“We are young people who range in age from 12 to 24. Many of us have lived in group homes, foster care, or on the streets. We’re considered youth at risk because we’ve had trouble with the law, and we haven’t done all that well with staying in one place.
We all have drug or alcohol problems, and some of us are struggling with being abused, or having to battle with problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder. We all want the best, and we’re trying to make that happen. That’s where iHuman comes in. They have this cool place where we can work on making our dreams come true.” – an iHuman youth
One Step at a Time
Edmonton’s high-risk youth come to iHuman through a number of agencies, prisons, programs, and other referrals, as well as through iHuman’s outreach workers.
Most of the youth that come to iHuman Youth Society have had to learn the hard way how to survive on the streets of Edmonton. They are defensive, angry, and in most cases not thinking very clearly (usually due to drugs).
iHuman takes one step at a time with these kids, helping them tend to their basic needs of clothing, food, and shelter first. From there, trust starts to build. In essence, iHuman provides a safe haven and creative tools to help Edmonton high-risk youth heal and grow.
Our clientele consists of traumatized youth with drug addiction or mental health issues who are working or living on the streets in Edmonton. The life of traumatized youth is rough and many struggle to survive dysfunctional – often cruelly abusive families. They are ignored or abandoned by those entrusted with their care and they live in a dangerous world where violence against them is an everyday fact of life, where health care, education and opportunity are distant dreams, not accessible ‘social services’.
The Power of Creativity
Our youth stay in an iHuman youth arts program for an average of three years. In that time, they are introduced to arts-based programs that help them heal and discover their own identity, and they are given constant support and guidance while they transition into independent living and steady employment.