Welcome Missions Hall opens a new youth services center in Montreal North

MONTREAL — Welcome Hall Mission unveiled its new Montreal North Youth Service Center on Monday, a place where young people who need help getting back on track can receive support.

“When they walk through the door, it’s not just about what they need now, but what they need so they don’t have to come here again,” says Sam Watts, CEO of Welcome Hall Mission.

For young mothers in need, the center offers practical help like nappies and strollers.

And for students at risk of dropping out, local workers are there to steer them in the right direction.

“What we’ll do is work with our community partners to help you get what you need, whatever it is, and follow a path that’s the path you’re looking for,” Watts said. .

One of these community partners is the Montreal Mutual Aid Foundation.

Denbruk Reid, the founder of the foundation, says the new center will be an invaluable starting point for local children.

“You know, kids in this neighborhood, any neighborhood, want to be somewhere where they feel safe, where they feel loved and valued,” he said. “And a place that invests money to make sure the place is clean, well lit and so on.”

For the mayor of Montreal North, it’s the kinds of community investments that help keep young people on track and avoid the kinds of problems that can lead to violence.

“These types of services [..] here in Montreal North make a huge difference because [they’re] always there for young people,” said Mayor Christine Black.

30% of all young people who come to the Welcome Hall Mission come from Montreal North.

Mental health advocate Svetlana Chernienko – who herself needed support when she was 18 – says having resources in the community is essential.

“Having things like that in life [is] so important. It structured the person I am today,” she said. “It was life changing knowing I had support when I needed it.”

In the same building, Welcome Hall Mission operates a free grocery store for families and youth in need.

And with rising food prices and the end of many government assistance programs, they expect a busy winter.

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