Youth organization welcomes fresh start: North End youth group celebrates $1 million construction completion

Written by Rob Brown, courtesy of the Winnipeg Free Press

A North End-based organization for you this about to literally rise from the ashes of its former location. Inner City Youth Alive expects to cut the ribbon on a new activity centre at 418 Aberdeen Ave. next week. The new building will be located at the same spot where the organization’s former home stood until it was destroyed by arson more than two years ago.

In addition to a cafeteria-style meeting area and foosball table, the facility will include a new state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall. Executive director Kent Dueck said the new building will offer the faith-based organization a fresh start.

“It was very discouraging when someone lit a fire here – but we looked at what we wanted to see in a new and improved facility,” he said. “We are trying to reach younger kids and fill the after-school gaps.”

The previous building housed ICYA’s millwork training program. The program has since been moved to a portable mobile trailer unit. Dueck said the new $1 million youth centre is an extension of Inner City Youth Alive’s existing mission to offer hope to youngsters in the community.

He said organizers considered a number of options before determining that an activity centre was the best choice.

“We looked at what would meet the needs at our greatest point of impact in the community – the more 480 youth we serve,” he said, noting a vast majority of the project was funded by private donations.

In addition to meals for kids and wilderness camping trips , ICYA offers an automotive training program and job skills training for North End youth.

Dueck, who has been the executive director at ICYA for 25 years, said a big part of why the organization has been so successful is that many of its employees are personally invested in the community.

“More than 80 percent of our staff now lives in the North End. This comes with helping make the community at-large better and rounding it out,” he said.

Members of the public will be able to check out the new building at a Fri., April 29 open house beginning at 1:30 p.m.