The Refuge

Since 1999, The Refuge has been working with youth experience homeless, live at a street-level, are at-risk of experiencing homelessness or who are struggling. 

Today, The Refuge serves around 500 different youth annually and interacts with youth close to 10,000 times each year.  More than a place to get breakfast, lunch, dinner (on Friday or Sunday), The Refuge seeks to be a place where youth experience love, nurture, encouragement, safety and belonging…a place to heal and gain a hope for the future…a place to experience the love of Jesus first hand.

Our Programs

The Refuge offers a wide variety of programs designed to help with food, housing, overcoming difficulties and finding the joys in life.

Our mission

To show Jesus Christ’s love and kindness to the youth of our community through practical and compassionate means of intervention and prevention.

Our vision

To see people restored to the truth that they are created in the image of God with gifts, abilities, the capacity to make positive decisions and to affect change in the world around them.  We desire to see people reveal God’s glory through careful stewardship of their lives, communities, resources and relationships.

Join Our Special Events

The Refuge offers a variety of special events through the year.  CNOY in February.  The Cake Auction in June (postponed until September 2021).  The DQM in July.  The Ride for Refuge in the fall and the Day of Change in November. We would love to have you participate!

Next Event – The DQM – July 24, 2021

get involved!


The Refuge depends on volunteers to keep programs going, to run special events and around Christmastime. Click to fill out a volunteer application.


The Refuge has job openings (part and full time) from time to time. Click to see any job openings for which we are seeking candidates.

Pray for The Refuge

Prayer is an important part of helping the youth who come to The Refuge. Join our prayer e-mail list to receive regular prayer requests. Click to fill out a prayer partner form.


Are you part of a high-school class participating in the Youth in Philanthropy program? If so, check out our answers to commonly asked questions.

Placement Student

Looking for a placement for your educational program? Whether you are a high-school, college or university student, The Refuge might be a fit for you. Contact Alexis Smid for details.

New Leaf

Did you know that The Refuge has a social enterprise catering company called New Leaf Catering.  We provide catering for weddings, corporate events, larger family functions and the like.  Hiring our youth, New Leaf Catering provides an excellent product with outstanding customer service.  

The Refuge seeks to be transparent in our finances and the way we operate.  We believe that every dollar given by you, the donor, should be treated with honour and respect and to be used for the purpose for which it was given.

Meet our Staff Team

(click on a staff member's name to send them an e-mail.)

Aaron Araujo

Aaron is our Kitchen Manager. He also oversees the New Leaf Catering program.

Amanda Armbruester

Amanda is our Events Coordinator. She organizes and plans our fundraising events.

Meaghan Eldridge

Meaghan is our Education Officer and works with schools and community groups to educate them about youth homelessness and how we can be a part of the solution. Meaghan runs the In Another's Shoes, One Homeless Night and speaks to church and school groups. Meaghan also coordinates our volunteers.

Nathan Eldridge

Nathan is one of our Housing First for Youth workers.

Clarence Keesman

Clarence is the executive director and has been working at The Refuge since 2005.

Kathryn Marsh

Kathryn is one of our Rec. Room workers and is filling in for Amanda Armburster while she is on maternity leave.

Bria Martin

Bria is our program manager and is responsible for planning and implementing school programs, wilderness rocks, art and the other programs at The Refuge

Cindy Mills

Cindy is our office manager and handles donations.

Angie Sauve

Angie is our therapist. She provides registered counselling services to the youth.

Alex Smid

Alex is our Director of Social Services. She provides informal counselling, guidance and positive life choice options and support to the youth. She also is responsible for placement students.

Taylor Uden

Taylor is one of our Housing First for Youth workers.

Visit us

The Refuge is located at the corner of Barrie and Court Streets in the basement of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

300 Court Street, Oshawa, ON L1H 4X3

Call us

Office hours are typically Monday-Friday from 8:30am - 4:30pm. After hours you can always leave us a voice mail.


Contact us

You can send us an e-mail or connect with us on social media via the icons below.

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