Downtown Youth Space Welcomes New Teens for Sports, Games, Friendship

Young people connect with resources, community

After the school bell rings, there’s a place to play pool, grab a bite to eat and meet friends, all free of charge.

New opportunities, activities and people come together in Peterborough’s very own place for youth in the city’s downtown core.

The Downtown Youth Space (DYS) is a hub for all things cool. It’s currently opening its doors to welcome new young people, aged 13 to 18, to join in on the after-school activities and camaraderie.

The DYS is located within Peterborough Alternative Continuing Education (PACE) at PCVS and runs every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m. The building is located across from city hall at McDonnel and Aylmer streets.

“It’s a drop-in centre but we do encourage youth to come as often as they can,” says Katie Crowe, interim program manager for the DYS, offered by the City of Peterborough.

“We want more kids to come out.”

With a co-ordinator and two to three youth leaders on site, DYS has a monthly calendar of activities and programs for youth.

There are non-competitive sports on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the gym, featuring activities such as soccer, volleyball and dodgeball.

DYS is equipped with video-gaming stations, couches for lounging, air hockey, foosball, ping-pong and pool tables. There’s a plethora of board games to play and crafts to explore.

The DYS hosts special guests from the community to come in and offer workshops on topics ranging from resume-building to stone carving.

“I work with community partners to try and find (ideal) fits,” Katie says. DYS strives to recruit local partners “so they can come in and show off their talents. The youth get to experience that and that’s pretty cool.”

The program offers daily snacks and once a week the teens and youth leaders prepare a meal together. “That’s pretty popular — anything with food.”

They also venture beyond the space to go bowling, to the movies and to participate in other community activities.

Young people have the chance to be on the youth advisory committee to share their thoughts on the program. “We incorporate their feedback. It’s important we keep current in what they want to do and to offer those things as well.”

Through the DYS, people get to know each other and relationships are formed. “It’s not just recreation,” Katie says. “We like to help.”

For instance, a youth may mention food insecurity as a challenge so DYS leaders can connect him or her with a community resource.

Another teen may be struggling in school with a particular subject and a leader can link the youth to the appropriate support.

“I try to be the connector for where they need to go.”

Katie has seen amazing things happen within the DYS. Stay tuned to Electric City Magazine for more about the program and its impact on young people in the community.

To learn more about the Downtown Youth Space click here.

Photos courtesy of Katie Crowe.

Related Story:

Self-discovery, Inclusion Blossom in Downtown Youth Space

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