Salvation Army considers creating new community youth centre
By: Viola Pruss
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 21, 2013 06:00 am
A local charity organization considers filling a void left by the closure of the St. Albert Youth Community Centre.
Peter Kim, pastor with the St. Albert Salvation Army, said it’s still too early to make final commitments. But the church is thinking about making its facility available as a local youth centre, he said.
“It’s vital for this community and we need to provide a safe and fun environment for youth to come together,” he said.
The local youth community centre closed its doors in late July after having to move out of its former space in Grandin Park Plaza. Previously, Kim said the Salvation Army had worked with them in hosting a Thank God it’s Friday activity where it made its gym and kitchen area available to local youth on Friday nights.
The program started in the summer with the aid of the centre’s staff and capital resources. When the centre closed, Kim said they discontinued the program but were now looking at new ways of engaging local youth.
He cautioned the Salvation Army still has to determine whether the city would fund their program and if they have the right capacity before committing to anything.
“We also want to look at the possibility of staffing the building,” he said. “Another option is to bring in university students looking to work as volunteers and to gain experience and touch base with something related to their field of study.”
Scott Rodda, director of Family and Community Support Services at the family resource centre, said they are in the process of reviewing youth services in the community. He said the Salvation Army is one of many community partners the centre was talking to in determining if the youth centre’s closure left a gap in the community and how to address this.
“It’s too early to say anything specifically … but any time there is a program lost the obvious answer is there is a gap,” he said.
Were they to take over the youth centre’s activities, Kim said the children could, among other things, use their gym and library room, watch movies, play board games or cook in their kitchen.
He added the youth centre has been in touch with other local groups such as the St. Albert Family Resource Centre and the fire department. In collaborating with these groups he said, youth would be able to take a closer look at different community programs and vocations they may find interesting.
“We are trying to get people at the table sooner than later and also to recognize the need,” he said. “There is a lot of potential for what can be done and we are looking for a plan on how to possibly do it.”