ICYA celebrates rebuilding with community!

Written by Laurie Kozak, previously published in The Messenger

Two years ago, we wouldn’t have imagined that ICYA would be doing a capital campaign to rebuild a section of our building because of arson. We are thankful and blessed that no one was hurt and only one-third of our building was damaged.

Before we decided to do the building project we had to make sure we were remaining true to our mission — To bring hope and a future to youth and their families in the inner city — and that it served our community.

Our goals go beyond the brick and mortar. This is why we decided to use the space for our drop-in because it is the funnel into our organization where we get over 460 children.

The Building of Hope Capital Campaign will expand our drop-in size and the hours available to influence our youth and community.

Further, this will also permit our staff to have more of a positive influence through increased interaction; with our missionaries enhance our capacity to plan and initiate programs. It will allow youth more access to programs and physical activities, providing healthy alternatives to being on the street.

St. Aidan’s Christian School will now be able to have gym classes on site. ICYA will have additional space to facilitate a quiet room (prayer) and two activity rooms (art, crafts, programs) to expand skill sets, and a snack bar area for connecting.

This project will help ICYA to act on three areas of vision for the next five years. We want to develop local leaders from our community and provide employment opportunities for our youth through the development of social enterprise.

One such venture is about to commence. We have just purchased a house from The City of Winnipeg for two dollars with the agreement that we will repair it and get it back on the tax roll.

We are going to be looking for other ventures as well in the next five years. The third area of vision is centred on building the faith community for the many families whose only connection to a church-based organization is ICYA.

On Thursday, January 20, 2011, we celebrated the completion of the building project with the community. We had a full house!

There were prizes, a DJ spinning and rapping, a meal, face painting, games, and crafts for the kids. We had a great time watching the kids run around the space for the very first time and celebrating what God has done in helping us rebuild.

It’s so amazing that of the million dollars we had to raise for the project only $22,000 is remaining. We plan to have a ribbon cutting ceremony some time in March and are pretty determined to have it paid off upon its opening.

Thank you to the many that gave and volunteered.

ICYA has many EMCers on its staff. Gerald Reimer, conference youth minister, served for many years on its board.