WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Grove Wellington Guelph was selected as one of the four regional finalists for the Raise the Barn competition hosted by Winfield United Canada.
The contest, with a winning prize of $20,000, supports local organizations making an impact in the community.
This year’s regional finalists addressed community needs in the areas of mental health, hunger, education and community spirit.
Although The Grove did not win the grand prize, it did receive an $8,000 prize for becoming a finalist through Harriston Agromart.
“I think one of the really cool parts about this is the local support from Harrison Agromart and how the community has found unique ways to support youth in the community,” said Jeff Hoffman, interim executive director and chief development officer at The Grove Wellington Guelph.
The Grove was selected as a finalist based on its Youth Ambassador Program and the $8,000 prize money will be going to support the program and the mental health and wellness of youth across Guelph and Wellington County.
Jenn Cherrey, the administration specialist at Harriston Agromart, told the Advertiser the prize money given to The Grove came from Winfield United, but Agromart nominated them.
“We decided to [nominate] The Grove because we thought that it hit every category [of requirements].”
Another part of why The Grove was chosen is because Cherrey’s son, Caden Cherrey, was a youth ambassador at The Grove last year.
“[The Grove] is kind of near and dear to my heart,” she said. “It’s such a great resource in our community. I’m glad it’s getting some recognition.”
Cherrey added, “Even just seeing my son work there and seeing him grow and evolve and giving back to his community was something great as a mother to see.”
The Youth Ambassador Program provides a friendly face for youths who stop by.
Hoffman gave an example at the Palmerston location where a youth ambassador named Emma provides that friendly atmosphere.
He added ambassadors like Emma get to know the youth coming in, talk about things going on in their lives and can tell them about services offered.
“Emma is that wonderful bridge between that low barrier, coming into the place to hang out, and then accessing the services that we offer on site at the hub,” Hoffman said. “We typically see 80 to 100 young people every day.”
Youth ambassadors are there so youth can feel more comfortable sharing, as some may not want to with adults.
To find out more about The Grove visit thegrovehubs.ca. For information about Harriston Agromart visit harristonagromart.com; and more about the Winfield United Raise the Barn competition can be found at winfieldunited.ca/en/community/raise-the-barn.