Community effort raises Youth Hub
By Sue Tiffin
Published March 21, 2019
The Hali Youth Hub is becoming the gathering space that the community built.
Marg Cox, executive director of Point in Time, which is co-leading the walk-in centre project with Haliburton Highlands Health Services, said she is excited “that the community is stepping up,” to help renovate the former Lighthouse Pentecostal Church on Dysart Avenue into a space for Haliburton County youth aged 12 to 25.
“Local tradespeople, businesses and residents are being extremely generous with their time and contributions helping to make the YWHO Haliburton County a reality,” reads a hub renovation update on Point in Time’s website. “It’s real evidence of how valued youth are as members of our community and how the community recognizes the future that they hold.”
A new, custom-made, accessible kitchen was designed by Trevor Chaulk and the team of Chaulk Design Studio, with a portion of that kitchen being donated, and the team donated their labour to install it at the beginning of this month.
“Trevor Chaulk is a very community-minded contractor and is committed to helping ... he really believes in investing in children and youth in our community so he’s given us a terrific donation,” said Cox.
North Steel also offered the Youth Hub a deal on a stainless steel counter top. The commercial grade kitchen meets public health regulation.
“The youth are really interested in learning to prepare food and being able to access food both, so we’re really excited about the kitchen component,” said Cox.
Chaulk said his company has always been about giving back, and this year wanted to allocate some time and resources to Point in Time to help out with the Youth Hub initiative.
“Point in Time does a lot of work for the youth,” he said. “From my standpoint having three young kids, and the fact of Point in Time helping our family with our kids at different occasions, it’s a really fitting thing to give back.”
The kitchen design was approved by Point in Time and then the health department in the first round of designs. Chaulk said it had been a pleasure working with the Point in Time team, who he said responded quickly to make the process fluid.
“The biggest thing with the kitchen was accessibility, durability and making sure that the layout was functioning properly, because we had to have five sinks in a small space, we had to have a rolling island with a drop-down accessible countertop so there was some creative features we had to put into play, within that space,” he said.
The design of the kitchen will allow for more ease by those using the Youth Hub, and Chaulk said a lot of behind-the-scenes work by design professionals goes into planning a commercial kitchen to ensure heavy use doesn’t cause damages.
“[I]t will reduce stress because they’re not going to have to struggle to use it,” said Chaulk. “If, for example, the kitchen wasn’t designed properly, and they had a bad day at school, then they’re coming over there and they’re struggling to find a microwave and nothing’s working properly, then they get agitated, right? Well with the quality of our kitchens, they’re not going to have that issue. It comes with a 10-year warranty, we stand behind everything, we build things to last, so it’s going to stand the test of time.”
The project was one that Chaulk said was meaningful.
“I love projects like this, because many years ago when I started the company, there was a time that I needed help,” said Chaulk. “I don’t forget that. When it comes as an opportunity to give back to the community, I feel really good about it because everybody needs something here and there. If we all stick together and work together, that’s how the community thrives. Back in the day, it took a village to raise the barn, right, and it still stands true today.”
Cox said other local businesses in Minden have also contributed to the project as well. Home Hardware offered deals on appliances, including the kitchen’s commercial dishwasher, fridge, freezer and a stove and Riverview Furniture in Minden offered deals on Canadian-made furniture that will stand up to a lot of use, such as sofas made of durable and cleanable fabric.
“Local businesses from contractors to retailers have just been really stepping up to support the youth in our community and furnish and complete the youth hub,” she said.
She said it’s important because although located in Haliburton, the Youth Hub is a space for all youth in the county. Transportation has been built into the project budget, and so after students get in to town by way of bus or a ride from parents, evening rides home are being offered to youth attending programs at the Youth Hub. Additionally, Grade 7 and 8 students in Minden who are interested in coming to the Youth Hub will be accommodated to ensure they can access the Youth Hub as well.
“If there are people in Minden who want to get to the hub who don’t have a way of doing so, reach out and we’ll work on it together,” said Cox.
“There’s a lot of things a lot of companies can do in the area,” said Chaulk. “What I’ve always believed was lead by example. So if I step up to the plate, always step up to the plate as much as possible, it might encourage other companies to do the same, too. That’s what makes the community so great, is that people will step up in a time of need.”
Kieran Gillooly, a partner with Kegal Heating and Cooling, learned what it’s like to have the community offer support after he had a serious softball accident in 2017. He remembered that when he recommended to his mom Rachel, a project co-ordinator on the Youth Hub project, that the building should have a new heat pump rather than just air conditioning and offered his time to install it.
“It’s for a good cause, and I’m a firm believer in what goes around comes around,” he said. “I had an accident myself and the support that I got from everybody and basically the goodness of people’s hearts, you gotta give back. It’s a two-way street for sure.”
Gillooly said the immediate caring response for both him and his family after his accident is a prime example of the support offered from friends and family and the community.
“So you have to appreciate that and when other people need help you gotta do your part,” he said. “It’s not like it has to be a lot of time, but every little bit helps. You know, if 20 people spent a couple of hours there [at the Youth Hub], that’s a lot of time and labour. So, more people make for light work.”
The Zuba-Central Mitsubishi central heat pump system has been popular in area homes, replacing electric furnaces, according to Gillooly. He called his sales rep, who was able to help as well in developing a special price point for the unit.
“I said that I could see them saving a lot of money, probably enough money in the heating season from the heat pump that they would essentially be getting air conditioning for free,” said Gillooly. “It would make sense to go that route.”
He’s looking forward to seeing immediate savings on the Youth Hub’s hydro bill, and also in the Youth Hub having a grand opening.
“It gives the youth in Haliburton a bunch of resources that in the past haven’t been there,” he said. Gillooly said when he was a high school student in the area, students hung out at a restaurant in town but he said options were limited. “There was nothing really to go to after school, where you could do homework.”
He installed the heat pump system in January, but is still ready to jump in if needed.
“There’s still going to be the odd thing to do there, and if I can, I will help,” he said. “It feels good to be a part of something meaningful.”
Cox said the space will be fully accessible. Besides the kitchen and lounge areas, the Youth Hub will have a number of multi-purpose rooms where people can have a quieter space to do their homework, or meet confidentially in soundproof rooms with a nurse practitioner to access services including mental health supports, employment help and psychiatric evaluation. Youth will be involved in some of the finishings of the space - already some have been involved in choosing furniture and what kind of feel the space has, and have been planning art projects.
“Even though there hasn’t been a lot of hands-on, there’s been co-creating with the youth in terms of what they want to see in the design,” said Cox.
Though still working toward a grand opening date, the Youth Hub is already being used for both one-time and ongoing events. SHIFT, an arts-based, pre-employment program for youth aged 18 to 29 started March 5 and runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Youth Hub. The program includes lunch, and has a goal of creating better employment outcomes for youth through building interpersonal and soft skills while working as a team to create unique art and media projects with two talented local artists and an employment and training consultant from Fleming CREW. For more information, call the Fleming CREW Employment office at 705-457-2020.
Coffee House, a positive, casual and fun gathering space for LGBTQ+ youth and allies between the ages of 12 to 25 is being held at the Youth Hub every other Tuesday.
Thursday Night Drop-In invites youth to stop by for food, games, music, a hang out and rides home for anyone who needs it. The Youth Engagement Committee, open to HHSS and AETC students meets every other Thursday at lunchtime in the HHSS seminar room to plan events and talk about what’s most important to high school students in Haliburton County. For information on any of these events, contact 705-457-5345.
An online Youth Hub Gift Registry found at pointintime.ca offers a guide to what is still needed at the Youth Hub to bring it closer to completion. General donations can be made, or donors can specify what they would like to fund. The list includes items like flatware, ceiling fans, an inclined platform wheelchair lift, kitchen faucets, stacking tables and window blinds. Visit the Point in Time website or call 705-457-5345 for more information on how to get involved.