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Leadership Training Program for Homeless Youth Gets a Boost

Three short years after beginning a pilot leadership training program, Why Not Youth Centre is excited to take the program to a new level in partnership with The Home Depot Canada Foundation.

The Home Depot Canada Foundation, which is focused on helping to prevent and put an end to youth homelessness in Canada, runs an awards program to support organizations that incorporate the voices of youth into programs designed to support at-risk or homeless youth, among other grant opportunities.

This year, Why Not Youth Centre received $25,000 from The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Orange Door Awards program to support the development of the highly impactful Leaders In Training program.

The Leaders In Training (LIT) program started in the spring of 2016 with eight youth that were facing homelessness. The program has welcomed close to 50 different youth into the program since that time.

“Part of what makes this program so impactful is that it’s stabilizing for these young people who just need something to be consistent,” says program founder Becca McLellan. “We customize the experience for each teen so that the program is actually helpful.”

By teaching them social responsibility, employment skills, and advocacy opportunities, Why Not’s LIT program helps young people step into adulthood and employment with confidence.

Almost 90% of the original LITs are in the work force, post-secondary studies, have continued to work on their skills via community leadership roles, or are building their own families.

Current LIT Coordinator Brooklyn White says she is excited about the new developments that are coming together, including a stronger emphasis on engagement in the broader community, more social responsibility opportunities, and a Junior LIT program for younger youth.

“It’s such an honour that we have the opportunity to invest in our youth in a real and tangible way while also giving them the opportunity to not only grow into wonderful leaders but also wonderful community leaders and adults,” says White.

The Orange Door Award money will go toward the process of developing the program and to a special training fund to provide LITs with the funding to pay for things like training costs, application fees, and different discretionary opportunities.

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