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Children & Youth Committee at Rotary Club of Guelph
For years and years, our club had seen the need to improve youth wellness services in our community, to address a well-known problem:  Canada’s health care system is a jigsaw puzzle with many different pieces that can be very hard to navigate – even for health care professionals. For youth seeking help, navigating the system can be a nightmare, and it often fails them.
In the late 1990's, our club came close to establishing a Youth Centre. Read the fascinating story here
In August 2018, Dr. Joanna Henderson was a guest speaker at our club's weekly meeting, and that triggered an amazing Rotary-inspired community project resulting in The Grove Hubs of today.   
Dr. Joanna Henderson is Executive Director of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. She is also Senior Scientist in the Child, Youth and Emerging Adult Program at CAMH, and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Dr. Henderson’s research focuses on improving service delivery and access to care for youth with substance use, mental health or concurrent disorders and their families, through youth and family engagement, collaborative models of service delivery, and knowledge translation and exchange.
Dr. Henderson shared her collaborative concept of "Youth Hubs" already working effectively in some other communities, and encouraged our club to think about supporting the same concept locally, in Guelph-Wellington. With luck, our club had the perfect Rotarian in our midst, Cyndy Moffat Forsyth, to lead the way in testing local appetite for agencies to collaborate in a new way. This first exploratory meeting took place quickly, in November 2018, bringing together dozens of different agencies from Guelph-Wellington, who also heard Dr. Henderson explain the youth hub concept that day, and the vote was a resounding "Yes, we need this." 
Rotary's role in this overall process was critical because we were seen as a competent, neutral, third party facilitator, and not taking sides with one agency over another. 
Fast forward to June 2023. Our community has built on successful Youth Hub experiences from other Canadian cities and regions, and we’ve enhanced our local model to have not only one centre but SEVEN locations in Guelph Wellington where youth between the ages of 12 and 26 can have immediate access to services, including tutoring, housing support, employment counselling, primary care, mental health and substance abuse. The seven micro-sites will be networked together so service providers can access files, and youth will not have to repeat their story each time they request help. Furthermore, youth are deeply engaged in the design of these sites to serve them in the most meaningful way. 
In 2020, Cyndy became the full-time director of The Grove Hubs, where the remarkable progress and results are now inspiring other communities to follow our example. 
In record time, three of the proposed Grove Hubs are already open and operating fully in Wellington County (Fergus, Erin, Palmerston); one is operating at the University of Guelph; two more locations are on the brink of providing hub services at the Guelph Y and at the Shelldale centre; and building construction is well advanced on Gordon Street for the new home of CMHA's youth services building where The Grove will have its flagship youth wellness hub, hopefully in 2023. 
Read about the donation of $268,000 from the Rotary Club of Guelph Foundation to The Grove Hub on Woolwich Street. 
In July 2021, the initial working title of this project, Integrated Youth Services Network (IYSN), was officially renamed to The Grove Hubs along with amazing financial investment news - read the story here.! This development also includes substantial capital from the Rotary Club of Guelph's Foundation. 
What a shining example of possibilities when Rotary gets involved!
Stay tuned for ongoing developments. The Grove Hubs website is at