History of Why Not Youth Centres
Why Not City Missions (WNCM) has been actively reaching the at-risk youth and the homeless population since 2002. Founded by Charlie and Sue Kopczyk, the Mission's first program is still providing food and clothing for those in need. WNCM addresses the challenge of young people engaging in destructive behaviour and suffering from personal struggles such as drug and alcohol addictions, homelessness, poverty, violence and poor self-esteem by cultivating meaningful relationships with the at-risk youth who come through our doors.
Why Not offers programs that foster social development, personal growth and empowerment of homeless and at-risk youth. We provide instructional opportunities to develop crucial life, job-readiness and communication skills. At the Youth Centre we offer constructive programs that strengthen their social skills while building a greater self-esteem and self-worth allowing them to achieve stability in their lives and learning to become productive members of the community.
In 2004, Why Not Brantford Youth Centre (an Initiative of Why Not City Missions) was founded. Engaging up to 50 youth a night, enthusiastic volunteers have been the backbone for the ongoing youth mentorship and programming that have helped youth to thrive all these years. Some of the original programs included The Java Restaurant, which provided job skills to the youth while providing a safe place to complete volunteer hours, along with Power Blast, a 1-hour radio show produced and edited for youth by youth, along with dance, art, and photography lessons.
Today, tutoring services are always available, and some of the youth are part of a Motorcycle Restoration project! Arts and crafts activities are often on the go, and there are Rockband nights, as well as pool, air hockey, and video games every night of the week.
We still provide hot dogs, pizza and refreshments every Thursday evening for 50-100 people outdoors all year around in all kinds of weather. We also provide a full dinner every Monday evening for 25-50 at-risk youth and a Family Drop-in on Saturday afternoons for all ages where the 35-80 guests enjoy food and fellowship.
While we provide these basic services, the staff and 60+ volunteers spend time listening to the needs of the people. Further, we always try to refer our clients to the agency that would best help them with their specific need. Why Not has been actively involved with the Out of the Cold program in Brantford, especially.
In 2007, we opened the Youth Centre next door to The Java Restaurant at 86 Colborne, and in 2012, we grabbed hold of the opportunity to purchase our own building at 368 Colborne Street. We are currently open Monday to Thursday from 5:00 to 9:00.
We also have special events including karaoke, games tournaments, dances, movie nights and have speakers come in to address issues such as self-esteem, drug issues, family and peer relationships.
In November 2009 we opened Why Not Paris Youth Centre. With tremendous support from the Paris community and over 20 volunteers, the youth centre attracts up to 75 youth an evening. Paris is open Monday to Wednesday 7:00 to 9:00 and Friday's 9:00 to 12:00. The youth spend the evening playing pool, air hockey, foosball and games while listening to music. Paris also has a girls and guys night once a month.
Our drop in program in St. George is open Friday nights.
We impact the lives of the at-risk youth through collaboration with community partners and through strong mentorship programs.
Some people see things and ask why we dream things that never were and say Why Not?
Community Helping Community.