Ann Tkachyk of the Dryden Police Department and Vanessa Shepherd, Manager, Children's Services Dryden Children's Resource Centre were instrumental in establishing a Youth Centre in Dryden which ran for 37 days this summer out of the former Child Care Centre on Albert Street. 

 

Under the Police Act the City is mandated to do Community Safety and Well Being (CSWB) planning; the Youth Centre is part of that responsibility. 
 
This past summer the Youth Centre opened in July and ran Tuesdays to Saturdays for youth aged eleven to sixteen. It was open for 37 days and had 584 sign-ins serving 120 youth. 
 
The program engages youth in making health choices and risks associated with behaviors around substance abuse, self-harm, and mental health. I also provided a safe place for youth to hang out while promoting a sense of belonging. 
 
Although Dryden’s Director of Education made a commitment this spring to fund/hire a facilitator for Youth Centre, when the Province put a freeze on school Board hiring the Kenora District Services Board came forward to donate space and funding to hire a short-term facilitator.  
 
The facilitator is now off to university and the funding has ended. The Youth Centre is now in a crisis and looking for partners with funding so it can stay open all year round. 
 
Youth Centres are a proven crime prevention strategy. Stats Canada indicates that positive social connectivity reduces the risk of obesity, poverty, and poor school performance. 
 
Members of Rotary were asked to lobby all levels of government to support our youth and the Youth Centre and if Rotary could help, that would also be appreciated. 
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