Haven Too: A Program For Youth in Central Ottawa
Haven Too Coordinator Brandon Rabideau recently gave members of the Centretown Churches Social Action Committee (CCSAC) a compelling look into an organization serving vulnerable youth in our community. Fourth Avenue Baptist Church (Bank Street at Fourth Avenue) started Haven Too five years ago to complement another downtown youth shelter and drop-in centre, ensuring that young people in Ottawa have a safe place to stay every night of the week.
Haven Too provides up to 25 youth a safe place to visit every Wednesday and Thursday from 9 pm to 9 am. Staff and volunteers provide a hot meal, offer first aid and refer youth to other agencies for other supports. “Our goal is to be present, to be a listening ear,” Brandon explained. While Covid-19 has curtailed some activities, the program has continued to operate during the pandemic.
Thanks to the strong support of the congregation and successful fundraising, Haven Too is now on solid enough ground to consider expanding its services and seeking partnerships with like-minded organizations. Brandon stressed that Fourth Avenue Baptist and Haven Too are open to working with CCSAC and its member congregations on new partnerships in the future. One suggestion is that a congregation, especially one with a young adult group, might consider an “adopt a night” project at Haven Too once a month, bringing a meal and providing young people to interact with the centre’s clients.
For more information on Haven Too, visit www.fourthavebaptist.ca