Seeing the Difference the Thermometer Makes in our Community
Choices for Change and United Way Perth-Huron gathered at the Stratford Thermometer to light a new bulb, celebrating the New Year and the success of a new program. The lit bulb brought the United Way up to 70% on Jan 23rd representing over 1 million dollars raised in this campaign. The new bulb was especially relevant to Choices for Change as it was United Way’s direct funding that enabled Crossing Bridges to open in North Perth as well, last Fall.
The Crossing Bridges program has run successfully in Stratford since 2007 and now with the support of the United Way Perth-Huron has opened its program in North Perth. “It was the North Perth community that highlighted the need – specifically the service gap when helping kids with substance abuse and mental health issues”, noted Ryan Erb, Executive Director of United Way Perth-Huron. Choices for Change has been well received, with the teens that are attending the program enjoying their time there. “This program takes time to grow and to earn people’s trust. Most of the youth that are experiencing issues with substance abuse and/or mental health issues have trouble trusting authoritative figures, so we welcome them in from the cold, to have some food, play some video games, use the free wi-fi or computers and to just get used to the space and the workers until they feel like joining in or asking for assistance”, explained Catherine Hardman, Executive Director of Choices for Change. The program is quickly becoming a valuable service in the community, with the counsellors planning some outreach events in April.
“It’s the combination of seeing the bulbs light up from community support and the concrete evidence of this support making a difference,” shared Carolynne Champagne. “When you donate to United Way you can see your dollars immediately working to help our youth, help those in poverty and to help our community grow together”. Champagne shared yesterday that United Way has hit the 75% mark but is still behind where they need to be in the campaign and urged the community to rally their support.
Choices for Change offers counselling Tuesday mornings at the Nexus program in Listowel and the Crossing Bridges program is open daily from Monday to Friday 12pm – 4pm at Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Listowel.
United Way supports nearly 50 organizations across Perth and Huron Counties. Donations can be accepted in person at 32 Erie Street, Stratford, online at perthhuron.unitedway.ca or by calling 519-271-7730.
For more information or to set up an interview with Ryan Erb, Executive Director, please call 1-877-818-8867 or 519-271-7730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.