F.A.Q. (Excerpt from a student interview in November 2015 )
When was the Beacon founded? What were some major milestones?
The Beacon was founded about 10 years ago. It was realized by the municipal government that teens in Brighton had little place to go to and they would hang around on the streets. The mayor met with the local churches and asked for support in creating a youth centre. CRC Pastor Rick Nanninga identified this for his church as a way to do outreach in the community. All the churches of Brighton supported the Beacon initially, as did the service clubs and government and many individuals. Milestones, 2005 First Director was Daryl Stogryn of Northumberland Youth For Christ / Youth Unlimited. Daryl had expertise in running youth programs and drop-ins and he was considered neutral and not favouring one church or another. 2008(?) Andrew Fortier was hired as a full time director. In 2012 Rene Schmidt was hired as director. In 2013 the board of Northumberland Youth For Christ / Youth Unlimited suggested we join with Quinte Youth For Christ / Youth Unlimited because they had an Executive Director and Northumberland did not. In 2014 The Beacon closed in summer for major paint job and interior redesign provided by Sonja Trafford, new electric wiring by VanVark electric and new cupboards by Harold Westerman and DUCON. IN 2015 Colin Maltby, summer intern at Evangel Pentecostal Church did a summer program.
Why is the Beacon located where it is? It was available for rent and close to both schools. Being beside the China King restaurant also has its benefits.
How many volunteers vs paid people spend their time here? There is one paid part-time staff (Rene) and fourteen active volunteers plus 4 part time volunteers, plus 25 volunteer food providers who give donations of lunch items once every few weeks. About 10 Prayer warriors pray for youth who the volunteers feel need our prayer.
What do the volunteers do? Interact with teens, teach new games or crafts, prepare food, clean up, supervise and maintain the few basic rules we have (respect yourself, respect others, respect the place). We also lead a daily prayer for the food provided. We do not ‘force’ Christian beliefs and welcome all who come, but we do not hide our own faith and are always willing to have a conversation or answer questions about Christian faith.
What is your budget? Our budget for 2015 is $34 000.
What donations do you receive? How can people donate? All our expenses are paid through donations. Some churches and a few sponsors donate regularly, and others donate when we approach them and ask for money. People can donate by writing cheques to QYFC / Youth Unlimited Box 233 Belleville K8N-5A2. Cheques should include a note asking the money be used to support the Beacon and Brighton ministries.
What are some fundraising activities that you do? We do beef-on-a-bun at Applefest, we have a musical concert early in the calendar year and we do a motorcycle rally in spring. Frequently we will contact media sources to tell what we are doing and many times I will attend meetings of community groups or church services to provide information about our drop-in. Regularly we write thank you cards to donors.
What social issues make the Beacon important in our community? Many of our youth do not have much support at home and just need someone to listen. Some are alone at night and need a safe place. Some are from a foster home in town. Some youth are ostracized because of low social standing, unattractive looks, low perceived ability or some other ‘defect’ society may judge them with. Regardless of circumstances, everyone has the need to be accepted and welcomed somewhere. The Beacon is a haven for these and just ordinary kids.
What is the purpose/mission of the Beacon? We remember how Christ accepted and welcomed many people regardless of their sin or lack of faith. He healed those who asked first and then spoke of faith. He fed the masses and then gave a lesson they may or may not have understood. Jesus reached out, and that is what we try to do.
How does this organization work with the different levels of government (federal, provincial and municipal)? The municipal government supports us financially with about $3000 each year for the last few years, (but I have to ask each time). I have been in touch with our Ontario MPP about some issues and he has been supportive and encouraging, but we haven’t asked for money. We have no contact with our federal MP, but have had no need to contact them.
Who all comes to the Beacon? There are about 60 individual teens who come somewhat regularly, and we may have 20-25 on any given day for lunch time. Usually 10-15 from ENSS and 5-10 from Brighton Public School.
Can anyone help out here? What skills are required? Volunteers who work with youth must be post secondary school in age, have a police check and must belong to a Christian church and make a commitment to supporting high moral standards in public, and not just while at the Beacon. Our standards in regards to morals, virtue, honesty, integrity, sexuality, alcohol and drug use, violence, etc., are typical of the standards found in any conservative Bible-believing Christian church.
What are future goals for the Beacon? We hope to remain open five school days a week (currently we are closed Mondays) and more often in the evening. We are now open only Tuesday and Thursday evenings.