YMCA OF THREE RIVERS
Youth and children have been reported as a hidden cost of the epidemic. The continued shutdowns and disruption to school and extracurricular activities has resulted in a rise of mental health and other issues. Isolation, loneliness, disconnection, and boredom. What’s a kid to do? Thanks to the generosity of donors, like Waste Connections of Canada, and the quick thinking of youth leaders, the YMCA of Three Rivers has created a solution.
“The Lending Library is a free sports equipment renting program for community youth and their families in Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, Stratford and Waterloo,” says Shannon Kaufman, Youth Worker, at the YMCA of Three Rivers. “This is one way to get youth active at home, improving their physical and mental well-being.”
The Lending Library was an idea local youth shared with the Y’s Youth Workers On Call in the first epidemic. “A large part of our job is listening to youth, and finding ways to show up where and how they need us most,” says Melissa Haynes, Lead, Youth Programs at the YMCA of Three Rivers. “It’s amazing to us that our community has gotten on board to help us get more resources to more kids.”
In late December, just prior to a return to restrictions – that include shutting down gyms – the Y received three bikes from staff at Waste Management via the United Way of Waterloo Region Communities (UWWRC). “This program is a wonderful opportunity for families in our community,” says Joan Fisk, UWWRC CEO. “The generous folks at Waste Connections of Canada raised funds to purchase bicycles for youth and wanted to know where they could best be distributed. Because we work with so many local agencies we were able to get the word out and send them to where they could really make a difference in a child’s life. The YMCA was a perfect match considering they already have an established Lending Library. This is just another example of how we are stronger together when we join forces for a great cause.”
“Our community has shown once again that we truly are stronger together,” adds Chantelle Moore, Director of Development at the YMCA of Three Rivers. “The United Way is a valued partner of our work, and to have this gift from Waste Management means we can continue to reach more youth and families when they need us most.”
Any youth or families interested in accessing equipment from the Lending Library can message the YMCA of Three Rivers Youth on social media (@YYOUTHPROGRAMS) or contacting Shannon Kaufman by email. Safe and contactless delivery is included in the program.