Youth facing issues such as mental health, sexual exploitation, lack of educational support, or aging out of foster care can find wraparound services at the Archway Youth Resource Centre (YRC).
In addition to their core services, YRC staff is able to offer extra services and opportunities to help youth survive and thrive through the generous efforts of various community partners and businesses.
“These donations do matter to the YRC,” said Lisa Hedrick, a YRC Team Lead. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to have the same amount of impact as we do. So, we truly cherish these partnerships, and we want to say thank you for thinking of us.”
Homemade Meals from Mama Michelle’s Kitchen
While many of us would never give a second thought to the simple luxury of a home-cooked meal, it is not a given for some youth in the community.
In December, 50 youth received a $50 gift card each which made it possible for them to buy home-cooked meals from Mama Michelle’s Kitchen. Owner Michelle Leutgeb hosted a fundraiser where she matched customer’s monetary donations.
“As a former social worker with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, my passion was working with youth. When I moved on to open Mama Michelle’s kitchen, I felt my heart was still in a place that I wanted to continue helping youth that was in need. I thought it was fitting to do fundraisers to provide meals or gift cards for many of the youth that is trying to make it on their own. And I hope that we can do this every year,’ said Michelle.
“Our youth often have so little, and these small things make a big difference and just as importantly they help the youth know that their community cares about them,”
Archway Youth Coordinator Carmen with Linda, Coordinator at Talia’s Closet
Moving Boxes from Great Little Box Company
Another much-needed partnership is with the Great Little Box Company, long-time supporters who have donated moving boxes for the past six years without fail.
When youth move into Autumn House, a semi-independent supported living program for 16 – 18-year-olds, they often arrive with their belongings in a garbage bag. The youth live in their own apartment and staff teach them life skills and provide emotional support. There is also 24/7 access for crisis situations.
When their time at Autumn House is up, they’re given boxes, packing tape, and packing paper so that they can move on to their next phase of life with dignity.
The staff has also used the boxes to create Christmas decor packages which contained a small tree, lights, decorations, stockings, and more so that youth and families connected to the YRC could bring the Christmas spirit into their homes.
Without the Great Little Box donation, staff would have to spend time scrounging for boxes, something that is becoming harder these days with many companies crushing their boxes immediately.
Autumn House Flood
Autumn House relocated to a brand-new building at the end of July 2020. Sadly, just a few months later a flood made the apartments uninhabitable. The majority of the new furniture was destroyed along with many of the youth’s possessions. The youth’s belongings were not covered by insurance and while funders helped replace essential items, they couldn’t replace it all.
The amazing landlords Mamele’awt Qweesome Housing Society found apartments for youth and mentors to live in during the lengthy renovation period. They also donated money and inspired others like Vanmar Constructors and the Aboriginal Housing Management Association to donate money which we used to replace youth’s lost items. Youth were able to move back just before Christmas.
Great Little Box Company boxes under a Christmas tree
The new Autumn House Building
Prom Dresses and Suits at Talia’s Closet
Without donations and volunteers, Talia’s Closet would not exist. Over the past decade, they have helped make sure that over 300 youth have not had to miss prom due to financial concerns.
“I want to thank you and Talias’s closet for helping Rachael have a special dress, matching shoes, and even jewelry she wore for her special day! It was so nice to know that she could come and choose something for herself in an atmosphere that could accommodate her nature. This is the second time your organization has assisted our family and we are very grateful! Thank you so very much for all you do,” said Ruth, a parent to one of the recipients.
In addition to donated clothes, local businesses also donate hair, make-up, photography, and nail services to help offset the costs of prom.
Last year, YRC was given an entire warehouse of tuxedos and dresses from Lori Ambrosetti.
And for the 2021 prom when Talia’s Closet didn’t have the sizes some of our graduates needed Moore’s, Zammy’s, and Pennington donated clothing to help make graduation special for these youth.
“Students are able to enjoy a real shopping experience with a large selection thanks to the generosity of our donors,” enthused Lisa.
“Our youth often have so little, and these small things make a big difference and just as importantly they help the youth know that their community cares about them,” concluded Lisa.
If you’d like to support youth in our community, you can reach out to email@example.com
Other YRC Donors
- Prospera Credit Union
- Aldergrove Credit Union
- Home Depot
- Spaghetti Factory
- Cyrus Centre
- Humphrey Construction ltd.
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Greek Islands Restaurant
- July Heibert of Cocina Sabrosa
Rachel on her prom day
Pennington’s Employee with student Talisa and her mom Nicole
Talia’s Closet donor Lori and Youth Worker Carmen