In 1994, under the umbrella of Montreal Youth Unlimited and backed by the Chateauguay-Kahnawake Ministerial who had already been key in various other initiatives such as the Food Bank and the Chaplaincy Program, the search began for a location in which to open the youth centre God was moving to provide for the community of Chateauguay. After much prayer, fundraising and renovations, the doors of Station 7 opened, in September 1996. Word of mouth brought many young people to have fun and be helped in a safe environment. So many issues were seen, experienced and addressed by staff and volunteers as they listened to the teens and were role models to them of appropriate values of integrity. One of the biggest subjects faced almost daily was in the realm of sexuality, and on Father’s Day 2003, Options Crisis Pregnancy Centre was “born”. In the world we are living in, crisis pregnancies are often happening at a younger age and bring with them an array of emotions; from excitement and anticipation to worry and fear. Several people were trained and prepared to offer accurate information and education on all the options and support, with sensitivity and compassion to all those individuals and families whose lives were affected. Station 7 and Options existed hand in hand, a good marriage to meet the growing needs. As time moved forward, it became evident that many young people were dropping out of school, discouraged and feeling worthless. Some couldn’t read. How could their talents and gifts be used in a different way? What could they make with their hands? In 2004 the Shop was opened with the desire to teach teens to create something beautiful, and as a result to feel good about themselves.
Finished products (reproduction furniture, crafts, etc.) would be displayed and sold in front of the Shop in the Boutique, opened in 2006 and all proceeds would go back into the ministry. Businesses also began to donate skin care products and candles etc. from local trade shows to add to the charm of the place and to attract the community. To helping young people further, a liaison was developed with Correctional Services, and many teens were able to work off their community service hours through our centre. Each one was encouraged to stay out of trouble and not to repeat their offence. In 2007, our centre was approached by World Vision, to partner with them on a pilot project under their mandate to eliminate child poverty and violence. As our mission aligned with theirs, Project Renaissance was begun in 2008 to offer youth who were struggling to graduate an alternative method of receiving their high school diploma, as well as to receive life skills training. Our youth learned about moving forward and never giving up!!
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