What YOMA Is
YOMA is a community youth organization created by youth for youth in Manotick and the surrounding communities. YOMA represents the ongoing need for a safe, accessible and welcoming space for youth in rural areas. The ultimate goal of YOMA is to be able to build a youth centre, which would offer community focused social and preventative programs, intervention services, life skills development and leadership opportunities.
YOMA meets weekly allowing for local area youth to join in and enjoy the activities and services provided by our organization. Youth members also meet regularly with program staff to discuss and plan weekly events and activities for youth in the community. Currently YOMA is made up of students from four area high schools.
The Youth of Manotick Association is dedicated to providing a safe, inclusive and socially accepting environment to help support local and area youth build positive relationships, to experience new opportunities and to connect them to their community.
To work with the broader community to establish a permanent facility for youth in the Manotick area in order to be able
to provide regular programs and services that are inclusive, innovative and empowering
to help youth in our community grow to be successful and healthy participants in society
Who Makes YOMA Happen
YOMA is governed and managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
YOMA's programs are planned and run by an energetic team of Facilitators and Jr. Facilitators
History of YOMA
Youth of Manotick Association was created in July of 2013 by a group of local youth.
After the tragic drug overdose death of a 17 year old teenager in the fall of 2012,
MPP Lisa MacLeod responded by holding a number of meetings in the community.
Parents and community partners came out to these meetings and spoke of other youth with serious additions to drugs and alcohol. Mental health, isolation and boredom were also highlighted as issues affecting rural youth. It became clear at these meetings that residents were feeling frustrated by the lack of programs and services available to youth and their families in rural Ottawa. Rural youth did not have a safe place to gather for social activities or unstructured events. There was a plea for options for youth.
Residents made it clear that they felt it was important for the community to have preventative approaches in place, such as a dedicated youth space to reach out and engage youth before they become users. It was also noted that there was no resource worker for youth in rural Ottawa with respect to mental health issues. Once again, a trip to the “city” would be required to speak with a counselor, albeit, with little or no public transit to take them there. It was noted that some of the high schools have a once a week counselor who visits to speak with youth, and who is inundated to appointments, but outside of school hours, a youth was left with no accessible worker to confide in
A team was formed in November of 2012, with the goal of exploring prevention and mental health options through a youth programs and services scan and by engaging youth in the community directly through focus groups. After meeting with church and community groups, youth at parks and events, a survey at the local high school (St.Mark) and the local community association monthly meeting, the following recommendations were collected and submitted to Counsellor Scott Moffatt and the Parks and Recreation department.
Recommendation #1 – An accessible/multiuse space for youth
Recommendation #2 – Increased youth programming
Recommendation #3 – A youth engagement/outreach strategy
While the City of Ottawa has a variety of services available for youth and families, families living in rural Ottawa face unique challenges such as lack of public transit and actual resources in their community to access much needed programs and services.
As a result of this community scan and report, a committee of adults from the community and a youth advisory group were formed to create YOMA; a social, non-religious option, for youth to gather in a safe and accessible space. .