“We were very saddened and surprised today to learn of the immediate closure of Take Young People Seriously – TYPS – the Centre serving the youth of Mississippi Mills”, commented United Way Lanark County (UWLC) Board Chair Johann Ramsaran. “TYPS played an important role in reaching out to youth in the community who were in need of support, and provided a safe and secure place for youth to gather.” TYPS, one of 16 Member Agencies in Lanark County supported by UWLC, received annual funding for a number of years including 2014.
Ramsaran noted that, “Unfortunately, we were not advised of the imminent closure of TYPS, nor of their need for emergency funding. We would have welcomed the opportunity to discuss options with them.” The UWLC runs an Annual Campaign in the fall to raise funds to support its Member Agencies, and during that period, the Agencies support UWLC by raising awareness about the campaign. “As part of joining the United Way as a Member Agency, all the members voluntarily agree not to run individual fund raising drives at the same time as our Annual Campaign”, says UWLC Executive Director Fraser Scantlebury. “This means that the community is not bombarded with requests for donations from multiple sources, allowing people to donate once knowing that their donations will support organizations across the county.” This has always been a hallmark of the United Way across Canada – a combined way to raise funds while focusing on the issues and needs of the community.
“The unfortunate truth”, said Ramsaran “is that there are critical needs that TYPS was meeting in the community, from youth homelessness to providing a safe place for youth to meet and share food, to name just a few. We see this not only in Mississippi Mills, but also throughout our county. All of the Youth Centres and other agencies involved with young people are continually addressing the unmet needs of our youth. That is why over 42% of our funding last year went to address issues facing the youth of our county, and assisting young people is one of our three focus areas – All that kids can be.”
The UWLC is a strong supporter of youth initiatives within the community, and welcomes the idea of a community forum on youth services in Mississippi Mills. “This past summer, working with the Town of Smiths Falls and other interested parties, we held a very successful forum to look at how the youth of that town were being served. A number of ideas were generated and are actively being worked on by community minded individuals and our Member Agencies in the area”, said Scantlebury. “We offered to assist TYPS in running a similar community forum in Mississippi Mills, to help address the issues youth are facing, and look at new ways to offer assistance to all youth in the community. The UWLC looks forward to working on this project, along with other community members, and the Town of Mississippi Mills. We are also leading the way in encouraging Member Agencies to identify projects, in partnership with other Member Agencies or community partners, where they can work together to share knowledge and resources to improve the lives of more Lanark County citizens.
“It is important to note that TYPS remains a Member Agency of the UWLC, and that our Board of Directors is looking forward to working with TYPS to seek ways to continue funding the valued work they do’, stated Ramsaran. “Our goal is ensure that the funds we receive from our donors have an impact within the community, and we see TYPS as a valued partner in ensuring that Change starts here in the community of Mississippi Mills. We look forward seeing how we may help in the future.”