Traditionally, access to supports and services is difficult in rural and lightly populated areas. Niagara’s layout often forced youth to relocate to receive the proper services. Through the RAFT’s Youth Reconnect program, our workers can bring services and supports to a youth in their home community anywhere in the Niagara region. More importantly, youth can remain with their peer support group of friends and family while attending the school they grew up in.
Let us tell you a story of a young lady who worked her way through the program.
Sarah was struggling. She was living independently in a small apartment that was no where near her school or any of the supports she needed. Eventually, she moved in with her mother, which was not the ideal situation because there was constant confrontation. Through a counsellor at school, Sarah learned about the RAFT’s Youth Reconnect program and reached out for support. She expressed a need for stable housing because she wanted to focus on her education and graduate with her friends.
Within a few days, our staff and Sarah found a 1 bedroom apartment in a great neighbourhood, close to her school and other necessities like a grocery store and laundry facilities. However, the rent was high and Sarah could not afford it on a student income. Because Sarah’s education was so important to her and she wanted to remain a full time student, the Raft was able to top up her rent costs through our Rent Subsidy program. This allowed Sarah to rent the apartment.
Seven months later, Sarah graduated high school! Soon after she was accepted to college, a goal she never thought possible. The Youth Reconnect program allowed Sarah to access the supports that she needed to succeed. Without this support, Sarah’ story could be very different.
Sarah has since moved on from the RAFT’s Youth Reconnect program and Rent Subsidy program. Sarah is off at college with a new set of goals to reach, and a new environment to explore. Sarah’s accomplishments illustrate the importance of community support.
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