Homeless youth in Windsor and Essex County will have a new safe space to unwind thanks to a $13,000 grant from TD Friends of Environment Foundation.
Tamara Kowalska, executive director of Windsor Youth Centre, said the grant allowed the facility the opportunity to create a teaching garden in the backyard of their Wyandotte Street location. The garden is designed to teach youth how to grow and harvest food and flowers but it also offers a bit more.
“It also gives them a really quiet and calm healing place,” Kowalska said. “A lot of our youths do struggle with mental health issues, addictive and physically health problems, so this is also a wonderful resource in terms of just healing.”
The centre moved to its current location at 1247 Wyandotte St. E. a year ago and has continued to grow thanks to generous contributions from the community. The new Stephanie and Barry Zekelman Studio at the centre is just one example.
“There’s no other place like this in Windsor and Essex for homeless and at-risk youth,” Kowalska said. “This is a group of young people who typically don’t have any place to do where they feel safe and comfortable.”
Eric Griggs, district vice-president TD Canada Trust Windsor, said youth at risk is something that is very important to the company. He said getting involved with the youth centre and its garden was a great fit for the foundation.
“Community gardens are something that is really big with our foundation,” Griggs said. “It puts the food right where the people are. We were very interested in being involved with the centre so when Tamara approached us with this idea, it married up very well with our pillars of giving within the community.”