Launch Pad is an amazing not-for-profit youth centre located in Hanover, Ontario. In 2005, this Grey-Bruce community witnessed a methamphetamine crisis. The community noticed that there was no other outlet other than sports for young people. A group of volunteers went to local schools, asked what was needed and Launch Pad was born. Launch Pad has partnered with over 30 local businesses and has provided over 2000 youth with new skills. Programs are designed around community needs and available jobs. Emily Morrison is the executive director and she described their many programs such as culinary arts, digital media, welding, and woodworking. Launch Pad is achieving the UN’s sustainable goal of quality education. Launch Pad also has a welding class for girls, breaking gender norms. The girls-only class corresponds to the UN’s sustainable goal of gender equality, specifically Goal 5.5, ensuring equal opportunity for all women. These programs charge a fee to keep students accountable and money raised goes back into the program. If someone does not have money to pay, Launch Pad will find a way.
Launch Pad provides companies with future employees who are trained. This relates to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of economic growth. Launch Pad is aiming to substantially reduce the number of youth not in employment, education or training, which is Goal 8.6. Launch Pad improves existing programs and adds new ones. Morrison had a youth advocate visit her about a youth who wanted to join a program but also needed a hot meal. Morrison realized that they didn’t have a hot meal program even though they had a cooking class taught by a professional chef. So they implemented a hot meal program for those who wanted it.
Launch Pad is an amazing organization and I wish I had access to it as a teenager. The youth centres I used when I was a teen were nowhere near as amazing as Launch Pad. Launch Pad is setting up young people for a successful future and keeping them from making unhealthy choices now. They are giving the youth of Hanover a creative outlet. Launch Pad plans to create a co-op program with the local high school so that young people can obtain high school credits while doing something they love. This is a safe space for youth to express themselves, obtain a quality education and set up for future success.