Life is immediate and dangerous for thousands of youth on the streets in Canada. These young people end up homeless for multiple and often complicated reasons. Many have dealt with or are fleeing abuse, and many have mental health challenges, addictions, or learning issues to overcome. Longer-term planning and hopes and dreams for the future often become sidelines to the every day struggle of finding safe shelter and food in an often hostile environment.
In Ottawa, Operation Come Home offers homeless and at-risk youth a first point of contact to access counseling, stabilisation, employment, and education programs.
Many youth who come to OCH enroll in the Rogers Achievement Centre – an alternative school run in conjunction with the Ottawa Catholic School Board that works with around 90 students annually. The program not only helps students achieve academic credits, equivalencies and diplomas, but staff also work with each youth individually to help them develop and set goals for the future.
In 2011, we launched into a three-year evaluation of the OCH Rogers Achievement Centre to look at the impact that it has on youth, and to see where improvements might be made. Working with program staff and over 230 youth, we learned a lot about what goes into running a successful alternative school program, as well as what it takes to overcome the issues that street-involved youth face.
Read about one student’s personal journey, and find out more about the evaluation results and the program, by downloading the full report here.
For more information on Operation Come Home and the Rogers Achievement Centre, visit their website.