Organization presented with ‘generous donation’

ON SEPT. 22, Operation Come Home celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Ottawa-based organization, which aids homeless and in-need youth, received a $600,000 donation from Rogers to help improve their achievement centre, now called the Rogers Achievement Centre.

“With this new funding we’ll be able to provide more opportunities [and] get the things we need,” said Jamie Hammond, the communications officer for Operation Come Home. “It’s a really, really big contribution that they’ve made, it’s something we’re really excited about.”

The centre will continue to provide youth with classes in which they can earn credits, guidance counselling, and help with university applications, allowing them to finish high school and apply to post-secondary education if they choose to.

“The funds are being allocated toward a portion of the teacher’s salary, the literacy support staff, materials, evaluation, rent, and supervision, and to pay for a supply teacher over the summer months as the Rogers Achievement Centre operates all year around,” said Hammond.

Operation Come Home also supplies food, clothing, and housing for youth who need it. Anyone can drop in from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. to use to the organization’s resources.

“Anybody that’s in need of anything,” Hammond reiterated. “If they need clothes, if they need emergency counselling, they want to come in to get a bite to eat.  An open door is what we try to maintain here.”

Operation Come Home was established in 1971. Its founder, Reverend Norman Johnson, helped runaway youth return to their families.

“He would pay out of his pocket to reunite runaway families. Since then, we’ve really expanded what we do here,” said Hammond. “We have the outreach program. We speak to the youth out there and provide them with food, water, sleeping bags—whatever they may need.”

The centre is open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 25. Its mission is to get as many youth off Ottawa’s streets, while getting them back on their feet.

“It’s hard to watch [youth] remain on the streets longer than necessary,” said Hammond. “We want to prevent homeless youth from becoming homeless adults.”

—Jane Lytvynenko