Youth centre staff to canoe for funds

Four staff members of the United Native Friendship Centre’s youth drop-in centre will canoe from Fort Frances to Rainy River to raise money for the D.A.R.E. program and a sound system for the centre.
Brad Herbert, the Healing and Wellness Youth Support co-ordinator for the U.N.F.C., and youth workers R.J. Comeau, Darwin Woods, and Justin Hamilton are looking for sponsors for their canoe-a-thon, which will begin Aug. 28.
“We will be asking businesses for a donation of at least $1 per mile and it’s about 80 miles,” said Comeau.
The group will take three days to travel the length of the river.
The trip will cap off a series of fundraisers being put on by the youth centre’s staff and visitors. The L’il Eagles and the United Voices Youth Council are combining forces with the OPP to fund D.A.R.E. program initiatives and promote alcohol and drug-free events for youth.
The youth groups have pledged to come up with the funding for permanent D.A.R.E. banners to hang at every school in the district.
“They’re going to go up in the schools and hang [there] year-round,” noted Fort Frances OPP Cst. Cameron Howard.
The canoe trip also will coincide with the beginning of the school year and let people know the centre is there for youth this fall.
“It’s also got a lot to do with promoting the centre to kids going back to school. We want to get more kids in here,” said Woods.
“It’s a place where youth can hang out, a place to get youth off of the street,” noted Dan Bone, who often visits the centre.
Other fundraisers planned this month include a barbecue from 4 to 6 p.m. this Saturday (Aug. 11) at the youth centre building at 616 Mowat Ave., a table at the Crime Stoppers booth at the Emo Fair on Aug. 18, and a rummage sale and car wash at the youth centre Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“If anybody has any items they would like to donate [for the rummage sale], they could bring them in to the youth centre,” noted Cst. Howard.
The centre also will host a youth dance Aug. 31.
With any extra money, the group hopes to purchase some additional equipment for the centre.
“We want to raise enough money to get a large-screen TV, a dish, and a sound system for when we have dances,” said Woods.
The youth centre, which opened at its Mowat Avenue location last winter, provides numerous substance-free outings and activities throughout the year as well as a place for youth to spend their afternoons and evenings seven days a week.
“I think they’ve got an excellent location and an excellent program,” said Cst. Howard.