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What We Do


Since 1990, Choices for Youth has worked to empower at-risk youth in St. John’s, believing that stable housing, employment, and education are the three Key Life Factors for independence and healthy transitions to adulthood.

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What We Do


Since 1990, Choices for Youth has worked to empower at-risk youth in St. John’s, believing that stable housing, employment, and education are the three Key Life Factors for independence and healthy transitions to adulthood.

As our city’s context and the needs of our at-risk communities continue to change, Choices strives to respond with programming informed by our experiences, the participants in our current programs, and respected national programming and research. As a learning organization, we maintain rigorous monitoring and evaluation processes to ensure we are always offering the highest quality programming possible. Each program offers unique support services and resources to participants. Together, they span four areas of focus: 
 


While our four categories offer insight into the primary functions of each program, programs are equipped to provide relevant support to any individual as needed. These program participants are also able to take advantage of multiple programs at once, and while we monitor and evaluate program outcomes on a regular basis, there is no prescription for what progress looks like for individuals.


Shelter for Young Men

An emergency shelter for individuals identifying as male, aged 16-29.


 

 

Outreach & Youth Engagement

Our front door, and central hub of programming. Drop-in meal services and individualized programs support youth in addressing essential needs.

 

 J U M P S T A R T   Pre-employment skills training for youth ready to transition to longer-term employment or educational programs.

M O M M A   M O M E N T S   A community based, healthy-living, peer-to-peer program for young pregnant and parenting women.

Y O U T H   I N   T R A N S I T I O N S   Skill building and lifestyle coaching with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.

 


 

Rally Haven

Accessible supportive housing for at-risk youth facing homelessness.


 

The Lilly

Affordable longer-term housing for youth facing homelessness to begin individualized support programs.

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Moving Forward

Intensive support for at-risk youth aged 16-24 who struggle with complex mental health issues.


 

 

Impact COnstruction

Social enterprise construction company and on-the-job safety and construction training for at-risk youth ready to secure long-term, sustainable employment or pursue skilled trades training.

 

 

 

Youth Leadership Council

Leaders who give back by consulting on youth programs, providing mentorship, and supporting CFY with their perspectives and experiences.

 
 
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Our Vision


Choices for Youth is a dynamic, progressive, youth-focused organization that continually strives to improve quality of service, so as to enhance young people’s lives and enable them to meet their goals.

Our Vision


Choices for Youth is a dynamic, progressive, youth-focused organization that continually strives to improve quality of service, so as to enhance young people’s lives and enable them to meet their goals.

mission

A community-based, not-for-profit organization which provides youth with a range of supportive housing options, access to a variety of services that promote healthy personal development, and a sense of belonging within an environment of respect, tolerance, peace, and equality.

operating principles

Based on an empowerment philosophy, the operating principles of Choices for Youth state that: programming must meet the needs of young people, promote flexibility and innovative response, and be designed and evaluated in partnership with them. 

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Our Model


Choices for Youth began by operating with a simple two-step process: help youth find housing, education, and employment, and then help them maintain it.

Our Model


Choices for Youth began by operating with a simple two-step process: help youth find housing, education, and employment, and then help them maintain it.

Since then, we have deepened our understanding of an outreach and harm-reduction philosophy. Youth come to us with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and needs  our work is to respond with safe housing options first, and to focus on choices that do the least harm.

This has lead us to develop a more complex model of programming:

Step 1: Provide individuals with options to find housing, employment, training, and education.
Step 2: Provide intensive models of support on personal barriers to achieving the desired outcomes in Step 1.
Step 3: Increase youth engagement in individuals' immediate and broader communities.
Step 4: Increase options and support for continued individual stability and independence.

 Youth are involved in every step of the program design process:

Inform

Be active in our community of practice, locally and nationally.
Choices is an active voice in research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing in Newfoundland and Labrador, and across Canada. Most recently, we participated in a study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Ask for real input and feedback from youth.
We invited 20 youth to be a part of a strategic conversation regarding our Outreach and Youth Engagement Program, which directly resulted in adding a program priority on mental health and addictions. 

 

Deliver

Design forefront programming.
Inspired by the success of BUILD / Warm up Winnipeg, we designed Train for Trades with our knowledge of what the community and market needed here. One of a kind in St. John’s, we have now begun working with York University to create a toolkit so others can replicate this program across the country.

Nurture a trusting community and a sense of belonging.
The connections made between staff and youth, and between youth, last a lifetime. A current supportive housing participant shared that “the staff – they would do anything for you. If you treat them with respect, you always get respect back. They will stand behind you and they will stand up for you.”

Open doors to support.
On a yearly basis, more than 1000 individuals come through our doors. Beyond what we provide, our program staff continue to connect youth with supportive programming external to Choices.

 

evaluate

Be rigorous in articulating assumptions and measuring success.
Choices is committed to working with the changing contexts of St. John’s at-risk youth, and strives to evolve our programming as needs and realities demand it. See our Reports.

 Seek external evaluation.
Choices has consistently worked with external consultants to ensure the information we receive on our programming’s strengths and weaknesses is valid, comprehensive, and unbiased. View our evaluations.

 

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Our Impact


Choices for Youth works based on our belief in the real potential of St. John’s homeless and at-risk youth. We provide a continuum of supportive programs, connecting youth with the security, skills, and opportunities needed to realize their potential.

Our Impact


Choices for Youth works based on our belief in the real potential of St. John’s homeless and at-risk youth. We provide a continuum of supportive programs, connecting youth with the security, skills, and opportunities needed to realize their potential.

In our 20+ years of service, we have been privileged to be part of the stories of countless individuals in our community – each with their own unique challenges, ambitions, history, and potential. 

We will work with over 1000 of these young people in 2015. Each will bring us new insight into the changing and challenging realities of homelessness in St. John's, and each will begin a new story of real potential through participation in one or more of our programs.

You can read some of their stories here, and in the statistics of our Annual Reports. Check back regularly – we always have a new and remarkable story to tell.