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Town to provide youth programs utilizing in-house resources

by Patrick Raftis

MINTO - The town of Minto will direct funds previously put toward sharing the costs of a community youth resiliency worker toward in-house efforts to maintain local youth programs.

Last year, after Trillium funding for the worker, through North for Youth, ended, Minto, Mapleton and Wellington North, along with the Mount Forest Community Health Team, each agreed to contribute $13,000 to keep the program going.

Accomplishments since the initiation of the program in 2015 have included creation of the Minto Youth Action Council (MYAC) in October of 2016 and Minto’s designation as a gold level Youth Friendly Community by Parks and Recreation Ontario in 2018.

In January, youth resiliency worker Gabriella Ieropoli resigned to take a position with Kidsability.

“To replace Gabby would have been very difficult as the skill sets, experience and knowledge required are different for health versus community/economic development, as well as the fact that building rapport with youth, community members and service providers takes time,” noted Minto business and economic manger Belinda Wick-Graham in a March 5 report to council.

“The Minto Economic Development Team felt that the majority of the community/economic development projects that were being undertaken by this position could be brought in-house and the funds redirected into funding ongoing or new youth programs.

“We are fortunate in Minto to have a strong staff working in economic development and recreation to continue to support many of the programs.”

Wick Graham noted local youth-oriented initiatives include:

- a Municipal Youth Internship Program to explore youth engagement, specifically for “at risk” youth;

- Student Start Up Program, a summer entrepreneurship program for students in Grades 6 to 12;

- Northern Wellington Youth Connections, an annual event that attracts Grade 9 students from Norwell Disrict Secondary School and Wellington Heights Secondary School to learn about local opportunities and resources;

- Truth About Youth, a program that engages students in the alternative education program in community betterment projects;

- Municipal Youth Engagement Initiative, which engages Grade 12 students in the human development throughout the lifespan course at Norwell and last semester worked with Grade 11 students in the introduction to anthropology, psychology and sociology;

- Minto Youth Action Council will continue to operate under the direction of Taylor Keunen and implement an action plan that was generated by youths from youth input;

- Youth Workers Workshop/Pre-Employment, designed to give youth an opportunity to better themselves as workers and a chance for Minto employers to notice youths they may potentially want to hire;

- Northern Wellington Young Professionals Network;

- youth retreats and workshops under development will focus on areas like team building, mental health, self-esteem and resilience; and

- graduation luncheon hosted by Mapleton and the Palmerston Lions Club for graduating classes at Norwell.

Wick-Graham told council the budget may be adjusted in future years if it appears the entire $13,000 is not needed.

“We have identified some of the places and we might not spend it all,” she said.

 “We didn’t want to take it out because we have lots of youth programming  happening,” Wick-Graham noted, adding,   “Once this year is done we’ll have a greater sense of it.”


March 13, 2019


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