May 28th, 2024

Wood’s donation helps open the doors for youth in need


By Dale Woodard - Lethbridge Herald on December 4, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Kim and Trina Tymko, along side program manager Shauna Cohen, at right, have stepped up to support funding for weekend staffing at Wood's Homes this winter.

A generous donation by a local family will ensure youth have someplace warm to go as the winter months settle in.
On Friday, the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta made a special grant presentation and announcement at Wood’s Homes in the form of a donor advised grant that will address youth homelessness in the community.
Making a donation of $21,000 to Wood’s Homes was Trina and Kim Tymko with a portion of the donation to be used to maintain staff on the weekends so kids have a warm, safe place to be.
Woods Homes is not funded to have a daytime staff.
“This donation is extremely important to Wood’s Homes Lethbridge programs,” said Shauna Cohen, program manager Woods Homes. “We do not have the funding to remain open during the daytime hours, particularly on the weekend during the winter months. With the youth having nowhere to go and closing at 8:30 a.m., it can be cold, dangerous and scary. So with part of this donation we’ll be able to remain open during the colder winter months and provide immediate support and counselling and services to the young people instead of just sending them out on the streets and having them become more at risk.
Cohen said the other portion of this money will help to provide young people with some of those unforeseen needs such as support employment, school fees, transportation or medical expenses.
Currently, Wood’s Homes has four of their eight beds available just due to having to close down every second bed because of COVID restrictions, said Cohen.
“But if that fifth kid came to the door and they needed support we’re definitely not turning them away without trying to put something in place for them. We have a great staff that’s really creative in their thinking and thinking outside the box and definitely no one will be turned away.”
Trina said the donation to Wood’s Homes is important to them as a family.
“We have three children and we have all in our family been touched with mental health issues. The blessings we have as a family and the means to be able to go to counselling and to be able to go to different services where we have the means to be able to pay for that, we understand as a family we are blessed for that,” said Trina.
Friday’s donation was also a call to the government to step up in assisting youth.
“We also understand there are many in Lethbridge and area that don’t have those means and it’s shocking to me that it’s one area where there is a huge gap in our government, that they do not support youth at risk. So with our fund we have as a family, we knew it was important that we wanted to put something towards youth and mental health.”
Trina said when they found out Wood’s Homes didn’t have the funding for youth to have a roof over their heads for the weekends, it was a “no brainer” to help.
“The reason we wanted to bring this to light and make a bit of a deal of this, is for awareness. Because we had no idea, and I’m sure there are many people out there who have no idea (about) the lack of funding towards youth and care,” she said. “Whether you support the NDP or the UCP or the Liberal party, it doesn’t really matter what government group you support. It’s important to tell the government that it’s not acceptable that these youth are on the street and they’re not getting the support they need.”
Trina reached out to other potential donors looking to give to a cause.
“If any donors are looking to donate somewhere, contact that organization and ask tons of questions,” she said. “Ask for a tour. There are never enough questions you can ask.”
Cohen said they’ve seen about a 20 per cent increase in their already-high mental health needs for the clients they serve.
“So it’s pretty important that young people have a safe place to go and a safe place to ask for help. Even if they don’t stay and use a shelter bed, we still have staff here that can provide crisis support, resources, referrals and any sort of needs they might have. It might be they’re just hungry and they’re downtown and they don’t know where to go for help. We’re open 365 days a year and now because of this donation we’ll be able to be open on weekends instead of closing our doors in the morning.”
Cohen said they have had to increase some restrictions around the drop-in support due to COVID. 
“But they can definitely still come to the door and make a request. We’re not going to turn anybody away without giving them some sort of help.”
For more information on Wood’s Homes visit http://www.woodshomes.ca

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