ORANGEVILLE, ON, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Choices Youth Shelter is being
recognized by the Atkinson Charitable Foundation with the 2012 Ruth
Atkinson Hindmarsh Award, worth $50,000, for its commitment to serving
disadvantaged youth in rural communities.
Located in Orangeville, Choices Youth Shelter is the only emergency
shelter for homeless and at-risk youth in Dufferin County.
"Until Choices Youth Shelter opened in 2000, these troubled youth had
nowhere to go," explained Mary Vervoort, Executive Director of Choices
Youth Shelter. "With few services available in rural communities for
their specific needs, young people would often end up on the streets of
Toronto or sometimes in jail."
Over the past twelve years, Choices Youth Shelter has become the lead
agency assisting youth in the county and surrounding area. Each year,
this modest organization provides shelter, food, clothing, and other
services for over 300 young people between the ages of 16 and 24.
"Mary and her team have created a unique environment where they can
assess and support the diverse needs of every young person who comes
through their doors," said Emily Mathieu, chair of the selection
committee and board member of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation. "The
entire committee is so pleased to support an organization that provides
such innovative and essential services for youth in a place that feels
less like a shelter and more like a home."
Some of the services offered include grief counselling, legal support,
community referrals, life skills training, and art therapy. The award
will be used to continue these existing services, as well as to develop
community outreach programs designed to prevent youth from requiring
emergency shelter in the first place.
"Ultimately, the mission of Choices Youth Shelter is to eliminate the
need for its services," said Ms. Vervoort. "Unfortunately, until that
day, there is plenty of work to be done. We are very grateful to
receive this award, as the pressing needs of rural youth often go
The Award is presented annually in memory of Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh,
daughter of Joseph E. Atkinson and president of the Atkinson Charitable
Foundation until her death in 1994. Established in 1998 to improve the
lives of disadvantaged children, the $50,000 award is the largest of
its kind in Canada.
SOURCE: Atkinson Charitable Foundation
For further information:
Christine Avery Nuñez
Atkinson Charitable Foundation