Children & Youth Update

As we all know, this has been a difficult year for so many, including our young friends. Here at Dixon Hall, we did our best to stay in touch, to stay active, and to keep people engaged. But it was definitely time for some real, if distanced, face time.

We’ve been running camp since early July. Camp looks different – with fewer participants able to attend, more PPE, and more staff. But some things feel the same, maybe even better. Just being able to be around our young friends, to engage with them, and laugh with them, makes things inexplicably better. Camp will wrap up August 13, and we’ll have a modified version of Summer Slam happening from August 16-27. We’ll take the older kids to the Island, and look forward to a range of activities. Thanks to those of you who have supported with camp; there’s still time to contribute.

In other news, we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with a neighbouring organization, Wanasah. Wanasah is working to build safe and inclusive communities where Black Youth with mental health concerns live with dignity and purpose. They are a black-centric, inclusive, holistic, and culturally safe organization, with whom we are thrilled to be collaborating.

As part of the Province’s Guns, Gangs, and Violence Reduction Strategy, through the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services, we have jointly been awarded just under $500,000 to provide - in partnership with Wanasah

- intentionally appropriate and culturally safe services and crisis supports for Black youth and their families, including mental health, problematic substance use and crisis-support services. For further information on the funding, click here.

Says our Director of Children & Youth Services, Sandra Costain, “This is a really vital time for this

partnership, and for this kind of financial support. We have seen our kids negatively impacted or severely impacted, or truly struggling during the pandemic; coming out of it will take time and resources to support young people’s mental health. It’s crucial work.” And Namarig Ahmed, the Executive Director for Wanasah, notes: “We feel this kind of collaboration of old and new agencies, with old and new neighbours, using a customized interdisciplinary approach, will be effective and healing.”

We’re all looking forward to the partnership, and the results of the work that lies ahead.