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Nexus Youth Explore Homelessness & Mental Health in Peel

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My counsellor and I really get along. Easy to talk to.
Last fall, Nexus youth received a $2,000 Youth in Action grant from United Way Peel Region to create a short documentary about youth homelessness and mental health in Peel. Over the course of the last year, youth worked together to plan and execute this ground-breaking project, dubbed Nexrace because of its Amazing Race theme. The Nexrace team recruited six local organizations to profile in the documentary: AYSP’s RAIN program, Rapport Youth & Family Services, Canadian Mental Health Association – Peel Branch, Our Place Peel, Peel Youth Village, and Nexus Youth Services.

Through interviews and meetings with service providers, the team gained greater awareness of support services available in Peel for transitional aged youth (ages 14-24). The youth involved in the project also gained a greater understanding of mental health stigma, and were surprised to learn that the need for youth housing support is so great that service providers often can’t meet demand. On September 19th, the Nexrace team shared their experience with over 60 youth at the Peel Youth Leaders Conference, and on October 7th they shared the final cut with the community partners who participated in the Nexrace project.

Nexrace team member Stephen had this to say about the project at its conclusion:

“What I have learned about my time on the NexRace project is the need for safety and affirmation for youth who are struggling with homelessness and poverty. As youth, we need to play our part in providing awareness of services and resources available in order to make sure youth feel safe and included. We also need to advocate for more services so no youth has to be turned away in a time of need.”

The Nexrace team extends its thanks to United Way Peel Region for supporting this project.

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