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SaskTel expanding phone donation program to youth transitioning out of care

Youth who transition from ministry care, such as foster care or group homes will be provided with a free cell phone and a one-time $20 phone card. File / Global News

Youth transitioning out of permanent or long-term care in Saskatchewan will be given a cell phone and phone card due to the expansion of SaskTel’s Phones for a Fresh Start program.

Announced on Friday, a government press release said the phones and phone cards will help youth transition to independence.

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“Never has staying connected been more important, especially for those at risk. I commend SaskTel and the Ministry of Social Services for their collaboration on the expansion of Phones for a Fresh Start to ensure youth remain supported,” Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskTel said in a release.

SaskTel has also partnered with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan for the Phones for a Fresh Start program since 2009. The program provides free cell phones and phone cards to people fleeing domestic violence.

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SaskTel president and CEO Doug Burnett said that the communications provider is a “major contributor to the quality of life in Saskatchewan.”

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“Phones for a Fresh Start has done that for people fleeing domestic abuse and will now do that for young people transitioning out of care of the Ministry of Social Services. Providing this ‘fresh start’ enables youth to find a home, look for a job and stay in touch with support networks.”

Social Services Minister Lori Carr said the ministry is proud to partner with SaskTel with this program.

“For youth transitioning out of care a phone can be a lifeline, enabling them to stay in touch with vital support networks,” Carr said.

The press release stated that youth who are currently transitioning from ministry care, such as foster care or group homes will be contacted by their worker to make arrangements for them to receive a cell phone and one-time $20 phone card.

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The Phones for a Fresh Start program is partially funded by the proceeds of recycled cell phones, batteries and accessories donated through the program with SaskTel contributing the remaining funds.

Individuals are encouraged to drop off their old cell phones for recycling at SaskTel stores and participating dealers.

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