House Youth Centre welcomes new program co-ordinator

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The new program director at the House Youth Centre is new to the position but certainly not new to the House.

Jessica Jarvis has succeeded Michelle Laframboise as the new program director, starting her new duties July 30. However, she has 13 years of involvement with the local youth centre including being a leader and a head leader.

“I started volunteering because my husband went through as a member and a leader,” said Jarvis. “I got asked to become a leader a got hooked. It’s an amazing place.”

Jarvis believes the House allows the youth that go through it to be their “genuine, authentic selves” and the leaders learn from them just as much as the youth learn from the leaders. She said her husband Kevin still has a lot of friends from his days at the House and she has made many friends herself.

“When the (program co-ordinator) position came up, I wanted to be part of something unique and awesome,” said Jarvis.

The House sees groups from Grades 9-12 go through it on weeknights during the school year with various topics discussed that impact youth of that age. Jarvis said they do a lot of work around affirmation and building trust with the youth and also have yearly trips to Oxley Retreat House. Youth and their leaders stick together throughout their high school years, she stated.

Jessica Jarvis is the new program co-ordinator at The House Youth Centre. She began her new duties July 30.

“It’s been going on for 47 years so something is going right,” she said.

Among the newer programs is the LGBTQ Connect program with Jarvis stating the House wants to bring in mental health professionals for a suicide prevention night, including workshops and speakers.

“I’m hoping to continue to grow the work all of the people did previous to me,” she said. “(The House) is a diamond in the rough. There’s no other program like it. You build great bonds with leaders and other members. We have access to resources here people might not know about. We can build up (a young person’s) confidence. It’s a safe place to come.”

Approximately 50-60 youth participate during the school year with 10-12 leaders per group. Jarvis said more people are always welcome. The youth come from all different backgrounds and there are also a number of fun activities as well.

“We also volunteer heavily within the town,” said Jarvis, with one of the upcoming events being the “Haunted Fort” at Fort Malden National Historic Site later this fall.

Jarvis added she is excited to be in her new role, but acknowledges “I have big shoes to fill.”

“I’m grateful I got the job,” she said. “I hope to do the House proud. I’m here for anybody.”

The House Youth Centre can be reached through its website at www.houseofshalom.ca or by calling 519-736-6811. The House is located at 247 Brock St., at the corner of Brock St. and Gore St.

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