Community Cares makes a difference

Cape Breton Post | Gordon Sampson | April 13th, 2018

Youth outreach centre offers variety of programs

Community Cares Youth Outreach provides young people with a safe and supportive place to enhance their skills for learning, work, wellness and leadership.

Everyone is encouraged to reach their full potential and give back to their community.

The organization has operated since 1999, and is located at 55 King St., Sydney Mines. Dorothy Halliday is its CEO and Eileen MacNeil is the program co-ordinator.

Presently, several programs offer opportunities to youth from ages nine to 14.

One of the newest programs is Artpreneurs and is run by Ryan Veltmeyer and Jennifer Hubbert.

So far, the Artpreneurs program exits in Halifax, Bridgewater, Yarmouth and here in Sydney Mines.

TD Bank is a sponsor for Artpreneurs and additional funds have been received for the current project from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services.

The Northside project came together as a partnership with Youth Art Connection (a registered charity that Veltmeyer co-founded approximately seven years ago), New Dawn Community Development Educational Foundation and Community Cares.

Veltmeyer noticed several young, talented artists who were not making the money they should and he responded by teaching these young people basic business skills.

The local project involves 11 young artists at the Sydney Mines location including a pop musician, a photographer as well as several traditional and digital artists.

After the artists cover the basic business information in weekly sessions, they take part in Art Celebration, an event which helps them launch their career as quickly as possible.

Veltmeyer is an experienced musician while Hubbert is an experienced visual artist — they pass on their skills and experience during these sessions.

Another interesting program at Community Cares is Stone Soup, named after the book by the same title. Stone Soup is for children in Grades 4 and 5 and focuses on nutrition, healthy eating and active living.

Other local agencies and organizations, including Public Health, Cape Breton Regional Police and Cape Breton Search and Rescue, contribute to the program activities.

The children are taught how to make choices about food — they learn to shop, understand food package labels and read recipes.

During the program they treat their families to meals they make and take home, and on occasion receive basic food items like dairy products, grains, fruit and vegetables.

A highlight of the program is learning to grow vegetables from seed containers.

The participants make good use of the kitchen at Community Cares and kitchen skills and safety are stressed.

The program also teaches the importance of self-care and regular exercise. There are 10 children in this free program which runs for 14 weeks.

Community Cares, in partnership with Canada Learning Code, is also offering a new school program for children ages 8-11.

Kids, Biz and Code introduces children to computer coding and information about starting a business. This program is co-ordinated by Ardelle Reynolds and Mike Targett.

It is a free program thanks to a grant from the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation as well as local Cape Breton company, Protocase.

Their goal was to get 10 students for the orientation program and already they have 12.

Through fun, hands-on activities, children learn teamwork and leadership skills, computer coding (to build a one-page website), design skills (for a business card logo), the basics of starting your own business, and presentation skills (to describe their business idea to others).

Community Cares Youth Outreach can be reached at 902-544-0049.

Gordon Sampson founded the North Sydney Historical Society on Jan. 7, 1980 and selected the library as the centennial project out of 10 possible projects in 1985. He was an educator and administrator for 38 years, the last 28 at the Canadian Coast Guard College. He can be reached at gh.sampson@ns.sympatico.ca.

Photo credits: Left to right, Community Cares CEO Dorothy Halliday, Ryan Veltmeyer, Jennifer Hubbert with baby Elliot, Ardelle Reynolds and Mike Targett. Veltmeyer, Hubbert, Reynolds and Targett co-ordinate programs at Community Cares Youth Outreach in Sydney Mines. - Submitted