Bathurst Youth Centre chosen as one of Canada's most innovative organizations for homeless youth

Winner of Eva's Initiatives Award for Innovation sponsored by CIBC

BATHURST, NB, May 3 /CNW/ - CIBC is pleased to announce that the Bathurst Youth Centre has been selected as one of Canada's most innovative organizations for homeless youth by Eva's Initiatives, an organization that works with homeless and at-risk youth aged 16 to 24 to get them off the streets permanently.

The Eva's Initiatives Awards for Innovation are sponsored by CIBC and given out annually to recognize outstanding work with homeless youth. The Bathurst Youth Centre was selected for its Bathurst Youth House transitional housing initiative, which will address the community's need for longer term transitional housing for youth 16 to 21 in the Chaleur region. When the facility opens, it will have capacity to house six youths, all of whom will be required to be attending school or working in the community. These youth will be supported through skills development opportunities, including life skills required to share in household tasks and maintain independent housing.

"The Bathurst Youth Centre is very proud to have been selected for this award," said Lise Ouellette, Executive Director, Bathurst Youth Centre. "We see the effects that homelessness has on the health and well-being of youth in our community and we continue to work to find innovative solutions to help them rebuild their futures. This award is one step forward for a much-needed transitional house that will help homeless and at-risk youth in the Chaleur region."

"Two critical issues facing homeless youth are the need for prevention work and the lack of affordable housing opportunities for youth in many cities," comments Rachel Gray, Eva's Director of National Initiatives. "Transitional housing programs like the Bathurst Youth Centre initiative are creative and effective ways of working with members of the community to address local housing concerns."

The Province of New Brunswick is also involved in this project, as part of its efforts to help organizations move away from traditional emergency response services towards more proactive programs. It will use a model that is designed to ensure 24/7 staffing and ongoing linkages with employment counsellors, social workers, and outreach workers.

"At CIBC, helping young people achieve their full potential is an important part of our community investment program," said Sylvain Vinet, CIBC's Senior Vice-President for Eastern Canada. "We are proud to support Eva's Initiatives and the National Innovation Awards and salute Bathurst Youth Centre for its exemplary work with homeless youth." CIBC has had a long-standing relationship with Eva's Initiatives, to which it has contributed more than $330,000 since 1995.

Nationally, Eva's Initiatives works to build innovative and long-term solutions to youth homelessness. The Eva's Initiative Innovation Awards program is in its sixth year of recognizing the work of organizations across Canada to help homeless youth become self-sufficient. Since 2006, Eva's Initiatives has honoured 18 organizations for their work with homeless and at-risk youth. A six member panel, knowledgeable about services for homeless youth, reviews all applications and selects three winners from among the many applicants with impressive and innovative projects underway in communities across the county.

The other winners for 2011 are:

    <<
    -   Phoenix Youth Programs for Phoenix Prevention Program and Community
        Development Initiative in Mulgrave Park (Halifax, NS)
    -   Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) for RaY Emergency Shelter and
        Transition (REST) (Winnipeg, MB)
    >>

CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2010, $33.7 million was contributed through the CIBC group of companies to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada, supporting a wide variety of national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit www.communitymatters.cibc.com.

SOURCE CIBC

For further information: Rachel Gray, Director, National Initiatives, Eva's Initiatives, rachel@evas.ca, 416-977-4497; Lise Ouellette, Executive Director, Bathurst Youth Centre, byc@nb.aibn.com, 506-549-3215; or Kevin Dove, Senior Director, Media Relations, CIBC, 416-980-8835, kevin.dove@cibc.com.


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