One year after its launch in March 2015, The Salvation Army Pembroke Youth Centre, Ont., is thriving with various programs and activities for youth aged 12 to 18. The centre offers a welcoming, non-judgmental place where youth can find mentors and socialize with their peers.

“Some of our youth are in the care of Family and Children's Services and some come from low-income families with various challenges,” says Amanda Wilson, program co-ordinator. “We have youth that say they don't really fit in at school or are bullied and this is where they feel most comfortable.

“Some hang out here because they don't want to be at home alone and they spend 25 to 30 hours a week here.”

Wilson works with a number of other agencies and organizations, both public and private, to give youth an opportunity to take part in learning activities, sports, camping and mission trips. Every day after school there are snacks and activities for youth, including music lessons, art, homework supper club, Fuel Christian group, teen girls group and Friday-night drop-in Chill Night. On a given Friday night, between 30 and 60 youth hang out at the centre, listening to music and playing games.

“Thanks to the help of a number of volunteers, college placement students and various partnering organizations, the youth centre has been a success,” says Wilson. “It has become a very important part of the community.”

The Salvation Army - - Pembroke Youth Centre

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