Youth group home services manager Penny Radford (centre) says RBC is helping Dilico make the house feel like a home for the youth.
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If youth don’t have a sense of belonging or commitment to a community, they often turn to things like drugs, alcohol and gangs.
That’s why the youth group home services manager for Dilico Anishinabek Family Care Penny Radford says it’s important to make the six-bed house in Fort William First Nation feel like a home.
Over the past two year’s Dilico staff has worked on establishing the group home in order to keep youth in their care in the community.
Radford said they have a house, but don’t have many things to fill it with for the kids to do and explore their interests. So she went online browsing sites like Kijiji to see if she could find some items to fill the house.
The Dilico Children’s Foundation approached the RBC Royal Bank, who were looking to lend a helping hand.
“We really just had a list saying we need a cheese grater; we need a couple of baseball gloves and we need some board games,” said Radford. “The Royal Bank said we can do better than that and we can really tie these kids to the community.”
Each Thunder Bay RBC branch is chipping in, each one taking a room or area of the house to focus on. In the end, the house will have a library, music room, sports equipment, a backyard overhaul and a craft room for art and cultural projects.
In order for the teens to build on their strengths, they need to have the opportunities in front of them for them to explore, said Radford.
“The Royal Bank has made that happen,” she said. “We never dreamed it would get to this point.”
“The kids are ecstatic. I’m ecstatic. I never really thought we’d get to this point. It’s been amazing,” she added.
RBC vice-president of Aboriginal markets for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario Matt Simeoni said the project was appealing for the bank because aboriginal culture is an important area for them.
“It touches all areas of Northern Ontario and it aligns very well with our strategies and our goals as members of the company,” he said. “It’s so very important for us here in Northwestern Ontario.”
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For more information go to www.dilicochildrensfoundation.com.