After five long years, Foundry Penticton and the Penticton Youth Centre are open to the area’s youth and young adults.
The centre, located at 501 Main St., hosted its official opening on July 4 with the attendance of Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and other special guests and elected officials.
The need for the youth centre was first identified by the Youth Engagement Strategy (YES) Project, which was organized by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen. Recent Princess Maggie graduates Sarah Wood and Husain Sattar have been heavily involved with the YES Project since its inception, and both are grateful that their efforts have finally paid off.
“I feel that with the resource centre, it has now opened doors to an area that Penticton youth have never experienced before. With the opening of this building, youth will actually have a place to go for so many different resources like sex education, mental health, housing and even on working to get a job,” said Sattar. “With each day that will pass with the building being open, the more the city and the people living in it will destigmatize youth reaching out for support. Youth deserve a place where they’re supported and safe and now they’ve finally gotten it.”
“Working on this project for four years, I have been able to see the constant and growing need for a resource such as this for youth in Penticton. As a city, this building is going to help us grow and work toward a more positive youth environment,” said Wood. “It is a dream come true to see this resource centre open and I can’t wait to see the amazing effects it will leave on our community. It has been years in the making and seeing it finally come to fruition is truly inspirational. I am so proud of all of the youth and it would not have been possible without the community support!”
Sattar and Wood collectively fundraised on their own accord and through the YES Project to be able to name one of the counselling rooms in the new building, to the tune of just over $16,000. The pair have yet to announce what their room name will be, but both told Western News staff during an earlier interview that they want it to have meaning for themselves and for the community as a whole.
“Foundry centres provide a safe and judgement-free environment where youth can feel comfortable asking for help and accessing the services they need,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, who attended the ceremony. “With the opening of Foundry Penticton, young people in the Okanagan have access to another one-stop-shop, in addition to Foundry Kelowna, to receive the important services they need to not only survive but thrive.”
The project was first launched by the Community Foundation’s “Future Starts Here” campaign, which fundraised $1.2 million to bring the plans to fruition, while a separate $1 million fundraising campaign allowed for the purchase and renovation of the building. OneSky Community Resources will be the operator of the Foundry, which will work with community partners to bring health and social services together in one building to make it easier for young people to find the help and support they need.
Foundry Penticton will operate on the building’s main floor and offer services for youth aged 12 to 24 and their families in areas concerning primary care physicians, mental health supports, substance use resources, youth and family peer support and social services. The second floor of the building will host operations by YMCA Jumpstart, ARC Programs, Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) and Interior Health. The basement space will be used for additional activities and programs when necessary.
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