Every night, around 100 youth in Nanaimo, British Columbia, have nowhere to sleep, according to Nanaimo Youth Services Association’s (NYSA) chief administrative officer, Keith Wilson. The number may well be higher now.
NYSA’s Rowe House helps youth who have been there. It assists youth who face barriers to housing, work, and education and who struggle with mental health and substance use issues. Those who live at Rowe House are participants in NYSA’s skills training programs. With safe and secure housing complemented by personalized in-house supports, these youth are better equipped to participate in programming that will enable them to care for themselves in the future.
This past spring, the Rotary Club of Nanaimo partnered with NYSA to purchase furnishings for 12 rooms in Rowe House that will serve as bedrooms, study rooms, and personal space. The club provided NYSA with a $10,000 CAD grant which included a $3,500 USD contribution from Rotary District 5020. NYSA expects that each resident will participate in supportive programs for one to two years before leaving Rowe House, after which the furnished rooms will be used by another group of youth. Over the life of the furnishings, at least 72 youth will benefit.
Most youth moving into Rowe House will have had no furniture of their own and no means to acquire furniture at the program’s start. This partnership responds to the challenges these youth face by reducing the stress and anxiety of having to find furniture. According to Wilson, “it adds security for them as they begin to lead a more normal life having basic necessities that support their moving forward with a job or further education. The impact is hard to measure but will be life-changing for some of the people involved.”
The Rotary-NYSA partnership provided for the purchase and delivery of the furniture to Rowe House. Several club members gathered to meet with Keith Wilson, see the furniture and learn more about the programming this initiative will support.
A few years ago, the club also provided NYSA with a $10,000 CAD grant to purchase ten laptops that enable NYSA staff more effectively and efficiently deliver their programs to youth out in the community. Funding was supplied in part through a $3,500 USD District grant. Watch the video to learn more about the impact of this donation.
Learn more about NYSA here.