By Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald on December 4, 2021.
A generous donation from a local family will ensure the youth have a warm place to go while the winter months set in.
On Friday, the Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta Community Foundation made a presentation and special grant announcement to Wood’s Homes in the form of a donor-advised grant that will tackle homelessness among young people in the community.
Trina and Kim Tymko donated $ 21,000 to Wood’s Homes, part of the donation to be used to maintain staff on weekends so the children have a warm and safe place.
Woods Homes is not funded to have day staff.
“This donation is extremely important to the programs of Wood’s Homes Lethbridge,” said Shauna Cohen, Program Manager at Woods Homes. “We don’t have the funds to stay open during daylight hours, especially weekends during the winter months. With young people having nowhere to go and closing at 8:30 am, it can be cold, dangerous and scary. So with part of this donation, we can stay open during the colder winter months and provide immediate support, advice and services to young people instead of just sending them to the streets and making them more vulnerable. .
Cohen said the other portion of that money will help meet young people with some of these unforeseen needs such as supportive employment, school fees, transportation or medical expenses.
Currently, Wood’s Homes has four of its eight beds available simply because it has had to close every other bed due to COVID restrictions, Cohen said.
“But if that fifth child has come to the door and needed support, we certainly won’t send him back without trying to put something in place for him. We have a great staff who are really creative in their thinking and think outside the box and no one will be turned down for good. “
Trina said the donation to Wood’s Homes was important to them as a family.
“We have three children and we have all been affected by mental health issues in our families. The blessings that we have as a family and the means to be able to go to counseling and to be able to go to different services where we can afford to be able to pay for it, we understand as a family that we are blessed for that, “, Trina said.
Friday’s donation was also a call for the government to step up aid to young people.
“We also understand that there are many in and around Lethbridge who cannot afford it and it is shocking to me that this is an area where there is a huge gap in our government, which ‘they do not support young people at risk. So with our fund that we have as a family, we knew it was important that we wanted to put something in favor of youth and mental health.
Trina said when they found out Wood’s Homes did not have the funding for young people to have a roof over their heads for the weekends, it was a “no-brainer” to help.
“The reason we wanted to bring this to light and make it a little deal, is for awareness. Because we had no idea, and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who didn’t. no idea (of) the lack of funding for youth and care, “she said.” Whether you support the NDP, the UCP or the Liberal Party, it doesn’t matter which government group you support. important to tell the government that it is not okay for these young people to be on the streets and not get the support they need.
Trina has reached out to other potential donors looking to donate to a cause.
“If any donors are looking to donate somewhere, contact this organization and ask tons of questions,” she said. “Ask for a visit. There are never enough questions to ask.
Cohen said he saw an increase of about 20% in their already high mental health needs for the clients they serve.
“So it’s very important that young people have a safe place to go and a safe place to ask for help. Even if they don’t stay and use an accommodation bed, we still have staff here who can provide crisis support, resources, referrals, and any kind of needs they might have. They may just be hungry and downtown and don’t know where to go for help. We are open 365 days a year and now, thanks to this donation, we will be able to be open on weekends instead of closing our doors in the morning.
Cohen said they had to increase some restrictions on walk-in support due to COVID.
“But they can certainly still come to the door and apply. We are not going to turn anyone away without giving them some kind of help.
For more information on Wood’s Homes, visit http://www.woodshomes.ca
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