Kingston realtors make Youth Shelter donation

The proceeds from an end of May fundraiser by the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association (KAREA) were presented on Wednesday afternoon. 

KAREA continued 19 years of raising funds for the Kingston Youth Shelter with the return of the organization's fundraising Bowl-a-thon, which saw a two year absence due to the pandemic. 

For the last two years, members have participated in a scavenger hunt around the community to substitute for the typical fundraising event. 

Mary Ambrose, a local realtor and Chair of Public Relations Committee for KAREA, presented the cheque to Kingston Youth Center staff at the temporary space in Mac-Brown Hall at Queen's.

The contribution of just over $14,000 brings the organization's running donation total to over $100,000 over the years. 

Ambrose says as realtors, housing issues are always top of mind for KAREA members and supporting a housing related cause makes sense. 

She says in particular the youth shelter services a population that can fall through the cracks at other spaces.

"We are always advocates for supporting shelter based charities," Ambrose said.

"We know the shelter plays a big role in supporting youth and caters to an area that nobody else really touches in the community... It's a specific need and it's one that's close to all of our hearts."

Currently, Queen's University's MacGillivray-Brown Hall is acting as temporary home for sixteen sleeping pods while waiting on a new, larger space. 

Stuart Trier, Chair of the board for the Kingston Youth Shelter, said fundraising for that location is ongoing and that an announcement should be expected in the coming months. 

Trier said support from partners like KAREA, the City of Kingston and Queen's certainly help the shelter to expand, but pointed out that expansion is only allowing them to keep up to the unfortunately growing need. 

"During the pandemic the need has been exasperated," Trier said.

"We've gone from very humble beginnings and we continue to expand, not necessarily that we want to but because the need is there in the community."

Trier said donations go towards staffing costs that help youth transition towards independence, and identified career and life skill supports as needs for the youth that make use of the shelter.

Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News for the Local Journalism Initiative