For nearly five decades, Lutherwood has been serving the children, youth and families of Waterloo Region and Wellington County. Lutherwood’s children’s mental health services helps children cope with emotional and behavioural challenges. The agency offers in-house supportive services and practices that have been proven to help families cope with day-to-day life challenges. It is a local organization with sites in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph.
And its community impact, over those decades, has become undeniable in terms of helping the homeless find employment, as well as housing options.
“The whole housing stability system is focused on preventing and ending homelessness,” said Beth Pitt, Lutherwood’s employment services supervisor. “There are many partners working toward this goal. These include four orders of government, many service agencies, of which Lutherwood is one, and, of course, the people experiencing homelessness, whose daily courage and resilience are inspirational.”
Pitt said that while student numbers are not tracked separately, over the past year Lutherwood has assisted more than 2,200 individuals through its employment services division, with a significant number of individuals aged 15-29 accessing services.
“Over the past year, over 8,000 individuals have accessed Lutherwood’s housing resources,” Pitt said. “These include both people experiencing homelessness and those at risk of becoming homeless. We believe that building trusting relationships is the first step. In-depth, meaningful conversations with clients help us to assess their needs and define personalized and attainable goals.”
Those wishing to get help from Lutherwood must first visit employment resource centres located at 165 King St. E. in Kitchener, 35 Dickson St. in Cambridge or 89 Wyndham St. N. in Guelph. Knowledgeable staff work with clients to determine how they can best connect to the labour market.
Pitt advises those who believe they cannot find a job to think back to stints as a volunteer, co-op placements, school projects or helping family or friends and then write down the tasks performed and accomplishments they helped achieve. They should then think of the skills and strengths they brought to the table that helped make those achievements possible and could be transferrable to positions that interest them.
Pitt says finding a job is a long-term task and the goal is to really keep looking.
“Looking for work can be a full-time job and requires a time commitment on the job seeker’s part. Get connected with the community as much as possible, including local hiring events and industry-specific networking events, like those offered by Communitech and the chamber of commerce. Streamline your social media presence for professional consistency. Access support at a local Employment Ontario service provider, like Lutherwood. We can help.”