United Way logoIn January, following the closure of the TYPS Youth Centre in the fall of 2014, an Interim Youth Task Force made up of organizations and community members who are committed to the youth of Mississippi Mills, announced new programming. These programs and services, created and supported by caring partners in the community, are aimed at trying to fill the gap in youth services, while a more permanent solution is developed.

Through the generosity of two local churches, a youth worker has been present at St. Paul’s Anglican Church (Mondays) and Hillside Reformed Presbyterian Church (Wednesdays), with food and programming made available. In addition, the RAY Group has started their monthly meetings again, while a free youth skate has been taking place at the arena, and the Youth Nights have continued at Almonte & District High School (ADHS). To see a full list of resources available, please visit www.lanarkunitedway.com.

These programs and services came about as the result of an initial meeting held by the Task Force in November of 2014. Now, with the leadership of the United Way Lanark County and the Town of Mississippi Mills, the Task Force will be holding a two-day Mississippi Mills Community Forum on Youth. The forum will begin on Wednesday, April 15th (6 – 9 PM) and continue on Thursday the 16th (9 – 12 NOON) at the Almonte Old Town Hall. On these dates, interested community members will gather for an interactive and participatory session to answer the question, “How might we better serve the needs of Mississippi Mills youth together?”. All are welcome to attend the Forum as we look to capture a comprehensive view of the needs in the community and at the same time harness the energy to move forward. “The Community Forum on Youth is an invaluable opportunity for all of us to come together and explore what we are all currently doing to serve youth, what overlaps and gaps currently exist in that service, and ultimately how we can increase positive impact by working together,” explains United Way Lanark’s Board Chair Johann Ramsaran.

According to the Town’s Mayor, Shaun McLaughlin, “Mississippi Mills Council is solidly behind the Task Force and its commitment to our youth. Many of us will attend the forum in April, and Mississippi Mills and Lanark County have both retained their commitment of funds to a local youth services organization in their 2015 budgets.”

Initial e-mail invitations went out to local social service agencies, organizations, businesses, associations and individual community members. If you would like to ensure you receive a formal invitation, please reach out to Kate Hallas, United Way Lanark County at 613-253-9074 or email khallas@lanarkunitedway.com with your name and email address. Organizers ask that you let them know if you are planning on attending.

In preparation for the Forum, the Task Force created a short survey as an introduction to this important conversation. We encourage everyone to give their input and provide as much information as possible, as this feedback will be important to the design and focus of the Forum. To take part in the survey, please visit www.lanarkunitedway.com and follow the link.

For further information, or to RSVP, please contact the United Way Lanark County office at 613-253-9074 or via e-mail at khallas@lanarkunitedway.com.

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