A pandemic is certainly one way to bring about acknowledgement for many people and organizations as they provide positive change and essential support to those who need it most.
Here is a Q & A with Kevin Jon Gangloff, Director for the Orillia Youth Centre.
LL – Tell me about the importance of the OYC to the community.
KJG – We’re a wonderful community centre with youth of all walks of life coming through our doors taking part in arts, music, cooking, getting help with homework, support for housing, mental health support, or just hanging out in a safe and supervised environment. The OYC has been open since 1999.
The OYC works with youth ages 11-17. Some programs see youth younger and older. The programming and opportunities we offer are 100% free of cost, so youth of all walks of life can access our services. We had over 17,000 visits in 2019. We see many youth seven days a week and work to meet a wide array of needs.
LL -Tell me about some of the activities you host.
KJG – This past year we hosted YOGALZ! – an all girls yoga and life skills program created by our staff, mental health music and song writing workshops, Blacklight Theatre, music nights, arts and crafts – a partnership with Otter Art Club, Orillia National Youth Week, Camp Old Navy job readiness program, weekly open gym, cooking workshops, a special mental health art project for youth in conjunction with Lakehead University, youth created and led events and activities, amazing drop-in programs for youth seven days a week, and so much more.
LL – How does the OYC support youth and their families?
KJG -Our annual Christmas and Holiday Dinner served over 130+ youth and families. We’ve delivered over 300+ supply packages to youth over the year as well as had daily giving tables where youth or their families can access clothing, hygiene products, school supplies etc. We offer daily laundry services for youth who need that service, and support youth in schools and the community. Our Staff are all trained Child and Youth Workers, Social Workers, DSW, and daily work with youth and families to address incredibly complex issues.
LL – Tell me about the fundraising event at the end of September.
KJG – The 5th Annual Roots North Music Festival Revisited is being hosted this year on Saturday September 26, 2020 at the Barrie Sunset Drive-in Theatre. 100% of the proceeds from this annual fundraiser go directly to support youth programming at the centre. It allows us to operate year after year and provide services for youth.
This year the concert is being headlined by Hawksley Workman with special guest Terra Lightfoot and more. Tickets and information can be found at www.orilliayouthcentre.ca
LL – How can people become involved with the OYC?
KJG – If volunteers want to get involved, call us. Volunteering is on hold, but please still call and connect with us as we slowly open during the pandemic.
Please connect with us on social media. We update programming and information daily on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.