Employees at CCWN are working on a slew of changes and new initiatives. From left: Carole Fuhrer, Lynda O'Donnell, Nicole Sutherland and Amirrah Wakani. - Alexandra Heck/Metrolan
LINCOLN — Community Care of West Niagara (CCWN) has always had a focus on children and youth; but now, recent changes at the charity are helping them serve the younger generation even better.
“The youth are the people who are going to be running the show,” said Carole Fuhrer, executive director. “With the food drive coming up, we have a number of youth that come forward.”
The organization has multiple avenues, and they are encouraging youth in the community to participate.
Volunteerism, co-op placements and even employment are key areas that young people in the community are getting involved in.
“It’s great to see how they’re helping people,” said Amirrah Wakani, the summer employee and Beamsville District Secondary School student who formerly held a co-op placement with CCWN.
She said she’s not only learned hard skills like navigating computer programs, but she’s also learned from interacting with staff and clients.
“I’ve definitely developed better social skills,” she said.
Fuhrer said there is an opportunity for youth to engage people in the community and learn about issues in business, as well as get an understanding of the town.
“There’s an opportunity for them to get work skills,” said Fuhrer.
In the same spirit of encouraging success, CCWN is launching their annual backpack program.
The initiative provides families with CCWN the opportunity to pick up a backpack chock full of supplies for their children before returning to school.
In partnership with the United Way, the organization provides the bag, then fills it with binders, pens, pencils, folders, crayons and more.
For secondary school students, the package comes with a lock and scientific calculator.
“It helps families provide the necessary tools for their children to go back to school,” said Nicole Sutherland, co-ordinator for the program. “This year we’re gearing up for 136 kids.”
The group is also preparing for their annual food drive in the fall, on Sept. 23.
“On our website, we have a list of the items we need the most,” said Lynda O’Donnell, the new administration and fundraising co-ordinator.
Along with the hiring of new staff like O’Donnell, Sutherland and Wakani, CCWN has also launched a new website.
“Just trying to really connect with everyone in the town,” said Fuhrer, who said they are trying to make it as easy as possible to make donations to the charity.
by Alexandra Heck