The History of RNJ Youth Services

Over the years, we have been asked how RNJ got its name. In order to know how we got to be the RNJ known today, we have to go back to the 1980's!

In October 1986, the Ministry of Children and Social Services hosted a public meeting to discuss opening a youth custody facility to serve the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville areas. A few months later, ten members founded our very first board of directors and named us Reverend Norm Johnston Youth Residence Inc. in honour of the founder of "Operation Go Home" for runaway adolescents. In July of 1987, Reverend Norm Johnston Youth Residence Inc. became a legal entity by becoming incorporated.

Over the next couple of years, the board worked to find property and open a youth custody facility. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful in their attempts.

This setback however did not stop the board and they accomplished numerous things in the late 80's. In 1988 we received our charitable organization status. We also picked up our first programs during those years (Alternative Measures, Community Service Order Supervision and Transportation Escort programs).

In July 1989, the board voted unanimously to change our name to Rev. Norm Johnston Youth Services Inc. Since then we have shortened the name to RNJ Youth Services which is what we are recognized for now.

For a more detailed breakdown of the early days of RNJ, please click here!

Executive Director, Rachel Burns and Board Chair Margaret Fancy with the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Michael Parsa, at ROMA 2024. 

RNJ Youth Services staff at our 1st Annual Curling Bonspiel on January 19, 2024! 
From left to right: Megan Blanchard, Reuben DeVries, Morgan McCrady (Placement Student), Kim Fenn, Theresa Heaslip, Reis Hanna, Candice Serson, Sarah McCue, Hope Bennett, Kim Usher and Zak Dishaw. 
Missing - Executive Director, Rachel Burns