Safe ride to shelter exists

Ministry staff can arrange ride.

Lynden Meadus took a bus from downtown Maple Ridge to Coquitlam at night

Lynden Meadus took a bus from downtown Maple Ridge to Coquitlam at night

A risky ride to safety that teens in trouble might face could be safer if they call the 24-hour Helpline For Children.

According to an e-mail from Ministry of Children and Family Development staff in Maple Ridge, kids found to be in trouble at the Greg Moore Youth Centre can call 310-1234 (no area code is needed) where they can find some help.

The e-mail to Alouette Home Start Society and youth centre says that ministry staff have the ability to arrange transportation to a safe house.

“If a youth who is accessing the Greg Moore Youth Centre requires shelter, please have your staff contact after hours,” said the e-mail from the Maple Ridge integrated youth team.

The notice follows the fictional predicament sketched out by Grade 9 student Lynden Meadus as he showed what could happen to a teen in trouble who had no place to go, following the evening closure Jan. 31 of the Iron Horse Youth Safe House.

Meadus created a scenario in February in which he had just had a fight at home and went to the youth centre, with no idea of where to spend the night.

He was referred to a youth safe house in North Vancouver and given directions by bus. By the time he arrived in Coquitlam near midnight, the buses had almost stopped running and he wouldn’t have reached the shelter if a worker hadn’t driven out to pick him up.

Ministry staff, though, couldn’t confirm that there’s been any change in transportation policy, or if it’s always been the practice provide a ride to a shelter.

Meadus said he’s also contacted the ministry to get confirmation of any change.

In an attempt to re-open the Iron Horse Youth Safe House, Meadus has started a fundraising campaign.

But donations are slow to come in.

So far, only two donations totalling $150 have been made, one of those $50 by him, money from babysitting.

He’s also been asked to remove the logo of the Alouette Home Start Society (which runs the safe house) from the fundraising page because he doesn’t represent the society.

Meadus added if the shelter closes completely, he’ll donate whatever is raised to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Youth Centre Society, which he’s been involved with for two years.

Meadus created a video of his fictional scenario and plans to show it to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows councils.