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Empowering Osborne youth

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Andres Strange of Osborne Youth Services was busy painting faces during the organization's launch event at the Gas Station Village Market.

PHOTO BY JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Andres Strange of Osborne Youth Services was busy painting faces during the organization's launch event at the Gas Station Village Market. Photo Store

Instead of getting into trouble or hanging out with the wrong crowd, a group of Osborne teens have decided to keep themselves busy, and make some cash while doing it.

To that end, they’ve created the first Osborne Youth Services Co-op.
"It’s a youth-run group around the Osborne Community," said Ronny Singh, 16, president of the co-op. "We’re looking to help improve the community."

Beach, facilitator for the co-op, said youth co-ops like this one started in Quebec but have moved across the country.

"They recently started in Winnipeg about two years ago," said Beach. "This year there are seven happening around the city."

The six teens (and counting) will offer a number of services such as lawn care, cleaning, painting, child care, recreational sports, animal care, house-sitting, elderly care and hosting community gatherings, all at a discounted price.

"The program is for kids aged 12 to 17, and usually around this age (they) don’t have job experience or not much to do with their time," said Singh. "So this gives them something to look forward to, some work, and some experience."

Osborne Youth Services celebrated the launch of the group Aug. 8 at the Gas Station Village Market with a booth and free face painting.

Alex Wittering, 16, who handles human resources for the co-op, joined to meet new people because she recently moved to the city.

"My cousin was in a co-op," said Wittering. "She told me about them, she said it was great."
Andres Strange, 17, in charge of marketing, likes that it’s a different sort of job.

"It’s not like a regular job where you go in for shifts," said Strange.

Beach said the co-op will bring the community together.

"A lot of the project is to focus on youth empowerment," said Beach. "I think a lot of the time there are situations where people will say ‘oh yeah, we’re doing it for the youth,’ but there aren’t a lot of situations where they actually get that chance to do it themselves, and to really strive and go with the idea. So yes, it’s community development, but it’s also youth empowerment."  

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