Becca McLellan is charismatic, authentic and fun-loving. She has been been employed at Why Not for two and a half years as a Community Developer. She works very hard to support youth through her duties in administration, grant writing, public relations, developing programs for the youth and the training and placement of volunteers and LITS. McLellan volunteered as a Youth Mentor and then a Placement Coordinator for five years before becoming a staff member.
Why Not “provides social and resource support to street and homeless youth in Brantford.” It began in 2002 when the founders, Charlie and Sue Kopczyk wanted to “find a way for [the] community to help [the] community.” The organization tries to boost “youth’s self esteem, confidence and sense of exhilaration” as the youth face many challenges such as “poverty, homelessness, history of abuse, unplanned pregnancy, and mental health issues.”
Staff members are usually the “first providers,” which connect youth with “health care, scholarship opportunities, and housing” through organizations such as “Brantford Welcome in Resource Center, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Brant Family and Children’s Services, St. Leonard’s Community Services and more.” Staff members therefore rely on volunteers to develop deep relationships with the youth to understand the issues that the youth face and to provide resources for them.
McLellan loves to train, encourage and empower the volunteers and LITs (Leaders in Training). The volunteer team are about 90% young adult who are either completing placements from post secondary school or graduates that would like to gain experience. The other 10% are individuals who care about their community and who want to make a difference. She developed the LIT program while working at Why Not. She chose those whom exemplified leadership qualities and asked them to complete an application, interview, and attend four hours of training. When they accomplished all requirements, they all agreed to to:
Place all youth before themselves.
Greet all new youth.
Demonstrate leadership abilities.
Be enthusiastic about all group activities.
Listen to the youth and provide volunteers and/or staff members with critical information on homelessness, criminal cases, and crisis situations.
She hopes to continue the LIT program as she has happily seen the youth “push themselves beyond their limits.”
McLellan doesn’t just do this for herself but for a higher purpose. “When people help people, they tend to help themselves a lot, too,” McLellan shared. She wants to invest in the youth not only to make changes in themselves but in their families and communities.