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Why Invest in Youth?

Steffanie Date, Sault Youth Association for local2 sault ste. marie
October 12th, 2011 at 12:43pm

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

south youth posterOn October 25th and 26th the Sault Youth Association and City of SSM will be hosting Mobilizing Community for Youth. The 2-day conference is a cross-sectoral effort aimed at targeting quality of life issues for youth. Based on local research findings with just over 500 young people four areas of need have been identified: Reducing Substance Addictions/Mental Illness, Developing Sustainable Housing, Youth Hubs and Economic Well Being. We require the support from ALL sectors of the community to develop a city wide strategic plan addressing youth need.

Poverty is a youth issue. In comparison to their southern age co-horts, local youth experience lower educational attainment levels and higher unemployment and poverty levels. Poverty affects young people’s ability to acquire an education, make healthy choices, secure housing and participate in our community in a positive way.

Young people have also clearly identified substance abuse as a problem. Greater community effort is required to address substance abuse and access to harm reduction programs among youth in our community. Interwoven with this issue is the need to enhance mental health services for young people.

Conference speakers representing three distinct youth centres in Ontario will share information regarding successful youth strategies employed by their community as well as explain their ‘youth centre’ model. Young people continue to identify the need for places that are supportive, substance free and inclusive for all. Youth hubs are a model of delivering services and programs for youth that encourage the development of capacity, creativity, innovation and social networks. Youth have clearly expressed they are not interested in a place to ‘just hang out’.

The success of this effort is absolutely imperative upon the participation of our community leaders, decision makers and those who work with youth. Cross-sectoral collaboration for the purposes of sharing resources, pooling expertise and synchronizing delivery of multiple services for youth must be a community priority. Choosing to nurture the well-being of today’s youth marks the course for a community on the way to a prosperous future.

To access a registration form or any other information please visit: www.saultyouthassociation.com or call Steffanie at 705-946-1299.


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