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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
NOTL Youth Collective gears up for winter program launch
Volunteers Marie Lapointe, left, and Brenda Ferguson begin their morning by stocking the shelves with books. SOMER SLOBODIAN

After months of preparation, the NOTL Youth Collective is ready to launch an eight-week winter program. 

Starting on Monday, Jan. 16, the collective will begin its winter program for youth in Grades 7 to 12. It runs until March 10. 

There will be a daily after school drop-in from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday at the Cornerstone Community Church Town Campus, 1570 Niagara Stone Rd., in Virgil.

“It’s super, super exciting,” said Caroline Polgrabia, chair of the Youth Collective’s planning committee.

Most of the programs are free to Niagara-on-the-Lake young people, but some might require tickets or advance registration, Polgrabia said in an email to The Lake Report. 

The program schedule will be announced every week since Polgrabia is still in the process of confirming community partnerships and programs.

Along with daily drop-ins, the collective will be holding a “Wonderful Wednesday” night every week from 6 to 9 p.m. It will feature a variety of activities and workshops.

The collective is working on offering a resume workshop and a home alone certification for kids ages nine to 12.

A NOTL Youth Collective Gives Back workshop and a NOTL heritage moments workshop also are in the works. However, more details will emerge in the coming weeks. 

These are only a few of the events the collective hopes to offer. 

Polgrabia also wants to hold more movie nights like the group put on in November. 

For a town with no high school, it will offer youth a safe space to meet up in the evenings.

They will have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people or just grab a book from the growing library to read.

Each participant is required to register because no one can participate in the program without signing a risk waiver form, code of conduct and emergency forms.

“We think that whole first week is kind of going to be a pre-registration, try it out, figure it out week. As much for families as it is going to be for us,” said Polgrabia.

“To work through the kinks and get everybody registered and get all the proper paperwork in place,” she added. 

Anyone looking to register is welcome to stop by the campus during the drop-in hours to fill out the proper paperwork.

People are also encouraged to keep an eye on the collective’s website, notlyouth.com, for program updates over the next eight weeks.

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