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The Lilly

The Lilly is one of Choices for Youth’s (CFY) longstanding housing programs. Located on Bond Street in Downtown St. John’s, The Lilly program provides long-term, supportive housing to young people in a safe and supportive environment. The Lilly is providing a bridge to independence for young people, working with them to build their confidence and develop the skills they need to successfully transition to independent living situations.

The Lilly is a program-based operation that assists young people who have employment or education goals but may not be in a position to live independently. The Lilly’s programming is guided by the needs of its young people. Youth living at The Lilly have individualized support plans that identify their needs and self-identified goals. The Lilly team helps their young people accomplish their support plans by teaching them life skills like budgeting, cleaning, and getting into a routine; connecting them with the health services they need to receive counselling or medication; and assisting them in advancing their education. The Lilly team also offers recreation and social programming that helps young people develop confidence and social skills.

Heather Roberts, The Lilly Program Coordinator

“The community that forms within our program is really special. When you see young people pooling their resources together and going out and buying groceries and cooking a meal together and then cleaning that meal up and having a game after they are finished…when you get a group that can find that cohesion and that can build that community within themselves, that’s where the power lies. That’s where the empowerment is. They are learning to navigate all these different personalities and all these different people and find their differences but also find their commonality and that’s I think that’s something that can be really difficult but is also a beautiful opportunity.”

The Lilly building currently houses fourteen young people aged 16-24. Instead of placing a limit on their length of stay at The Lilly, the team looks at the benefits that each young person is receiving from living there and prepares them to transition to independent living once they have developed the skills they need to succeed, whenever that time comes. The Lilly houses everything young people need under one roof with 24-hour staffing that ensures that the young people’s needs are being met and that the building remains a safe space for all.

The Lilly’s program model encourages relationship building, and this is one of the elements that makes The Lilly so successful. Staff at The Lilly become mentors for their young people, teaching them healthy relationship dynamics like boundaries and how to be supportive and encouraging to one another. There is tremendous potential for young people to learn and grow in The Lilly’s environment – even just a casual conversation can be incredibly valuable for their young people as it gives them the opportunity to come out of their shells, identify their strengths, and grow their confidence. The mentorship aspect of The Lilly empowers young people to take small steps every day that will move them steadily forward toward their goals.

Heather Roberts, The Lilly Program Coordinator

“If we didn’t have staff who were here investing so much of themselves and their talents and their creativity and their innovation and their commitment to working with the young people, then it wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be The Lilly.”

The Lilly cultivates a sense of community among its young people which produces amazing opportunities for them to learn and grow. The Lilly maintains a 90%+ occupancy rate so the opportunity for young people to form a community within the program is always present. Young people at The Lilly make connections with their peers and find a sense of cohesion within themselves as they learn to navigate different people and personalities.

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