Collingwood Public Library serves a significant number of youth who face complex barriers. Homelessness is an issue, as are mental health challenges, addictions, violence/instability at home, and food security. The struggle to find the best ways to meet some of the very important needs of youth who access our space is an ongoing challenge.
In this session, we will discuss the complexity of serving high-needs youth in the context of a relatively small town that lacks some key crisis services. Public libraries in any sized community can fill in some of the gaps, often by building local partnerships. In particular, we will present on some of our biggest successes related to food security, which include our weekly meal program and our community garden. We will discuss how these became well-established programs youth have come to rely on.
– Programming for barriered youth
– How to run a successful meal program (budgets, community partnerships, other considerations)
– Operating a small community garden with youth involvement
– Developing local partnerships.