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Youth HQ hosts grand ceremony for Centre for Social Impact in Red Deer

A new facility for charities and nonprofit organizations has officially opened in the heart of Red Deer’s downtown.
Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston (left) helps 10-year-old Joseph cut the ribbon during the grand opening ceremony of the Centre for Social Impact in downtown Red Deer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

A new facility for charities and nonprofit organizations has officially opened in the heart of Red Deer’s downtown.

On Thursday Youth HQ hosted a grand opening ceremony for the Centre for Social Impact, located at 4808 50 Street.

“I’m super excited and honoured to be a part of a project that has the potential to make such a change in the way we meet the needs of people in our community,” said Rob Lewis, Youth HQ executive director.

Last month, it was announced that Youth HQ acquired the Professional Building for the purpose of establishing the Centre for Social Impact. (The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group.)

This building aims to provide charities and nonprofit organizations access to a centrally located building that offers affordable office, program and meeting spaces. The goal is to have 50 per cent of the building filled with various charities and organizations by June or July.

“We’re way ahead of where we thought we would be (at this point), which is very exciting,” said Lewis.

Youth HQ offers a variety of programs to support young central Albertans, including the 49th Street Youth Shelter, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program, and Camp Alexo.

“Youth HQ is a place where kids can be themselves. It’s a place where they can go and find acceptance. They can find an opportunity to grow and excel in being who they are,” said Lewis.

Wendy Fearon has seen the benefits of Youth HQ through her 10-year-old son Joseph.

“He was on the waiting list for Big Brothers Big Sisters for roughly two years. Finally, he met up with his big brother Andrew,” said Fearon.

“Ever since they’ve been matched, they spend like an hour and a half or two hours together a week. I feel like its made a big difference for Joseph because he can talk to Andrew about whatever. It’s been a big improvement for him. He loves it. He can do stuff with his big brother that I can’t do.”

Joseph cut the ribbon with the help of Mayor Ken Johnston during the grand opening ceremony to officially mark the opening of the facility.

A number of dignitaries attended the event, including Premier Danielle Smith.

“I do want thank everyone from Youth HQ for serving the children of Red Deer through all of the various organizations,” Smith said to the small crowd gathered in front of the building.

“Congratulations to all of you for opening the Centre for Social Impact. … This is a really amazing initiative that you’ve started here.”

Red Deer-North MLA Adriana LaGrange, Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan and Minister of Children’s Services Mickey Amery also attended the event.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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