By Chris Lewis/September 23, 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic initially hit the province, the Conception Bay Seeds Youth Initiative Inc., did what it could to continue its goals of breaking down barriers faced by the region’s youth when it comes to education, sports and the arts.
At the time, the organization took part in what was called a computer refurbishment initiative, providing approximately 200 students with laptops to help ease the process of learning from home.
Now, about a year later, the organization is setting its sights on a new project, according to one of the group’s directors, Jon Brown.
That project entails a potentially brand new facility for youth, which Brown is calling a youth centre. As a basketball coach, Brown said he is aware that young people in the Conception Bay Centre region are faced with challenges when it comes to access to sports. But, he noted the proposed facility would not be focused solely on sports.
“We’re doing this for a variety of reasons,” he said, adding the facility would also provide the organization a place from which it could operate. “So, we’re looking to raise money for a community youth centre so that we can help provide some of these things for the kids. There’s kids in the region who don’t have a access to a gym and have to go to the local high school one night a week … A couple hours a week isn’t enough, and that puts a strain on the high school gym when more people need to rely on that than should be. Really all we’re trying to do is get out there and give these kids more access to recreational facilities.”
Brown and the Conception Bay Seeds Youth Initiatives organization plan to host a fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 2.
It will be a silent auction gala at the Holiday Inn on Portugal Cove Road. In addition to announcing the group’s next initiative, they will also debut a documentary that has been in the works that Brown said tells the backstory of why such a facility is needed in Conception Bay Centre.
“A youth centre is pretty similar to a community centre,” Brown said. “There would be things like a gymnasium with basketball nets and other indoor spots equipment, we’d have a space with computers and even have some desktops all ready to go. We want kids to not only have online access, but have some mentorship there while they access these resources for learning and researching … Basically, what we’re doing is trying to fill in the gaps of as many programs as we can, because there are so many needs in that area right now.”
Brown said the Conception Bay Centre region was hit especially hard due to the abundance of trades workers who were idled when the pandemic closed down much of the economy.
Brown said they are looking at setting the facility up in Avondale, thanks to the community’s location in the middle of the Conception Bay Centre region. However, this is not set in stone.
“This project is big enough that it’s not something we can pull off on our own, so we need help from the people who want it there in the community, Brown said. “It’ll be a community effort.”