Youth Centre re-opens

Centre serves Kimberley’s at-risk youth; now open after school five days a week

Kimberley’s Youth Centre has gone through many names — Lee Haskell Centre, Sparks Youth Centre and more — but its mission to provide a safe space for Kimberley’s at risk youth has never changed.

The Centre has been closed since last spring, but was able to reopen its doors this month. Former executive director and now board member Bev Middlebrook reports that the centre is open from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday and Friday from 1:30 to 6 p.m. New Youth Worker Kate McInroy will be supervising and creating drop in activities.

“I am so impressed with the number of youth using the centre,” Middlebrook said. “The clientele is always changing  as they grow up. It has been very busy in our third week open.”

Middlebrook says there are all kinds of plans to keep youth engaged.

“There will be  movie and pizza night, cooking/baking, wood stove burning warm every night, Wii games, great pool table, parties and musical instruments,” Middlebrook said. “Resume and job search support, resource and computer area available in workshop room.

“Coming in Nov, Dec and Jan. free LLEES (life, leadership, employment, entrepreneurial skills) workshops sponsored by CBT- one and half  hours long, short classes for  attention spans after long school days.”

But the struggle with budget will continue, and as Kimberley City Council prepares to begin budget deliberations, a letter of support for the work of the Lee Haskell Youth Centre has been received from the Kimberley Alternate School.

The Alternate School also serves at risk youth.

In his letter to Council, teacher Dan Clark said that their students have a wide range of significant needs.

“They may walk through the door in the same clothes day after day, have their only meals at school on a regular basis, or leave at the end of the school day without a consistent place to sleep,” Clark wrote.

“When the school day finishes for our students, many don’t have any structured activity planned. This year, staff at KAS have identified the need for enrichment activities that extend beyond the regular school day. Negative outcomes of unsupervised time after school can include drug use and other types of risky behaviour. East Kootenay Addiction Services Society annual student survey on drug use confirms this. The hours after school are the second most common time for drug use. Positive outcomes form after-school programs can include opportunities for constructive interactions with adults and peers.

“We encourage Council to continue its support of the Lee Haskell Youth Centre so they can remain open for those that are most vulnerable in Kimberley, the at-risk youth.”

For more information on future programming at the Youth Centre, email or call 250-427-7017 youth centre and leave message with number.