Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen executive director Aaron McRann and Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, toured the Youth Centre building, which was purchased by the Foundation in 2018, on Tuesday afternoon. (Robin Grant/Western News)

Foundry Penticton makes youth ‘feel like they have a place’

CEO of Community Foundations of Canada toured the new building Tuesday

Since Foundry Penticton and the Penticton Youth Centre officially opened in July, young people in need have had a nice place to go in Penticton where they don’t feel marginalized.

READ MORE: Foundry Penticton youth centre officially opens

That’s according to Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen executive director Aaron McRann who toured the centre at 501 Main St. with Andrew Chunilall, CEO of Community Foundations of Canada, on Tuesday afternoon.

“The comments from our young people are that they feel like they have a place. Like they are part of the town and they are not being marginalized,” he said. “This is a beautiful building in the heart of downtown and it makes them feel valued. It’s a safe place they know they can come.”

READ MORE: Youth Resource Centre and Foundry Penticton are coming to fruition

McRann added he is impressed with the community effort, which included help from the Youth Engagement Strategy (YES) Project, that made the project possible.

“It’s a good example of an older population reaching out and supporting the younger generation, and the community came out in support of this project in flying colours. It was really quite remarkable,” he said.

READ MORE: Foundry Penticton and Youth Centre host one last fundraiser

Chunilall spoke about the foundation and its history of philanthropy, which he said was founded by wealthy North American capitalists almost 100 years ago.

“These men often knew their wealth was a derivative of taking advantage of others. Whether it was through the context of civil rights infringement or the occupation of other people’s land or just being privileged in a set of social circles,” he explained, adding that today the same wealth is being created, and inequality is still a reality.

McRann added, “Of the hundred-plus youth that have been on the advisory committee over the course of this process, it is not the building but seeing the support from the community that has meant the most. It’s not that one big donor dropped $3-million bucks to make this happen. It is hundreds and hundreds of people who worked to make this happen. That’s the part that makes them feel like they are a part of it and they are valued.”

Going forward, there are plans to renovate the basement in three months and then eventually install an elevator as well.

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