Sep 2, 2011

Youth and artists get together to create a colourful mural for Youth Services Bureau’s Drop-in

Young people and artists are getting together on September 2 to create a colourful mural to decorate the recently renovated Youth Services Bureau Downtown Drop-in at 147 Besserer Street. Scroll down to see photos taken of the wall by Brenda Allard.

Artists from the organization Ottawa Urban Arts, in partnership with YSB’s Youth Engagement Program, have been working with clients of the YSB’s Drop-in, which provides a safe space, lunch, access to housing and support to over 1,500 young people, ages 16 to 20, who are living on the streets or in poverty.

The mural, on the east side of the YSB’s Drop-in on Waller Street, will give young people an opportunity to express themselves in a positive way and develop their artistic skills. The project aims to foster a sense of pride in young people who face many barriers, including youth who are street involved or unstably housed, living in poverty and often experiencing substance use and mental health issues.

“Being a participant in something creative means that our young people can feel a sense of pride and belonging,” says Joanne Lowe, executive director of YSB. “At the same time, creating the mural gives them a sense of ownership in their environment. Youth feel more connected with this safe place where they can find support.”

YSB’s Youth Engagement Program involves marginalized young people in innovative programs that develop strong youth leadership and help youth discover their full potential. It has been used as a model for accreditation of similar youth programs across Ontario.

The painting will be done by a combination of young people and professional artists Mike Davis and Cassandra Dickie of Ottawa Urban Arts, who will be teaching art skills to the youth engaged in the project. The project received $5,000 from the Paint It Up! Youth Engagement Mural Program of Crime Prevention Ottawa. The program has funded numerous community mural rojects throughout the city of Ottawa.


Founded in 1960, the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB) is one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in Ottawa and is a registered charity.

YSB supports young people and their families as they resolve complex issues affecting their physical and emotional well-being. YSB offers over 30 programs in the areas of youth engagement, housing and homelessness, mental health, youth justice and employment, and is accredited by Children’s Mental Health Ontario.