Youth Drop In Centre
Why Not Youth Centre is vibrant, inclusive, and a little loud. With dozens of teens on site at any time, there is a variety of simultaneous activities going on at any time, including karaoke, pool, Just Dance, video games, board games, lounging, arts and crafts, or anything else that the group can come up with!
At various points throughout the year, different initiatives take place, including Mood Walks (outdoor excursions involving some form of hiking for its mental health benefits), “Nerd Herd” (a goal-setting club in in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Brantford), health and life skills workshops (most often in partnership with the Brant County Health Unit), and day trips to various activities in Southern Ontario. There are also on-site, substance-free parties of some sort for almost every event, including group birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and more.
All activities offered through the youth centre are completely free. Activities are supervised by the small staff team and a dynamic and large group of dedicated volunteers who do everything they can to keep the youth centre welcoming, fun, and helpful.
Leaders In Training
Why Not’s programming is guided and shaped by youth feedback, especially from our Leaders in Training. The Leaders in Training program is exclusively available to youth who have been a part of the Why Not community for a year or more. They go through an application process before being accepted into the team to be coached in youth leadership and advise on activities, program efficacy, rules, and direction. The three-fold goal of the LIT program is to:
- Help the LITs to recognize themselves as functional, contributing members of their community as an empowerment strategy;
- Provide LITs with employment and communication skills; and
- Have youth representation on an advisory level
- Create an increasingly welcoming environment to youth from the community by having young people in leadership positions
- Maintaining a group of well-spoken young people who can represent Why Not at community engagement events, speaking opportunities, and focus groups
Youth Led Programming
Youth are the core of the organization. They are behind every activity and initiative. They are always welcome to suggest activities and encouraged to implement them themselves with help from the staff and volunteer team.
Why Not uses a team approach to youth mentorship. Rather than having 1:1 pairings, the mentorship team works collaboratively to engage all of the youth. They engage the youth in meaningful conversation, providing a listening ear and screen for crisis situations, quickly connecting youth to the Crisis Staff to get them the help that they need. They are behind some of our most engaging activities and are a huge help in running daily programming. Most of our youth mentors are post-secondary students or recent graduates looking to give back to our community and gain experience working with youth. Many of our past youth mentors have moved on to work in corrections, school boards, police forces, and other social service organizations.
To apply to be part of the mentorship team, please visit our Volunteer Opportunities Page.
Resources for Youth
A plethora of entirely free resources are available to youth attending Why Not including:
- Clothing bank
- Computer access
- Crisis support
- Day trips
- De-escalation support
- Document printing
- Employment skills coaching
- Financial awareness coaching
- Food bank
- Free shoes
- Hot meals each night
- Internet access
- Leadership training
- Life skills coaching
- Recreational activities
- Resource networking
- Resume writing
- School supplies
- Social navigation support