Hope Stories

A Haven Away from Home

How New Hope Youth Centre Became a Safe Haven for First Nations Youth
Published May 17, 2024, 2 min read.
Canada
Image

What started as a one-night-a-week drop-in centre has blossomed into a vibrant community hub, open six nights a week. Focused on First Nations youth, the New Hope Youth Centre addresses the pressing issue of youth disappearances by providing a safe haven after school. The Centre isn’t just a place for recreation; it’s a space where ownership is encouraged, with some youth even bringing entertainment systems to share with the group.

But the journey hasn’t been without its challenges. The Centre’s Director, Andrew Lang, acknowledges the resistance, particularly from a community wary of faith-based initiatives due to the negative legacy of residential school systems. However, through patient outreach and by demonstrating the tangible benefits to both youth and elders, trust is slowly but surely being built.

The youth enjoy outdoor fun and the warmth of the ice fishing fire.
It’s bouldering night! Scaling rocks and chasing heights.

From family days spent bonding over fireside chats to summer hiking trips and leadership summit, the Centre offers a diverse range of activities that foster personal growth and community connection. Here are anticipated events on the horizon:

  • Summer Trip: An exciting hiking trip with Coldwater, offering the youth a chance to enjoy the outdoors and create lasting memories. 
  • Leadership Summit: In July, some of them will attend a Leadership Summit in Southern Illinois, providing valuable experiences focused on personal growth and development. 
  • Outdoor Adventure: Potential partnership with NAN Choose Life Programming, which would provide outdoor activities like sledding, hunting, and fishing to the youth. 
  • Art Café: Vendors are gearing up to teach the youth various art techniques and skills, providing a creative outlet for learning and self-expression.  An art café is a creative space where artists showcase their craft, engaging youth interested in exploring different art forms.

Seeing the success of the centre, Andrew expresses gratitude for the opportunity to bring joy and meaning to the lives of First Nations youth.

Witnessing the baptism of one of the youth in the program.

Prayers:

Please pray for God’s comfort and strength for the community as they mourn the couple recent strange deaths of First Nations youth. We pray for those who have lost a friend in one of these tragic incidents. May they find comfort and healing in their grief.  

Please pray for God’s favor in establishing more robust partnerships with organizations like NAN Choose Life, which would enable New Hope to expand their support network and resources for those in need.  

Lastly, please pray for unity and cooperation among native communities to address common challenges and build a brighter future for their people.