Moment in Mission – Argus Residence

Posted on: December 1st, 2015 by Breslau Mennonite Church

For the past several years, the Missions Committee has selected at least one organization to draw attention to as the Christmas Season approaches. I am not sure if anyone remembers this or not, but I often emphasize the extent to which organizations rely on donations, by mentioning the various requests that come in the mail at this time of year for all sorts of wonderful and worthwhile agencies and organizations. This year has been no different – what is represented here are the requests that we have received in the past two weeks. All would be worthy of consideration.

I am here this morning to introduce and possibly educate you about Argus Residence for Young People which is located in the City of Cambridge. Argus is an emergency shelter for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are homeless and in crisis. Argus is unique in its ability to amalgamate the essential services of shelter, food and 24 hour staff support with a very comprehensive life skill acquisition program which works to mobilize youth toward healthy and viable community integration.

Argus operates two shelters in Cambridge – one for young men and one for young women. Each shelter, when at capacity, is able to house 10 residents. Last year, Argus received 251 inquiries for service, served 185 clients in shelter and demonstrated an average occupancy rate of 89%. 81% of youth accessing Argus disclosed physical, sexual or emotional abuse to the Argus staff at intake. 47% left their family home for the first time between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age. 75% of youth had special consideration issues, including, but not limited to, mental health and medical concerns. For the majority of young people accessing Argus, a return to home is not an option due to abuse or chronic family breakdown. As a result it is imperative that they receive essential services in an environment which fosters their potential and enhances their social and economic viability. The programs offered at Argus support and foster civic engagement. These programs include productive activity – meaning school or work, one-to-one goal setting, household and time managements programs – including budgeting, nutrition and household responsibilities, conflict resolution meetings, medical supports and counselling. Argus operates with a team of volunteers and paid staff, as well as several community partners.

After considering several worthwhile organizations, our committee chose to support an organization which works to address youth homelessness in an area of our region, Cambridge, that is quite under-serviced. In no way are we attempting to displace support that many of you already demonstrate towards other organizations, we are simply trying to raise awareness.

Argus would welcome donations that support the residents of both their male and female shelters. Collected items will be used to create Christmas gift packages for the young people living at Argus. A complete list will be posted but suggested items include socks, hoodies, gloves, hats, scarves, pajamas, towels, personal items such as soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razors and shaving cream, candy and gift cards from Tim Horton’s, Shoppers Drug Mart or Giant Tiger. We will be collecting donations until Sunday, December 13.

As you ponder the various opportunities that you have to give this Christmas, I would like to leave you with a quote that has left a lasting impression with me:


Feed the HUNGRY, clothe the NAKED, forgive the GUILTY, welcome the UNWANTED, care for the ILL, love your ENEMIES and do unto others as our would have done unto you.

Thanks very much for your consideration.

Submitted by Pat Klassen

on behalf of BMC Missions Committee