2nd Chance Youth Centre
Each weekday we serve breakfast and lunch at the Second Chance drop in program. It is here where we often interact with the youth for the first time, usually over coffee, get to know them and be able to help were asked or needed.
Levi's Table, held every Sunday evening, starts with a family style dinner and follows with a discussion about the Bible, Jesus and grace. Questions are encouraged and no question is ignored. All are welcome.
On Mondays and Wednesdays the Rec. Room program is open from 7-10pm. It is a warm, positive place and is an alternative to other negative behaviours that might entice youth. At the Rec. Room youth can play pool, watch the game and have snacks in a fun, positive environment.
basic need programs
Showers & Laundry
During the 2nd Chance drop-in program youth are able to do laundry. Each youth is able to do up to two loads of laundry per week. Detergent and fabric softener is provided. Youth who do not have access to a shower or hot water are able to have a shower during this time as well. Shampoo, soap and conditioner (and towels) are provided.
There are many other things that youth need. Transportation across the Region for appointments and apartment viewings can be difficult without a car or bus fare. The Refuge offers youth bus tickets. ID (health card, birth certificate, Soc. Insurance Number, etc.) is essential today and The Refuge works with the youth to obtain these forms of ID. Completing individual tax returns provides access to government funding like HST credits and the Trillium benefit. The Refuge teaches youth how to complete their own tax returns.
One of the pitfalls of our culture is to just give things away, creating a culture of dependency when individuals are creative and able to bring their own solutions to the table. Based on this principle, The Refuge offers food, clothing, hygiene products to youth at a marginal cost. Youth, however, can earn 'co-op credits' to purchase what they need/want by helping to do dishes, clean the floors, etc. thus helping themselves. The Refuge also pays youth to run the co-op allowing them to affect further change in their own lives.
To show Jesus Christ's love and kindness to the youth of our community through practical and compassionate means of intervention and prevention.
Life change programs
Creating art has the ability to communicate feelings in ways that words cannot. As such, each week youth are encouraged to engage in different art projects that seeks to bring about discussion, healing from past hurts, and the feelings of accomplishment and creativity.
Our culture does not handle death and grief well. Many of the youth who come to The Refuge have experienced loss but have not had the opportunity to express that grief in a safe and positive environment. The Dinner Party allows current and alumni youth to celebrate their loved one over a family pot-luck dinner.
Housing First for Youth
Using a Housing First for youth approach, youth are housed and then supported to remain housed. A Housing First worker meets with the youth on a weekly basis to work through goal progression and housing in this client-centred approach. Currently there is a waiting list for Housing First services.
The Refuge seeks to be a community where youth experience healing from the past and a hopeful future. This involves living in community with one another. Often, when youth are incarcerated, we will visit them. If they need help with grocery shopping or setting up a bank account, we make ourselves available to support them. We love to accompany them to doctors appointments or other appointment where they just need the security of having another caring person there.
Wilderness Rocks is an outdoors, adventure program that takes youth on a three-day camping style program. Each has a theme such as perseverance, planning, and thriving. When youth are removed from the stress that they experience in Oshawa and into a different environment learning occurs much more easily.
The Refuge has an open door policy. What that means is that, as staff, we make ourselves available for youth if they want to talk, share or ask for help. This informal counselling is available to current youth as well as alumni (those who are too old for the regular programs of The Refuge but used to come). Formal counselling is also available on a bi-weekly basis as The Refuge brings in a trained counsellor for the youth.
The New Leaf Catering program is a social enterprise of The Refuge. Youth are hired at $15/hr to cook and serve weddings, corporate events, special events and family functions. To learn more about New Leaf Catering and how it can serve your next function, please click the icon.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to walk in the shoes of one of the youth who use the service of The Refuge? While we can never know what it is like unless we truly experience it, In Another's Shoes (IAS) attempts to open participant's eyes to the realities of youth homelessness through a multi-media presentation and street walk. The goal is to help participants move beyond just understanding and propel them into action. To book an IAS group, please click the icon.
One homeless night builds on the IAS program in that not only do participants receive the IAS presentation but they also sleep over at The Refuge in a mock out of the cold program. To book a One Homeless Night experience, please click on the icon.