EGADZ provides youth-directed programs and services to children and their families that improve their quality of life and meet their needs.
Every individual can become a contributing citizen by utilizing their voice, creating an atmosphere for resilience, and finding value in themselves.
We are a non-profit community based organization that provides programs and services to children, youth and their families in making healthy choices that improves their quality of life.
We are visionary leaders, catalysts and advocates for ensuring that children and youth have a voice in determining the programs and services that best meet their needs.
- We accept others unconditionally and without judgment.
- We are open, honest and respectful in our communications.
- We work collaboratively with our clients, staff and the community.
Our guiding principles
- Shared responsibility – we work together in partnership with children, youth and their families.
- Client needs and solutions focused – the needs of children, youth and their families are the primary focus in the design and delivery of our programs and services.
- Healthy quality of life – we consider the importance of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
- Resource responsible – we are proactive in ensuring that we have sustainable human and fiscal resources to effectively implement our programs and services. We are accountable in using these resources efficiently and effectively.
- Responsive, transparent and considerate decision making processes – we are mindful of how our decisions impact upon clients, staff and the community.
- We value youth and their potential including their right to be heard and to self determination.
- We value a holistic approach to seeking harmony and balance in the lives of individuals.
- We value community support and assistance in addressing the needs of youth at risk.
- We value inter-agency commitment, cooperation, and partnerships.
- We believe in basic human rights and equality rights regardless of race, religion, gender, ability, age, and socio-cultural status.
- We value staff, volunteers, and board members.
- We believe in respect for others, property, and the environment.
The Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre Inc. – EGADZ has been operating a youth centre in downtown Saskatoon since April 2, 1990. Over the years, the organization has become better known as simply EGADZ.
The development of the Youth Centre began in 1988 with discussions regarding “hard to serve” youth among various agencies under the direction of the City of Saskatoon Leisure Services Department.
Initial discussions determined that there was a need to collaborate among several agencies to address the needs of “hard to serve” youth. The agencies agreed that there was a need to address programs in the following areas:
- Education and life skills.
- Health and counseling.
- Food and shelter.
- Employment and work readiness.
Within these areas it was determined that a drop-in youth centre was needed that should include two significant mandates: hangout space and recovery therapy. All of the various agencies involved were already addressing some aspect of “hard to serve” youth and wanted to work together to take a leadership role in providing alternative programs for “hard to serve” youth.
At the time, “hard to serve” youth was defined as individuals less than 20 years of age who hang out more than three days a week downtown and are addicted to the streets, though they may not live on the streets. They are “at risk” of being non-productive members of society and live in an “at risk” environment. Their lifestyle indicates they do nothing of quality in their leisure time.
Following several months of dialogue, a survey of “hard to serve” youth was conducted through the inter-agency group, giving information on gaps in services provided by existing agencies and identifying unmet needs.
Information from the survey and discussions concluded:
- About 2,000 individuals would be considered “hard to serve,” based on demographic information.
- Those individuals have complex issues and needs, and a variety of programs and services are required to serve them.
- While the youth hanging out in the downtown core weren’t confined to a single cultural or ethnic group, the majority of them were of First Nations and Métis descent.
- A long-term, strategic approach was required to help youth identify their dysfunction and recover. A Band-Aid solution was deemed unacceptable.
- More than 70 per cent of the youth surveyed said they felt a need for a youth drop-in centre in the downtown area.
The Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre Inc. – EGADZ was established to address the issues and needs of “hard to serve” youth, offering both a drop-in component where youth could spend time with friends away from the street environment, as well as a recovery therapy component, helping youth find productive solutions to the issues and needs in their lives.