The YES Project (Youth Engagement Strategy) is a community development program of the Community Foundation and acted as a catalyst to build a Youth Centre to Penticton. YES works side-by-side with young people, aged 12 to 24 years old in Penticton, who want to make a difference and create positive change. The Project is designed to give youth a stronger voice in Penticton, support them to live healthy, productive lives, and help to make Penticton a more youth-friendly city. The YES Project aims to accomplish this in three ways:
to create a youth-driven public awareness campaign raising awareness of youths needs in the community, identifying gaps in services and providing a platform for youth to advocate for themselves and their peers; to establish more free and accessible youth activities and resources; to build a Youth Resource Centre.
Pillar #1: Communication
The first goal of the YES Project is to foster better communication with and for Penticton’s youth. YES is supporting local youth to develop and deliver better information to youth about what is happening AND better information to adults about the good things Penticton youth are doing.
Pillar #2: Youth Activities
There are many activities for all ages in Penticton, but there are also many holes in the calendar. This group of young volunteers is working to share the word about local activities while also helping to create new activities that will be appealing to all.
Pillar #3: Youth Centre
Penticton needs a youth activity/resource centre! That came through loud and clear in the YES research. This group of volunteers is developing a viable business plan for a 24/7 youth centre with loads of activities as well as emergency services for youth.
On January 15, 2018, the Community Foundation put a down payment on a 21,000 square feet building located at 501 Main Street, the new home of the Youth Centre. This building will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ of coordinated youth services, resources and activities available to youth aged 12 to 24 years old.
There are four youth-serving agencies on the second floor of the Youth Centre: Ministry of Children and Family Development, Interior Health, ARC Programs, YMCA Jumpstart. The first phase of fundraising successfully raised $1 million dollars which provided the down payment for the purchase of the building as well as funding renovations on the second floor.
Foundry Penticton, operated by OneSky Community Resources, will occupy 6,000 square feet on the main floor of the Youth Centre. Foundry Penticton works with community partners to bring health and social services together in a single place to make it easier for young people to find the care, connections and support they need. The are five core services offered by Foundry: primary care (physicians); mental health supports; substance use resources; youth and family peer supports; and social services. There are over 20 local organizations that will be offering their services out of Foundry Penticton.