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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
October 4, 2007

Resource Assistance for Youth

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw the attention of the House to the important work being done by the organization Resource Assistance for Youth or RaY located in my constituency of Wolseley.

Founded in 1994 and previously known as Operation Go Home, RaY began with only one staff member and two volunteers who ran outreach programs in order to reach this city's homeless youth. For 13 years, RaY has maintained its ongoing assistance to impoverished and homeless youth throughout Winnipeg, and in 2003 the organization expanded its mandate beyond outreach to include prevention programs. With the financial support of many partners, including our provincial government, RaY now provides youth living on Winnipeg streets with a wide variety of programs and resources to assist them in the challenges they face. These include outreach support on the streets, operation of the only food bank in Winnipeg geared exclusively to youth, and a repatriation program that focusses on the longer-term goals of reconnecting youth with their families.

More recently, RaY and other community groups have teamed together to provide additional housing support for street-affected youth. RaY is also present in our schools, offering workshops on topics ranging from anger management, conflict resolution, bullying and addictions.

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased just this past spring to attend RaY's annual general meeting held at their office on the corner of Young Street and Broadway. I was particularly struck by the powerful and personal stories that several youth courageously shared about the struggles they had faced with addictions and the harsh realities of homelessness. Though their backgrounds were very different, all of the youth spoke to the crucial role that RaY had played in helping them regain control of their lives and pursue a more positive future of their own making.

For these and many other reasons, Mr. Speaker, I would like to formally recognize the staff, board members, volunteers, community partners and especially the youth themselves who have made RaY what it is today. I am very proud to have them in my constituency, as I am also very proud that our government supports their work. And I very much look forward to our future work together in the years ahead.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.