The transition from adolescence to adulthood can be tough. Girls aged 16 to 18 are better able to make that transition thanks to the support of Margaret’s Place. Located at the YWCA, Margaret’s Place is operated under the Ministry of Social Services and offers a safe haven for teen girls.
“Youth come to us based on a referral from their social worker,” explained Youth Counsellor Courtney Zerk.
When youth enter the program they meet with a counsellor to determine their personal needs.
“We assess everyone individually,” said Zerk. “They may be struggling with mental health issues or addictions or they may be leaving an abusive family situation.
“Each youth has their own needs and we work closely with them to assess where they are at and we meet them there.”
Rules of the residence include being respectful of staff and other clients, keeping the space neat and tidy, and staying in school. There are no drugs or alcohol permitted and residents need to adhere to outlined curfews.
“Staying in school is important,” said Zerk who explained that if a youth is continuing their education they are permitted to stay at the residence until they are 21 years old.
Margaret’s Place offers a great deal of independence. Each youth is given a grocery allowance and is responsible for preparing their own meals. The staff helps prepare youth at Margaret’s Place for living on their own by offering budgeting tips and cooking classes.
The apartment offers four bedrooms with two full bathrooms and a complete kitchen.
“Margaret’s Place is really unique in that it gives youth a chance to learn what life is like in the outside world,” explained Zerk.
Working under the Youth Centre Model, youth are given the opportunity to learn from programming that fits their specific needs. Speakers can be brought in to present on a wide range of topics including mental health, addictions, body image and much more.
Through the Adopt A Room Program, charitable donations are used to enhance the services and programming offered at Margaret’s place. Support Adopt a Room today, or get information about how you can help.
By Terri Eger
Photo by Amanda Andre