July 22, 2021
The IYSN (Integrated Youth Services Network) finally has its proper name and will henceforth be known as THE GROVE Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. See their new website here
The creation of these new youth hubs in Guelph Wellington has miraculously occurred in less than two years. Without the Rotary Club of Guelph's initiative in acting as a neutral facilitator, this incredible development would likely not have happened at all. Our club will forever link the names of our members Cyndy Forsyth and Paul Dredge to this endeavour, with deep gratitude for their tireless efforts and vision in pulling together existing community resources to support our youth in a new way.
July 22, 2021 was a very special milestone. There was an official ground-breaking ceremony for the future home on Woolwich Street of CMHA-WW's 60,000 square foot Centre for Children's Mental Health and Development Services where The Grove will occupy 8,000 square feet. 
Along with this groundbreaking came news of the incredible $50 million donation to CMHA-WW by Rotarian Robert Eiler's property development company, Vesperra. The full story in Guelph Today is a must-read. Robert has been a Rotarian for 19 years, the last 5 of which have been with the Rotary Club of Guelph.
The Rotary Club of Guelph's charitable foundation, RGC Fund, will provide funding of $250,000 towards The Grove hub on Woolwich Street to be distributed as follows: $200,000 plus up to an additional $50,000 in the matching of other donations dollar for dollar, by the time the facility opens in 2023. Donation details can be found here.
Of the seven planned youth hubs, the three in Wellington are already up and running, in Fergus, Erin and Palmerston. The four youth hubs planned for the city of Guelph (Woolwich Street, UoG, Shelldale and The Y) all require construction and will open at various times, in 2022 and 2023. 
Executive Summary: 
Integrated Youth Services Network Model for Guelph and Wellington County
April 2019
The Vision 
A grassroots community initiative is well underway, led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, to bring an integrated youth services network to Wellington County and the city of Guelph. Where youth (age 12 – 26) are at the centre of services that are available in our community, and youth have equal access to a continuum of services from employment to mental health and addiction services. Our vision includes service providers working together to enhance the integration of services and build a system to better meet the needs of youth in our community. 
On November 24th, 2018 the Rotary Club of Guelph working collaboratively with the Guelph YMCA/YWCA, the Guelph Community Foundation and the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington hosted a one-day workshop to examine the viability and willingness to create a youth hub. A wide range of stakeholders were invited to participate in the workshop including youth from the Guelph YMCA/YWCA, City of Guelph Youth Council, and Rotaract. Over 40 different agencies (62 individuals) heard experts giving presentations on relevant topics including the current mental health and addiction crisis in Guelph and Wellington County and what a Youth Hub model looks like. 
Results were not surprising.  Everyone acknowledged that there is an overwhelming need to do things differently, that it will take our entire Community working together to change the alarming trends and trajectory of what we are currently witnessing. 
What is an Integrated Youth Service model?
A “one-stop-shop” for youth aged 12-26 designed to meet a wide range of needs across the continuum, including mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing and other community and social services. Co-designed with youth, they are created to include peer services, outreach, and system-navigation services. Services emphasize quality, are timely, integrated and co-located, making it incredibly easy for youth to get what they need, when they need it.
Initial Stage
We are proposing that the initial stage of this project focuses on physical co-locations in both rural and urban locations for youth, including the creation of a network with multiple locations in Guelph and Wellington County centrally located where a youth can access community services in this one-stop-shop model. This new model of care would consist of the integrated approach provided through youth friendly locations that are easily accessible and provide services on both walk-in and appointment bases. 
How does technology expand the reach? 
Simultaneously, we would build a technology component to enable this work. We know, from research, that youth want to access a physical location to connect with people locally, and they also want to be able to reach out through technology when they are in need and talk to a person who knows their local area. They want to know that someone who knows their community is available to assist them. 
Youth involvement from the beginning 
These spaces would be co-designed by youth to ensure the spaces are what youth want and where they want to be. It is more than simply a mental health and addiction services but also includes a safe place to hang out, access to computers, recreational activities and an array of services to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. 
Four Working Committees were created on April 2, 2019
  1. Community Outreach and Communications 
Assess what outreach has been done to date and create a strategic plan to ensure key stakeholders from both Wellington County and the City of Guelph have had an opportunity to learn about the initiative and how they can be involved. 
  1. Data Analysis, Literature Review, Environmental Scan 
Review the research completed to date by Dr. Henderson, review the phase 1 environmental scan and review the literature. Identity what work and or gaps that need to be completed going forward and make recommendations to the steering committee.
  1. Youth Engagement
Identify the opportunities in Wellington County and Guelph where youth can provide their input and engage. Include both rural and urban youth, different social economic backgrounds, age groups and education levels with the goal to be inclusive. Ensure marginalized youth are able to provide input and engage. Take an inventory of what has been completed and map out strategy forward to ensure those who wish to engage have an opportunity. 
  1. Funding Opportunities 
Identify funding opportunities for the project manager ($150,000). Oversee the creation of the federal funding proposal and prepare a recommendation for the steering committee regarding a work plan for securing funding. Work with the Centre Wellington Community Foundation to secure funding in collaboration. 
These committees have been established to create strategic work plans for each of the above areas. Working groups will come together, identify a path and put pen to paper on how they wish to create the road map for the work that needs to be accomplish in the upcoming year. Volunteers who are interested in engaging and creating the path forward may wish to join one of these committees now. For those who wish to wait until a more formal structure has been established, there will be many opportunities to volunteer as this initiative proceeds. 
As we move this project forward, we are demonstrating our community is willing to do what it takes to meet the needs of our youth in an integrated and innovative way. We know our current system isn’t working.  This model provides us with an opportunity to offer wrap around services for our youth placing them at the centre of their care.  We have no doubt that this model will save the lives of our youth by responding to their needs at the right time, in the right place, and in the right way.