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New safe space for Barrie youth

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Youth in Barrie in need of a safe space now have a new option.

Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County officially unveiled the hub for its YouthCALL program. The space, which includes seating areas and activities, including a ping-pong table, is open to teens 14 to 19.

"It's a youth drop-in," said Amanda Fellows, the community programs manager for the organization. "So youth ages 14 to 19 can drop in and hang out with other youth, or they can connect with one of our youth outreach workers and just enjoy being together."

The YouthCALL program continued to operate throughout the pandemic but could only do so virtually. This new space was created after the organization received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The YouthCALL program is a joint effort by various groups, including Youth Haven, the CMHA, CONTACT Community Services, New Path and the Gilbert Centre.

"I think bringing organizations together helps to engage youth in a more intentional way," said Fellows. "We also have great school partners, so that's helped us to be able to promote the program."

Catholic Family Services has a presence throughout Simcoe County with spaces in Bradford, Innisfil, Collingwood and Orillia.

While the space is targeted to younger teens, the YouthCALL program has supports available for people up to the age of 28, including mental health and housing assistance.

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