Youth organizations team up

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50/50 draw supports C-K youth

All for one and one for all – that’s the mantra of a cluster of local groups that support Chatham-Kent youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Chatham-Kent and three youth centres in the municipality have teamed up to offer a 50-50 draw.

The draw, which takes place Dec. 1, benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Blenheim Youth Centre, the Dresden Sidestreets Youth Centre and Tilbury Solid Rock Café Youth Centre.

Amanda Clark, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters C-K (BBBS), said it was past time for the groups to work together.

“We (BBBS) have done 50-50s in the past. We’ve been successful. We have just started to reach a point where collaboration makes more sense,” she said. “It makes sense on so many levels. It’s good for the agency, and so we can all work together rather than against each other.”

All four organizations serve youth across the municipality by providing programming to help youth succeed. These programs help build relationships, life skills, and independence.

Clark said the pandemic created several challenges for youth, particularly separation from friends and mentors, social isolation, and impacts on mental health. While restrictions on schools and indoor gatherings are largely gone, the impacts from the past few years will be felt into the future.

“We saw a huge need for additional youth programming,” she said. “Kids are still struggling and we’re doing what we can to help bridge some of those gaps. In 2020, we started partnering with youth centres across Chatham-Kent to deliver activity boxes to keep kids engaged while at home.”

Those partnerships remain in 2022 as all four organizations struggle to find funding to provide additional programming.

“We’re all doing the same work, so there’s no sense competing for the same dollars,” Clark said. “We can work together to raise the money. Pool resources, pool our knowledge. We’re serving the same kids.”

The team effort has been appreciated.

“Working with Big Brothers Big Sisters showed us how many more youth we can reach when we work together and share resources,” Emily Robert, executive director of the Blenheim Youth Centre, said in a media release. “Our organizations are experiencing similar changes and challenges, so it makes sense for us to tackle some of these problems together.”

Response to the draw has been C-K typical – a slow start, but momentum is building.

“Much like any 50-50 draw, people tend to do things at the last minute,” Clark said. “We’re still getting out there and doing the best we can. We’ll grow.”

She expects to have great success selling tickets at the Dresden Night Market.

“It (the event) is pretty huge and we’re supporting the Dresden Youth Centre,” Clark said.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.big5050foryouth.ca or in person at the Blenheim Youth Centre, the Dresden Sidestreets Youth Centre, and the Tilbury Solid Rock Café Youth Centre.

The draw takes place Dec. 1 at the Retro Fun House in Blenheim. Clark said on top of the 50-50 winner, there will be another number pulled, and that will be for two round-trip Air Canada vouchers.

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