provide services on both walk-in and appointment bases.
Rotary Club of Guelph, GCF, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington, Guelph YMCA/YWCA, Wellington Catholic District School Board, Upper Grand District School, Family and Child Services , Wyndham House, WWLHIN, Youth Representative, Michael House, Wellington County, The Guelph Public Library, Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health, Portage, The United Way GWD, University of Guelph, and Big Brothers Big Sister’s Centre Wellington.
Long Term Funding:
In its entirety, this project will take a large amount of funding to be fully implemented. We are building with a vision of ten years of sustainable funding. We know this will take time and have agreed to build in stages. We are a strong committed community and are very motivated to make this happen.
As we move this project forward, we are demonstrating our community is willing to do what it takes to meet the needs of our youth in an integrated and innovative way. We know our current system isn’t working. This model provides us with an opportunity to offer wrap around services for our youth placing them at the centre of their care. We have no doubt that this model will save the lives of our youth by responding to their needs at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way.