We've been serving the Ottawa area since 1987
In February 1985, a group of concerned citizens met to find housing for young single mothers and their children (at that time, leases could not be signed by anyone under the age of 18). Within two months, they were planning to provide education for 12 mothers, a child care development program for 12 babies, and shelter for 4 of these families. From this small beginning, Centre Youville Centre Ottawa-Carleton Inc. was established officially on July 3, 1985.
Sister Betty Ann Kinsella was the driving force behind the creation of the Youville Centre.
Sister Betty Ann Kinsella was the driving force behind the creation of the Youville Centre. Thanks to her commitment and fundraising skills, Youville Centre began operation as a charitable organization in 1987. "The Centre offered the first program in Canada to address the comprehensive needs for education, child care, housing and support services for young, single mothers and their children." (Excerpt from the Canada Gazette, September 2, 2000)
In recognition of her wonderful work in establishing the Youville Centre, the first charity in Canada to address the need for education, child care, housing and support services for young, single mothers and their children, Sister Betty Ann was invested in the Order of Ontario at a special ceremony in Toronto.
At the outset, the Youville Centre was housed in a former school building in Hintonburg on Melrose Avenue. The Centre occupied this site for its first fourteen years. Built originally as a French language Catholic school for boys, it was designed by famous Ottawa architect Francis Sullivan who worked for a time with American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Although the Centre moved to its present location on Mann Avenue in 2001, the old Hintonburg building still remains. It was given heritage status in 2005.
During its Hintonburg years, the Centre's programs and services, under Sister Betty Ann's leadership, grew and developed. Starting with a focus on housing for young single mothers and their children, the Centre expanded to provide more and more services to its clients. Over the years, in addition to its emphasis on education, legal aid, a public health nurse, psychiatrist/psychologist, career counseling, parenting/life skills, nutrition, and crisis support counseling were added as important services. Now, as part of the Young Single Parent Support Network (YSPSN), Youville Centre participates in a larger outreach program that works to help high-risk single mothers throughout the Ottawa area. The agencies of the Network are: Emily Murphy Non-Profit Housing Corporation, St. Mary's Home, Salvation Army Bethany Hope Centre, and the Youville Centre.
Because of the severe deterioration of the Hintonburg site, and after a failed attempt at constructing a new building, in the Spring of 2000, the Centre purchased a new facility. The former St. Pius X School of Le Conseil Des Ecoles Catholiques de Langue Frangaise du Centre-Est situated at 150 Mann Avenue in Sandy Hill became the Centre's new home. This present building was a huge step forward for the Centre. Located on the bank of the Rideau River, this new site, is a modern, well-equipped, up-to-date facility. Here, the Youville Centre works to graduate young parents who are committed to creating a better life for themselves and their children.
As it looks to the future, the Youville Centre will continue to respond to the ongoing needs of young parents by exploring ways to address its waiting list, expand the range of services for young mothers and build closer links between education and the workplace, including coop placements and apprenticeships.