Despite that fact the The House has existed for over 40 years, there is still a lot of confusion or discrepancies about aspects of the House. We’ve compiled a list of the most common questions that people have for us, and answered them all for you. If you would like further clarification, or your question isn’t listed, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail, give us a call.. or stop by!
Q: Is the House a religious youth centre?
A: No! This is easily the most common misconception. People often think we are religious because The House was created by a Catholic priest and/or because the word “Shalom” is Hebrew for “Peace”. However, we are non-denominational, and do not subscribe to any religious belief set. We believe that an individuals personal beliefs can be an incredibly important and intimate part of them, and we respect the belief system of anyone that walks through our doors; just like we accept any other part of who they are.
Q: How is the House funded?
A: The House has been a proud funded agency of the United Way Windsor Essex nearly since it’s start. The United Way funds a large part of our program, however, not everything. We also rely heavily on our own fundraising, and sponsorship’s and donations from the community. With these funds put together, we just manage to financially keep our heads above the water.
Q: Is the House a registered charity?
A: YES! We are a registered non-profit charity with the Canadian Revenue Agency. If you are interested in donating to us, check out our Canada Helps page here.
Q: Is the House open to anyone? How do I join?
A: The House is open to all youth in Grades 9 – 12. You can join at any time, just show up on your Grade level night and we’ll give you an application! Grades 9 & 11 meet on Tuesdays at 7:30, Grades 10 & 12 meet on Wednesdays at 7:30. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to go; we always have a volunteer supervisor at our front desk– just tell them you’re new, and they’ll tell you where to go!
Q: Is there a membership fee?
A: There is a annual fee of $25. Don’t worry about bringing it your first night, come to a meeting or two and see if you like it. If you plan to stay, then pay your annual membership. If you are not financially able to pay the $25, we would be happy to work out a plan with you.
Q: Is there stuff to do besides the peer-support meetings?
A: YES! We are open Tuesday – Friday from 3pm-9pm for all members. We have a computer lab, pool tables, ping pong tables, fooseball, tvs, and tons of board games. We have a full-time Activities Coordinator who plans an ever-changing calendar of new events, games night, and trips. However, we ask that you regularly attend your peer-support meetings, and pay your annual membership, in order to participate in off-night activities.
Q: Who runs and operates The House?
A: The House has two full-time staff members; our Activities Coordinator Ashley Marchand, and Program Director Michelle Laframboise, and a part time maintenance employee, George Vance. We are governed by a Board of Directors, and much of our program is run by volunteers.
Q: Are you a counselling service?
A: No. We are not counselors, and what we do is not counselling.
Q: Who are you volunteer leaders? How do you screen your volunteers?
A: The majority of our volunteers were once youth members, who have gone through the program and were hand picked by staff. Others have applied to be a volunteer. Regardless of how they came to be selected, all volunteers must have police clearances, and undergo specialized volunteer training each year before starting.