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Men’s Breakfast hears about LYU

by John Keith

Chris Jones, Director of Lakefield Youth Unlimited, was well supported by the healthy attendance of the Men’s Breakfast Fellowship at Lakefield Baptist Church on February 8.

This breakfast is a regular event, held the second Saturday of each month.

Chris and his team of helpers and volunteers are at the heart of Lakefield’s sense of community, having listened diligently, from the beginning, to how local people and local institutions defined the most urgent needs of the village and surroundings.

Serving the highest felt needs of the community has been the theme of LYU from the very outset, 10 years ago. They heard repeatedly that they needed to go where the youth are, and they have done that, at Lakefield District Secondary School; the bowling alley now defunct; the arena, the public parks; or wherever hurting young people were to be found.

Lack of local employment initiatives in Lakefield and in Peterborough County is one of the moving forces behind a mass exodus of young people, especially those whose skills are with their hands, to the opportunities open in western Canada.

One of the discoveries Chris and his team at LYU have made is that to support youth and their needs one cannot overlook the family. Not surprisingly, when one looks to the wellbeing of the family it is impossible to overlook the needs of youth; the needs of youth and family are inextricably bound together.

The assistance of local volunteers in a Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth program has been of great value. Roughly 50 community volunteers help with LYU and its programs, and the need for additional volunteers is one of their most acute problems. Chris mentioned the “lack of wiggle room” if someone expected is unable to turn up for a program.

Chris shared statistics from a booklet, Greater Peterborough Vital Signs 2013, and also from the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey.

Peterborough County and Lakefield in particular are not immune to the scary provincial trends which only get worse by the year.

Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks on one occasion; 22 per cent of Ontario students in grades seven through 12 reported binge drinking in the month prior to a recent survey and the same percentage reported cannabis use once in the prior year. The surveys involved more than 220,000 students.

The combination of binge drinking and drugs yields disastrous results, and is common. Program sharing with Peterborough Drug Strategy and Kerri Kightley has been mutually profitable and productive.

Marijuana is considered the entry-level drug, but the speed with which users move on to crack cocaine has accelerated. What we noted in listening to our input speaker and to the devotional thoughts brought by Greg, was that people who have been held in slavery of any sort, including slavery to addictions, find freedom, a new life and new hope in delivery from their slavery.

Lakefield and area men are invited to these informative breakfasts which gather at 8 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month and end by 10 a.m.. Come and join us.

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