Founded in 2004 and supported through a network of donors, funders, volunteers, staff and community partners, Liberty for Youth (LFY) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides a prevention and intervention mentoring program aimed at youth, ages 12 to 25 and alumni beyond 25, living in the Hamilton and surrounding areas who are involved in, or at-risk of, criminal behaviour.
LFY staff and volunteers use an innovative and intensive mentoring model that strives for permanent behavioural change by building inner character, developing life and leadership skills and inspiring at-risk youth to become constructive members of the community.
Our Mentoring Program is open to disadvantaged, marginalized and at-risk youth – regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or nationality – who face any number of negative social circumstances and challenges. These challenges may include living in poverty, breaking free of substance abuse, surviving in an unsafe home environment, escaping gang involvement or influence or functioning while on probation.
LFY provides a place where at-risk youth, feel accepted regardless of their mistakes, struggles or situations in life.
Our Mentors guide the youth through various transformational stages represented by seven words starting with “R.” Mentors build rapport with the youth and create a safe space for them to express their inner feelings, the good the bad and the ugly. But before any real progress can be made, the youth must first come to the (1) REALIZATION that he/she wants to make a change in their life.
Once that realization dawns, the youth are encouraged to make a (2) RESOLUTION to take action on that realization. As they start to act in new ways they are often faced with the feeling of (3) REPENTANCE for the previous behaviour. Now they are truly at a turning point.
Momentum begins to build as the youth actualize their intentions and (4) RETURN to the mainstream. During this (5) REHABILITATION period, the youth are given many opportunities to accomplish things that help them to build self-esteem and self-respect.
But (6) REINTEGRATION is not always easy. Things don’t always go smoothly. Not everyone is willing to forgive or forget the youth’s past transgressions. Again, the mentor is there to support the youth, as they move into this stage of re-establishing themselves in the community.
The ultimate goal of our mentors is to see the youth experience (7) RECONCILIATION; with themselves, their families and the community they chose to live in.