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Starling Community Services.

BizGo Helps Teens in Mental Health Program

Today Lutherwood announced a new employment training service that will help youth in treatment at its Children’s Mental Health Centre.

Funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, BizGo is an entrepreneurial awareness project operating at Lutherwood’s Children’s Mental Health Centre on Benjamin Road in Waterloo. Youth aged 12 - 18 at the newly renovated centre can discover their “inner entrepreneur” through experiential workshops and hands on activities that mirror the various components of small business ownership, including idea generation, production, marketing and sales. As part of their school curriculum, participants manufacture products in the on-site woodshop, create marketing materials and sell their products at a variety of venues.

“BizGo helps build awareness of entrepreneurship as a possible employment option,” said Beth Pitt, Employment Program Supervisor at Lutherwood. “While not everyone will choose the self-employment path, participants will gain valuable skills, increased confidence and broadened perspectives that will contribute to their personal growth and strengthen their employability.”

“We have offered children’s mental health services and changed young lives for 41 years in this community,” added John Colangeli, Lutherwood Chief Executive Officer. “This is another example of how we are using our employment expertise to provide stronger, more innovative programming that will better serve the youth who turn to us for help.”

Lutherwood is a not-for-profit health and social service organization that supports youth with mental health issues, workers looking for employment, people at risk of being homeless and families in need of counselling. Its services are accessed by more than 20,000 people annually in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

"I was different and bullied at school. When I came to Lutherwood, I didn’t want to stay. But I learned skills to help me manage situations and my emotions. When it was time to go home, I didn’t want to leave."