The Drop addresses several barriers experienced by youth in the Parry Sound District, such as increasing their exposure to new activities and skills, expanding their awareness of youth-focused organizations and resources in the area, and centralizing a permanent youth-oriented space.
This program initiative is significant. Countless studies indicate the importance and success of communities investing in their youth through the creation of spaces like The Drop. When youth are connected to their community, positive adult role models, and like-minded peers they are less likely to suffer from mental illness, which has become a primary concern for young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Drop is positioned to create a positive impact on youth and with financial support this may be a long-term fixture in our community.
Our primary goal is to establish a year-round, inclusive, permanent space for youth in the Town of Parry Sound. The program currently operates Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 to 6:30pm. This timing was selected so that youth who live outside of town may access it directly after school. The Drop is primarily volunteer based. As our volunteer and funding support grows, we hope to expand this program to every weekday and/or longer hours. Beyond establishing a permanent space, The Drop has the following goals:
1.Expanding Connections: research demonstrates that when youth have strong connections to their community and adults outside of their home, they are more successful at navigating challenges. The Drop not only connects youth with peers and adults, but it also offers programs to spark interest in new activities and develop new skills.
2. A Resource Hub: based on the “every door is the right door” programming model, The Drop centralizes information about youth-focused organizations and programs in Parry Sound. By increasing awareness of these programs and collaborating with respective program facilitators, The Drop seeks to reduce gaps in social services for youth who need support and advocacy, or for those whose families may be unaware of what is available in town.
3. Geographic Isolation: youth living outside of Parry Sound face several barriers to accessing services. Most significantly, our smaller surrounding communities have fewer resources for youth and lack a public transportation system for young people to access opportunities in Parry Sound. The Drop is scheduled to take place immediately after school in an attempt to address at least a one-way transportation barrier. However, The Drop on-the-go program will further address these disparities. The Drop on-the-go provides community outreach through local programming directed at these outlying communities, such as McDougall, McKellar, Nobel, Dunchurch, etc. This program also offers special interest-based activities led by other business leaders and community volunteers.