Grants not long-term solution
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Feb. 22, 2018|
When 80 windows were broken, most likely by kids, at a church in Lindsay in the 1960’s, the congregation took notice. A fellow by the name of Ron Kennedy stepped up, as did that congregation. They realized the kids needed a place to go, and things to do, to turn their energy into something positive, not destructive. A meeting was called and programs were soon developed at a number of churches.
Kennedy then inspired some concerned citizens to create Kawartha Youth Incorporated. They bought a building at the corner of Cambridge and Wellington streets and the Boys and Girls Clubs, as it is now know, was formed. Thousands of kids have passed through its doors, including hundreds every day.
Here in Haliburton County, a cry has gone out that our youth are in crisis. And the response is quite similar to the one in the City of Kawartha Lakes more than 50 years ago. Our kids need a place to go, yes,to hang out, but also an outlet for feelings of anxiety and depression and thoughts of suicide. They want to be able to talk it out
in a safe space.
Local kid Rowan Tofflemire has made a video featuring young people in the county answering two questions: “What do you do for fun in Haliburton?” and “what do you think Haliburton needs for youth?” In it, the youth of Haliburton County share some hard truths. Comments include, “well, right now, there isn’t really much to do except for walking around” and “legit, on weekends, you just look for a place to get drunk or high. That’s just not healthy. You can’t do that every weekend. It’s a problem.” Another said they need a space, “where we can all hang out and get help. Mental health is a problem in this community and needs to be talked about and addresssed.”
When Point in Time and its youth hub committee first decided to put in an application for provincial government funding, one of their first calls was to Boys and Girls Clubs executive director Scott Robertson in Lindsay. The community should know by the end of this month whether the funding application has been
successful. We dearly hope it has. However, there also has to be a plan B and Point in Time and its partners have thought about that. There are possible grants from proceeds of crime and the HCDC, for example.
And, while those grants would also be nice, the problem with grants is they eventually run out. If this initiative is to get off of the ground and be around for more than 40 years like the Boys and Girls Club in Lindsay, it needs a long-term, sustainable plan.
Local service clubs have indicated a willingness to get on board. If grants fall through, Point in Time will also be calling on the community for its help. The question is ... is it willing, ready and able to answer?
Lisa Gervais is the editor for The Highlander.