By Robin Della Corte
The youth farm in Laval aims to help youth aged 16-25 in need of support or direction, help them to set goals and to achieve them.
The youth farm, a non-profit organization that offers programs to students who have dropped out and need a sense of direction, has been in existence for 20 years. Located in the Montreal suburbs, the organization helps up to forty young people in difficulty each year.
The organization also offers resources to young people who are experiencing anger issues, have drug or alcohol dependance, are involved in crime or have low self-esteem.
“Each person who commences the program starts off by having to set a goal,” La Ferme Jeunes au Travail spokeswoman Marie-Pier Beaulieu said. “We help them achieve these goals before they leave.”
For six months, with the help of psychosocial specialists and specialized educators, participants learn to develop a healthy lifestyle that will get them to learn more about themselves.
During the program, the participants participate in various jobs at a vast range of workstations including: organic farming, construction, commercial cooking, cabinetmaking-joinery, mechanics and customer service.
At the farm, they are paid for their work, experience that will essentially give them the opportunity to support themselves to get back in school or to ease a successful transition to the workforce.
During their growing season, the farm supplies several families with vegetables with their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) baskets from June 18-October 26.
People can pre-ordering a basket of vegetables to be delivered to the same drop-off point each week during summer and fall months. People are asked to visit their website at www.jeunesautravail.ca to register and make advance payment.
There are three locations where Laval residents can pick up their baskets:
- Community Centre Champfleury, 2585, Boulevard des Oiseaux;
- Young Farm Labor 2595 Upper St. Francis; and
- Armand-Frappier Museum Parking, 531 Boulevard des Prairies.
“But the goal isn’t just to make them work or about having registrations,” Beaulieu added. “Rather, the objective is to help them grow and develop social skills.”
Their produce will also be available at a stand at the farm itself from June 14-November, at 2595, rang du Haut St .François. The facility will remain open seven days a week and will offer a variety of fresh organic vegetables grown on site: fruits, herbs, eggs, cooked foods and condiments (jams, ketchups, pickles, honey, pesto and many other concoctions made in the farm’s commercial kitchen).
“This organization is a really good thing” Beaulieu smiled. “Some of the people who come to us are from underprivileged backgrounds and want to escape. The farm gives them the opportunity to develop a healthy lifestyle.”
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