Across the street from Collingwood’s public high school, a small house offers a hot meal and a living room for teens during lunch break and after school.
The house is rented by Youth for Christ, and it’s where Danielle and Aaron White run youth-focused programs that always include food and encourage conversation.
From Monday to Wednesday, the centre is open for lunch and after school. Students can come play games, grab food, and hang out.
On Wednesdays, Aaron White said it’s a little more structured and he encourages the youth who come to sit down and talk about life issues.
“We come from a faith-based perspective, but we let them guide the discussion,” said White. “We welcome anyone. Teens are looking for voices in their life. We’re just another voice and they can listen or not.”
On Mondays and Wednesdays, Youth For Christ will usually have a hot meal ready for students at no cost to them. Sometimes the meal is donated by someone in the community, other times the centre will partner with a grocery store for supplies and pull the barbecue onto the driveway for lunch.
“Sometimes we get 100 students at lunch,” said White. “It’s really great to be a presence in the community, and we’re glad to serve the teens. We never know who is going to come.”
White is the High School Outreach Director, and his wife, Danielle is the Drop-in Director. She runs a drop-in program at the Cameron Street house on Fridays.
“It’s a connecting point for teens,” said Aaron.
Youth for Christ is hosting a charity golf tournament next weekend (Sept. 27) to help raise part of the annual operating costs of the youth centre.
The 2019 Herman Ohrt Memorial Collingwood Youth For Christ Golf Tournament starts at noon at Duntroon Highlands Golf Club. The cost is $150 per golfer and you can register online at collingwoodyfc.org.
The annual operating costs for the youth centre near Collingwood Collegiate Institute is $100,000, and White said they are hoping to raise about $10,000 at this tournament.
Youth For Christ is also always looking for volunteers, monthly financial partners, and tangible items like clothes and furniture. Donations can be arranged through the website collingwoodyfc.org.