Elspeth McKay, the executive director of Operation Come Home (OCH) since 2007, is retiring at the end of this year.
McKay is a fiery and powerful voice for youth experiencing homelessness in Ottawa, and has grown OCH from a small but strong place for youth to get a hot breakfast and a few services, to a thriving wrap-around service centre where they can access programs to help with education, employment, housing, social supports and much more.
"As she moves on, and OCH celebrates their 50th anniversary this year, I can’t think of anyone better to showcase," says Eric Bollman, communications specialist with Operation Come Home.
In 1971, Operation Go Home (now Operation Come Home) was founded in Ottawa by Reverend Norman Johnston. He believed Ottawa's street youth population needed meaningful intervention. His mission was to connect with young runaways and help them return home.
Offering services beyond reunification, OCH helps to find sustainable employment, education, basic needs, crisis support, housing assistance and more to persons aged 16 to 25. Their Resource Centre is often the first point of contact in assisting youth to move beyond life on the street. It is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with more information available online, via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-230-4663 (ask to speak with drop in staff).
Catching McKay 'on her way out' was a wonderful way to learn more about the place she's called a home away from home for the last 14 years.
Listen to CHEZ 106.1 Host Amy Volume's conversation with McKay:
CHEZ 106.1 is highlighting a Local Legend each month. Anyone who would like to put forth a nomination is encouraged to contact CHEZ Host Amy Volume here.
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