Sometimes teenagers get a bad rap. Maybe it’s the loud music, or the tendency to travel in packs, but they’re often regarded with undeserved suspicion. And even when they do get into trouble, they often aren’t bad kids, just bored kids. When Rebekah Harding of Reformation House in Quesnel looked at the youth in her community, she saw that many of them had barriers to accessing sports like hockey or soccer, and no safe place to hang out. To keep young people from drifting into substance use and other potentially dangerous choices, she decided to take action.
Reformation House’s youth lounge: creating a safe space for teens in Quesnel
In fall of 2018, Reformation House applied for an IMAGINE Community Grant to establish a youth lounge in downtown Quesnel. The safe, clean space where kids could gather and hang out would offer games, activities, and snacks. The group purchased a variety of game tables, installed a TV and a concession, and opened their doors in January 2019.
The response was amazing. From the beginning, it was clear that kids were responding to having a space to call their own. Youth from Quesnel and other communities came to play pool and foosball, watch movies, sing karaoke, and just chill. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive – more than one visitor said that if it wasn’t for the lounge, they likely wouldn’t leave their home at all except to go to school.
Improving the health of teens and the community: the work continues
While there’s still lots of work to be done, Reformation House is committed to continuing their work on the youth lounge. Future plans include developing new partnerships in the community, expanding marketing, and making the space available for event rentals. The IMAGINE Community Grants program is proud to support groups who take steps to make their communities healthier places!
IMAGINE grant applications open in September
The application window for IMAGINE Community Grants opens on September 1 and closes September 30, 2019. The program accepts applications that promote health in a wide range of areas, including:
- Physical activity
- Healthy eating
- Community food security
- Injury prevention and safety
- Mental health and wellness
- Prevention of substance harms
- Smoking and vaping reduction
- Healthy aging
- Healthy schools
- …and more!
For more information, visit the IMAGINE Community Grants webpage today!