Giving youth in need a bigger purpose
Health | April 8, 2015
For at risk and homeless youth, Operation Come Home’s re:purpose boutique provides experience, motivation and most importantly, hope.
In communities across the country, Operation Come Home is working to ensure homelessness for youth does not translate into a future of homelessness for adults.Originally founded in Ottawa, Operation Come Home, in steady operation since 1971, has been working with at-risk and homeless youth offering education, jobs, housing, mental health and addiction support. Today the enterprising organization has branched into a variety of social businesses and has also created a first of its kind national reunite program – helping to reunite runaway youth with their families.
The organization’s five unique social enterprises employ between 50 to 60 youth every single year. Operation Come Home does everything including, bottle collection, jewelry making, a retail store featuring the work of 75 artisans, and a farming business for community-supported agriculture, Operation Come Home is now in the business of creating social enterprises to create opportunities for at risk youth.
“Just asking me how I was that day, was enough to keep me going.”
“Many of the at risk and homeless youth that gain access to Operation Come Home have been in Foster Care or in the Children’s Aid society. Often young people that are not in school on a full time basis are discharged from the system and as a result they end up at Operation Come Home with no resources,” said Elspeth Mckay, Executive Director, Operation Come Home.
For a young woman named Audrey, a similar journey led her to Operation Come Home’s programs when she was 17. Her story is a familiar one. Both of her parents were diagnosed with schizophrenia and were heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol. She wasn’t willing to follow a similar path, and took it upon herself to leave home. She found herself at a local women’s shelter. After bouncing around the system for a while, it was the small light of hope offered by Operation Come Home and its re:Purpose program that led her down a road to a positive future.