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1605

2018

Operation Runaway secures funding

A Saskatoon program aimed at tackling the issues that cause young people to run away has received a needed funding boost from the provincial government and a private company’s charitable foundation.

 

EGADZ Street Outreach was relying on money from a reserve fund to cover expenses for Operation Runaway until the province and Home Depot Canada made the funding announcement on Tuesday.

“The program is more for helping the kids with their issues, so they can stabilize and be productive and be successful in the homes they’re currently at,” EGADZ executive director Don Meikle said.

“The cool thing about this is these kids here today actually are telling us how the program needs to run. What we’re trying to do is help them form their own little group of citizens that are healthy and productive and support each other in transitioning.”

Contrary to what many people may believe, young people do want to get better and they do want to be safe, he said.

“Operation Runaway helps me work through my struggles, and if I’m having a rough day or if I feel like I just want to give up, they give me the inspiration to keep going,” said Matthew Wuttunee, a youth who is part of the program.

Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said the number and frequency of runaway reports in Saskatoon dropped during the program’s first year.

“Those are incredible successes because it is such a risk for someone who is not around a caregiver,” he said.

“I’m just so very pleased today to see the program extended. But I really want to say thank you very much to the people who are coming to the table with funds, those limited and very scarce resources that are so desperately needed.”

The Ministry of Social Services will provide $125,000, and the Home Depot Canada Foundation will provide $25,000 through the 2018 Orange Door Award Program, which provides grants to organizations working with homeless and at-risk youth across Canada.

Prairie Mobile Communications will also provide used cell phones to youth participating in Operation Runaway.

Meikle said the money and phones will be a huge boost for the program.

“For six months we had no funding at all,” he said. 

“It allows us to do more.”

alawlor@postmedia.com

twitter.com/lawlor_alexa

 

Star Phoenix: http://thestarphoenix.com/news/local-news/it-allows-us-to-do-more-new-funding-announced-for-operation-runaway

CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/egadz-street-outreach-funding-1.4664414

CJWW: http://www.cjwwradio.com/2018/05/15/operation-runaway-still-in-business/

Eagle Feather News: http://www.eaglefeathernews.com/news/innovative-runaway-program-gets-investment