Teenagers Relaxing with Tea at Youth Club

Life Skills Programming in Emergency Shelter

Posted on January 13, 2023 in YES Stories, Current News

We’re so pleased to have started offering Life Skills Programming in our Emergency Shelter on Brock St., with help from the RBC Foundation.

The purpose of daily life skills programming in shelter is to help youth gain the skills needed to find and keep safe housing, as well as live independently in place of their own.

The programs cover topics such as cooking and nutrition, relationships and conflict management, finances and budgeting, peer support, sewing and mending, and processing grief and trauma through art. Sessions are run by YES Staff, community partners like PARN and FourCast, and other mentors such as local artist, John Marris.

“Sometimes we’ll make muffins, or banana bread. The other day we made a lasagna. And we start with the basics, like how to turn on the oven, and get it to the right temperature.”

-Sam Molica, YES Outreach Worker speaking about her weekly cooking and nutrition sessions

Thanks to this program, youth in our RISE Youth Housing Program also had access to yoga classes, gym memberships, art classes, job-related training opportunities, and even Improv classes with local celeb Linda Cash. All of these opportunities helped young people have new experiences, build bonds with one another and YES Staff, as well as integrate into their community.

“John Marris has an incredible way of encouraging the youth to make art, but not putting any pressure on them. And meeting them where they’re at. If someone wants to make art, but doesn’t want to leave their room, he’ll help them do that.

-Evan Stoll, Shelter Worker speaking about John Marris, local artist who’s been working with YES youth since 2018

These are all impacts that improve the likelihood that a young person will leave our programs and enter into stability. From RISE they could go into a college or university program, find stable housing of their own, or reconnect with family where it’s safe to do so.

“I walked in the dining room to find about 10 young people all listening to Nate talk about how he was in shelter just two years before, and how he found a safe and stable life. They were enthralled. You could see they were finding hope.”

-Brooke Erickson, Development Lead talking about a Peer Support session featuring previous shelter client, Nate

Thank you RBC Foundation, for allowing us to offer this crucial programming to young people experiencing homelessness in Peterborough.