“What it comes down to is trust and love.”
Lin Howes says building relationships with youth is the key to having them turn to you for help when they are in need. Lin has been working with youth for 15 years, and has been the youth programs manager for Spence Neighbourhood Association at Magnus Eliason Rec Centre for a year.
“From working at MERC I see the power and importance of that relationship…in times of need they will turn to people they trust and love. That’s not going to be a stranger.”
Police, paramedics, or CFS often don’t need to be involved in a situation, Lin said, but that doesn’t mean a situation isn’t a major event in the life of a youth.
“When they need someone in the overnight hours we want to be there to guide them, help them and advocate for them…because, we care about them.”
Overnight – when the streets are less safe – is when those trusted people need to be available.
“Overnight is the time when our youth are most vulnerable, and we’re locking the doors right at that time, and it sucks.”
Lin joined the call for a West End 24/7 Safe Space from the start. In recent months, she and others with #WestEnd247 have been doing youth outreach to connect with and hear from youth about what they want at a safe space..
“What we’re hearing is kids are looking for adults they can trust.”
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