November 2, 2020
A grassroots community initiative is well underway, led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, to bring an integrated youth services model 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 30 different agencies 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.
Where are we today? 7 Sites 1 Door - Confirmed Sites 
  • North Wellington (Palmerston) – renovations in progress, estimated opening date mid December
  • Centre Wellington (Fergus) – The B-Hive is open now, an additional 6,000 square feet scheduled to open March 2021
  • East Wellington (Erin) – open now
  • University of Guelph – Family Counselling Building – construction required, estimated opening date fall of 2021
  • Guelph Y – construction required, estimated opening date end of 2022
  • Shelldale Family Gateway – construction required, estimated date 2022
  • Canadian Mental Health Association – construction required, estimated date 2020/ early 2023
University of Guelph Partnerships
  • Working with the Co-op Department to secure a student for the Peer Support Program in January 2021
  • Working with Community Engaged Scholarship Institute (CESI) as a finalist on the Oak Tree Project
  • Working with Andrew Papadopoulos from Population Medicine to partner and provide a graduate student an opportunity to help develop the service pathways for service providers
Fundraising Update
We are pleased to report that as of October 30, 2020, we have raised 43% of our $10 million goal. Our Campaign Chairs, Rose Zen-Soligo and Jim Jarrell, have been hard at work leading our dedicated Campaign Cabinet. Cabinet members include: Paul Dredge, Jason Evans, Jay Elinsky, Katie Giddy, Lynda White, Derrick Thomson, Don Vallery, Jason Ashdown, Ray Stultz, David Pell, Scott Pollard, Peter Barrow. We are preparing for the public campaign which should launch next spring.
This is a community-wide initiative, we are aligning our efforts and doing what it takes to meet the needs of our youth in an integrated and innovative way. Youth are at the centre of our work – co-designing the spaces and systems we develop. 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.  It is a unique approach building upon the evidence-based model created by Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario. Our model addresses three key areas:
  • expanding services for youth in rural communities,
  • including integrated care for transitionally aged youth (by partnering with the University of Guelph), and  
  • ensuring we use technology wisely by connecting all seven sites to one data base system allowing providers to work together an provide integrated 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. 
Twitter:       @IYSNGuelph