THE RAINBOW YOUTH CENTRE

 

Until 1982 the Rainbow Youth Centre was formally know as the “Regina Multi-service Centre For Youth”. In 1983 it formally renamed to the “Rainbow Youth Centre”. Understanding the history of the Rainbow Youth Center one must delve into the history of the “Regina Multi-service Centre for Youth”. What follows is the beginnings of the Rainbow Youth Centre.
 

THE REGINA MULTI-SERVICE CENTRE FOR YOUTH

 

A development Team made up of concerned community residents, professional adolescent specialists and youth leaders have been meeting together for the purpose of planning and establishing an innovative community-based, Multi-service Centre for youth in Regina. This Centre, which is called the Regina Multi-service Centre for youth, Inc., is intended to provide a core group of services, activities and programs within one facility, to provide additional services through linkages with other youth-serving agencies, and to facilitate the integration and coordination of services for youth in Regina. A major effort will be made to involve youth themselves in the planning and subsequent implementation of the Centre’s services.

 

THEIR HISTORY

 

In January 1982, stimulated by a widely voiced belief that additional services for youth were needed in Regina, a group of social word students from the University of Regina began to survey existing resources for youth. Their purpose was to define major problem areas facing youth, to explore existing agencies providing series to youth, to determine gaps in services and identity.

Many needs of youth are not being adequately met by existing services or agencies, e.g., recreational, educational, vocational, and family planning;

Many high-risk youth and problematic youth are not being reached by existing services;

Additional services designed specifically for youth are needed;

There is a need for free and confidential services for youth;

There is a need for more funding from both the public and private sectors for youth services and activities;

There is a need for coordination and linkage of existing services for youth in Regina;

There is a need to develop creative and innovative approaches to the problems and needs of Regina youth;

There is a need to increase the number of individuals in the community who are trained and experienced in working with youth.

The report concluded that a comprehensive multi-disciplinary approach to youth services would best serve the needs of Regina youth. By providing youth with easy access to a wide range of health, mental health, social, educational, vocational, creative and recreational services, it will be possible to prevent many high-risk youth from experiencing problems later and to resolve problems encountered by other youth before they have major consequences on their lives.

Consequent to this survey the students, together with a group of concerned individuals from a number of agencies and the community began to explore the possibility of developing a centre for youth, which would address the needs identified by the survey. Since May 1982 this group has been meeting on a weekly basis for the purpose of planning and implanting a multi-service and activity centre for youth in Regina. It is intended that this centre provide a wide-range of easily accessible and relevant services to youth, involve youth in its development and services for youth.

The response of the people of Regina to the idea of the youth centre has been enthusiastic. Parents, youth agency representatives and government officials have welcomed the idea and many have been willing to volunteer their efforts in planning for the Centre. A list of agencies and people who have been involved in the planning process are included in the appendix.

The Development Team’s efforts have focused on identifying the target population and problems to be addressed, conceptualizing the services and approaches used by the Centre, developing work plan, and recruiting other interested individuals and youth to volunteer their efforts in developing the Centre.

A work plan has been developed by the Development Team which lists in detail the tasks which must be accomplished in planning activities for the centre. These tasks have been divided into either administrative or program tasks as they relate to a number of essential focal areas. These focal areas are the following: Youth involvement; services, activities and programs; staff and staff training; financial; facility, equipment and supplies; record-keeping, evaluation and research; organizational structure; and interagency liaison. For each of the tasks a date has been set for it completion. A copy of the Work Plan is included in the appendix.

In order to accomplish the many tasks included in the work plan, a number of committees have been developed corresponding to the focal areas. In addition, several committees have developed to address specific issues including the following: youth related news information. A list of the membership on these committees is included in the appendix.

The Youth Workers and other youth volunteers will have positions in the various committees and will be responsible for providing input and working on the tasks to be accomplished. In addition, the Youth Workers, under the guidance, support, and supervision of volunteer social workers and a researcher will be responsible for youth recruitment and the youth needs assessment.

In order to involve youth in the Centre’s development process, to assess their needs and to obtain their input in service planning, the first of a planned series of Youth Speakouts was held in November 1982. Youth from Scott Collegiate and a number of youth agencies and programs participated in this event. A number of youth who had been involved in the Youth Speakout expressed interest in being trained as youth workers for the Centre. As result the first service to youth provided by the Centre began in February 1983. A 10-week long Youth Worker and Youth Leadership Training Program has been developed and implemented. Ten youth are involved in this program, which is being conducted by two social workers who are part of the volunteer Development Team. A series of Youth Awareness and Life Skills Workshops are also being planned and will be conducted by volunteers or out-stationed staff from other agencies in Regina. These workshops are intended to help young people better understand their own developmental process, to support the changes they must undergo and to provide opportunities to explore their attitudes, values and behaviors. Additional services and activities are being planned for the near future.

A developmental grant proposal has been prepared and submitted to a number of governmental agencies and private foundations in order to secure funds for an Administrative Assistant. These three staff will be responsible for coordinating the planning of the Centre, soliciting funds for he activities. They will work closely with the Youth Workers and the rest of the Development Team in planning for the implementation of the Centre.

A short-term goal for the Development Team has been to secure a facility for use by the Centre. A space donated by the Child and Youth Services of Saskatchewan Health has been sued for planning meetings, proposal development and the Youth Work and Youth Leadership Training Program. However, it is felt that permanent facility for the Centre would greatly facilitate the development of services for youth. To this end, the Regina City Council has been approached with a request for approximately 10,0000 square feet of space for use by the Centre. The Council is still considering this request, though there appears to be support among the Council Members for the development of youth center in Regina.

The Regina Multi-service Centre for Youth, Inc. was incorporated on November 22, 1982 and is currently awaiting its tax-exempt status. During its development phase the Center is governed by an interim Board of Directors.

The work of planning the Centre has been facilitated through the involvement of Dr. Loraine Henricks and Dr. James Turanski, psychiatrists working with the Saskatchewan Health, Child and Youth Services. These two Saskatchewan- trained physicians were the founders and directors of an innovative and widely recognized multi-service program for adolescents in New York City called The Door – A Centre of Alternatives. In addition to being successful in reaching and providing services to large numbers of inner city youth with a wide range of problems, the Door has been instrumental in stimulating the development of a number of similar programs in the United States, Canada, and other countries. Utilizing the knowledge and experience which Drs. Henricks and Turanski and other members of the Development Team have gained in the area of adolescent service delivery, it is expected that a youth centre will be implemented in Regina after one year of planning and development. In 1983 the Rainbow Youth Centre was realized.