Real estate agent Peter Byrnes, who represented the seller of 501 Main Street, hands over a key to Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen president Marielle Brule and vice-president Kim Lyster, along with some members of the YES steering committee. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Penticton youth centre finally gets home, sweet home

Youth centre organizers can start renovating 501 Main Street after getting the keys to the building

With the turn of a key, a youth advocacy group marked a major milestone on Monday — 501 Main Street now belongs to the YES (Youth Engagement Strategy) Project for a youth centre.

“It’s a bit surreal, actually,” Community Foundation executive director Aaron McRann said of getting the keys to the building. “Obviously there’s still a whole bunch of things that have to be figured out. There’s going to be probably up to 20 different service providers that are in this building.

“So, there’s a lot of logistics that have to still be figured out, but today’s not the day to think about that. Today’s a sigh of relief that all the other logistics have worked out.”

Related: Guest column: Youth shares her experience with YES Project

McRann and the Community Foundation are a group of several community partners on the YES Project working to bring the youth centre to Penticton, including the Penticton and District Community Resources Society.

But it wasn’t just a sigh of relief among the adults in the room.

“I think it’s amazing that we finally got our building and things are moving forward. I feel like with so much progress, it’s been so worthwhile,” said Husain Sattar, sits on the YES steering committee and the youth advisory committee.

“We’ve talked about what’s going to be in this building ,and I can already imagine the amount of help and colour it’ll bring to this building in 2018.”

Related: Youth centre cracks $1M mark one month into fundraiser

The key presentation was the product of several years’ work, which McRann said was possible with a community effort — indeed, in his speech at the location Monday evening, there were numerous partners to thank, including the Rotary Club and the city.

The key presentation event Monday evening was attended by a few dozen local dignitaries and sponsors, including Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, who praised the efforts of the YES Project.

“There’s not a lot of services for the youth, so I think it’s been talked about for four years, and even the Governor General of Canada came here and met with them,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said. “To see this come together now, and they’ve actually physically bought a building and they got the Foundry funding … I think is really exciting for Penticton.”

Related: Penticton Youth Centre gains key resource

The Foundry funding was announced in December, and meant the backing of a province-wide network of resources for Penticton’s youth centre.

And the event came on the tail of news that the YES Project had raised a third of its $3-million goal set in December by early January.

The YES Project expects to open up the centre sometime this year.


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