Steinbach Youth For Christ is ready to open its doors in Blumenort.
In May of 2022, YFC announced plans to expand into Blumenort and Executive Director Rueben Singh says they will start to welcome young people beginning this week. The inaugural night will happen on Tuesday. Singh says they will be open to youth aged 12 to 19 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
"(We're) really excited about that," he says.
According to Singh, the dream of opening in Blumenort started with a few side conversations with some individuals in that community. He notes these individuals love the Steinbach location and realize the benefit of having something similar in their own community. Then came the pandemic, which allowed more time for reflection and Singh says it became clear that opening in Blumenort could be a possibility.
Singh says there are a lot of young people in that community who do not have a whole lot to do other than play sports. He notes it is extremely important for YFC to create another safe location where these young people can hang out or connect with an adult who cares about them.
Though the centre is not yet open, Singh says there has already been a good response from the community. He notes people are excited and eager to come check it out.
"It's a community that cares and cares for each other and so for them to be excited about this just makes complete sense," he says. "And so that in turn is very exciting for us to have that sort of support behind it already."
Steinbach YFC has hired Vince Kehler to serve as Blumenort Ministry Director. Singh says Kehler is very familiar in that community and will oversee that site, making sure programs are running and volunteers are recruited.
Singh says being open two evenings a week will allow them to get their toes wet, find out what the community needs are and see what the response is from the youth. He expects to have three or four volunteers each night in addition to Kehler. Singh says they are certainly looking for more volunteers and encourages anyone who is considering helping out to get that process started sooner than later.
It remains to be seen just how many youth will come out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Singh says there are about 300 youth in Blumenort in their target age range, but notes it is difficult to predict how many of those will be interested in showing up. But he says young people have already been using the basketball court and have been peeking through the windows to see what is going on inside.
Meanwhile, constructing the centre has a budget of $1.3 million, which also includes purchasing the land and furnishing the building. Singh says they have raised about $1 million in cash and pledges and are now looking to raise the remaining $300,000. Anyone that is interested in making a donation can do so online by visiting yfcsteinbach.com or by contacting the YFC office in Steinbach. Singh notes a number of their pledges are over three years and YFC will willingly work with an individual who is interested in contributing over a period of time.
Singh says he absolutely loves the new space, noting it is beautifully designed and the end product looks great. He says it was important that they had a high-quality centre to offer the young people.
A grand opening is being planned for Monday, November 13th from 6 pm to 9 pm.
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