Every year, United Way invests in different priority areas that strengthen our community. In 2015, one of their priority areas was All That Kids Can Be. The initiative funds programs for children and youth age 21 and younger and is designed to encourage children and youth to reach their full potential. Programs funded through this priority are designed to contribute to increasing connectedness and community involvement, increasing engagement in learning and increasing emotional and physical wellbeing.
Through this initiative, the United Way is currently providing support to three important programs at the RAFT, designed to build resiliency, independent and self-esteem. These include Steps to independent living, Home from School and Youth Reconnect
Steps to Independent Living is designed to support and enhance existing community services. Programs are based on the H.E.L.P. (Health, Employment, Life Skills, Prevention) standards. The service works with youth on two levels of support. The first level is to provide hands on concrete services to the youth. The second level is to connecting the youth to the community through a community plan that addresses employment, housing, education and social support issues.
Youth Reconnect focuses on reconnecting hostel youth back to their community and supporting the development of personal independence. With the help of a community team consisting of representatives from education, mental health, Ontario Works and their prime case worker a community re-integration plan is developed. The program provides individual case management support and focuses on 4 domains: education, employment support, community reintegration and development of social safety net.
Home from School is a community based housing preservation program that works in conjunction with NRH rent subsidy allowance program to help youth secure housing in their home community. The rent subsidy allowance puts market rent rates within budget. Participants receive housing support including advocacy, mentoring and emergency hostel access to secure and maintain housing. Working in conjunction with landlords, staff help to supports the client’s tenancy in their home community.
The United Way of St. Catharines plays a vital role in helping at risk youth in our community to reach their full potential. To learn more about the United Way and the important work they are doing, please visit their website