'A huge help': Community steps up to help tapped-out KV youth centre

·3 min read

The Kennebecasis Valley Oasis Youth Centre is able to restart an important program providing meals to youth in the region after a recent onslaught of donations helped the cash-strapped charity stay afloat.

Sam Risk, executive director with the youth centre, said the donations, ranging from small contributions from individuals to sums of roughly $7,000 from organizations in the valley, means the charity has been able to offer its Supper Club program several nights a week again.

"This has been a huge help to us," Risk said. "Instead of one night a week, we're back up to three times a week, sometimes four, which is great."

Like many charities and non-profits during the pandemic, the KV youth centre was struggling financially due to cancelled in-person fundraisers.

In September, Risk told the newspaper there was uncertainty around whether the centre could stay open in the coming months if it didn't find a permanent source of funding from either level of government: federal, provincial or municipal.

"We are, of course, still in need of some guaranteed funding," Risk said. "We don't want to be back in the same situation that we were in. So we're always looking for some permanent funding and a large donor who would be willing to donate to us on a yearly basis so that we know that we have some of that funding guaranteed."

The Town of Rothesay recently donated $2,500, which Mayor Nancy Grant said is set aside in the budget each year. Both Rothesay and Quispamsis have supported the centre annually since opening in Quispamsis in 2016, Grant said.

In its 2022 budget, the Town of Quispamsis is contributing $7,500 to the charity.

"It's really important to give kids a place where they feel comfortable – all kids," Grant said. "One of their goals is to help prevent mental illness issues. I think that's really important in this climate, you know, keeping kids active, out of trouble, off drugs and with socialization – that's the big thing."

Other organizations that have stepped up with contributions include the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force, a local radio station, Oldies 96, Angus-Miller Ltd., DeCourcey & Company and the Port City Sharks.

In addition to the money going toward the supper program, which costs about $50 to feed approximately 15 youth who take part each night, it has been paying off operational costs, such as rent and wages, Risk said.

Risk thanked the community for helping out.

"We know people are struggling as well, and we always have resources available for anyone who fills our age range if they need any help," she said.

"Quite a few people that we've spoken to in the last little while have expressed gratitude for the centre, and they understand how much the centre means and how much the community needs it."

Risk added plans are in the works to hold the centre's annual fundraiser Power of Determination virtually in the spring.

Robin Grant, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal

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