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Youth HQ Acquires Professional Building – Establishing the Centre For Social Impact

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Youth HQ is pleased to announce that the Professional Building located at 4808 50th Street downtown will soon become the Centre for Social Impact. Supporters of the building share in the vision of providing charities and non-profit organizations access to a centrally located unique building that offers affordable office, program, and meeting space. The building has had substantial upgrades and enhancements that will serve tenants well into the future.

Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities. An inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations collaborate. “Charities and non-profits are often subject to locations throughout the city based on affordability. With continuing rising operational and facility costs such as rent, utilities, and available space, charities and non-profits face challenges. The Centre for Social Impact will respond to these challenges so organizations can focus on what they do best –create impact in our community.” states Rob Lewis, Executive Director, YouthHQ.

The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project. Youth HQ took possession of the building March 6, 2023. Tenants can look forward to affordable office space, shared meeting space and common areas, available reserved parking, affordable IT support on site, and exceptional ongoing building maintenance.

Interested tenants are encouraged to contact Rob Lewis, Youth HQ for more information.

Youth HQ is also looking for a donor who shares in this vision of creating a place that will benefit the community for years to come. This donor (individual or corporate) would have title name to the building – ___________________ Centre for Social Impact.

This is an exciting time for charities and non-profit organizations in Red Deer. The need for a location dedicated to social impact is finally a reality. Thank you to all our supporters for sharing in our vision and making the Centre for Social Impact a reality that will benefit Red Deer well into the future.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Red Deer has long identified a need for a unique building dedicated exclusively to charitable activities and maximizing social impact. The proposed Centre for Social Impact (CSI) would be an inspiring place where charities and non-profit organizations can collaborate; a place centrally located where families can readily access a variety of supports and services; a place where organizations can share resources and minimize rising operating costs; and a place with in-house maintenance and operational supports.

Charities and non-profits are facing numerous challenges that threaten their ability to fulfill their respective missions. Rising operational costs (rent, utilities, service supports, insurance, etc.) directly influence the impact of the public donated dollar. Combining these rising costs with an increased demand for services limits the capacity for these organizations to respond to those needs. The ever-increasing competition for a declining public dollar has never been greater than it is today. The post-pandemic reality for charities and non-profits that were able to weather the storm the past three years, combined with the present economy, has compounded these challenges. The need for a building dedicated to social impact has never been greater.

Youth HQ has recently acquired a building that will not only benefit the services within Youth HQ but will also directly benefit many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta. The Professional Building, located on Ross Street, will become the Centre for Social Impact for the purpose of supporting charities and non-profits.

The property was donated by Maclab Properties Group, a private real estate group founded in Edmonton in the 1950’s. Maclab has a long history of strong support for the non-profit community across Alberta and was excited to contribute to this project.

ABOUT YOUTH HQ

Youth HQ has been serving Red Deer and Central Alberta since 1976. Youth HQ is the administrative structure that presently oversees Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District, BGC (Boys and Girls Club) of Red Deer & District, the 49th Street Youth Emergency Shelter, and Camp Alexo. This organizational structure with one Board of Directors, one Executive Director, and one administrative team supports all the entities described. Consequently, the publicly donated dollar goes much further in directly impacting the children and families we serve. Youth HQ was the first organization in Canada to bring two nationally affiliated charities under one roof.

Several similar organizations across Canada (particularly in Alberta) have since established similar operational structures. Youth HQ supports more than 2,200 children and families annually.

Youth HQ has a well-established track record of success and has proven its ability to embrace ambitious ventures for the purpose of enhancing social impact. Examples include the tremendous expansions of BGC programs and services into 13 surrounding locations within Central Alberta and the 3-million-dollar Camp Alexo Facility Master Plan that now serves numerous groups and organizations throughout the year.

Our agency tagline with BGC is “Opportunity Changes Everything”. This incredible opportunity will create positive change not only for Youth HQ but also for many charities and non-profits in Red Deer and Central Alberta.

IMPACT TO CHARITIES AND NON-PROFITS

• Centrally located with easy transportation access
• Readily accessible to numerous services and supports under one roof
• Low and affordable sq ft rental rates
• Small office space or large office spaces available
• Meeting rooms readily available
• Large workshop/training or meeting space in lower level
• Low cost on-site IT tech support
• Ample parking in the downtown core
• Building maintenance and security
• A building that has significant improvements and upgrades
• Shared common areas.
• Opportunities for organizations to collaborate readily as needed.
• Less dollars dedicated to operational expenses.
• More dollars dedicated to programs and direct services.

CLIENT IMPACT EXAMPLE

A Single parent mother with 3 children visits the Centre for Social Impact for services and supports. After receiving some counselling and being connected to a support group she discovers that there are other services which can offer support for her children. The 8-year-old girl is matched to a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Her two boys are put on a waiting list for a mentor, but are connected to BGC, and become registered in the community-based after school program in Fairview. The impact of this story is that the mother was able to walk into one door and get connected to four organizations offering supports for herself and her children. Agencies will also be able to collaborate more effectively with one another in support of the families and community we all serve.

Addictions

‘Harm Reduction’ is killing B.C.’s addicts. There’s got to be a better way

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Susan Martinuk 

B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy

Since 2016, more than 40,000 Canadians have died from opioid drug overdoses — almost as many as died during the Second World War.
Governments, health care professionals and addiction experts all acknowledge that widespread use of opioids has created a public health crisis in Canada. Yet they agree on virtually nothing else about this crisis, including its causes, possible remedies and whether addicts should be regarded as passive victims or accountable moral agents.

Fuelled by the deadly manufactured opioid fentanyl, Canada’s national drug overdose rate stood at 19.3 people per 100,000 in 2022, a shockingly high number when compared to the European Union’s rate of just 1.8. But national statistics hide considerable geographic variation. British Columbia and Alberta together account for only a quarter of Canada’s population yet nearly half of all opioid deaths. B.C.’s 2022 death rate of 45.2/100,000 is more than double the national average, with Alberta close behind at 33.3/100,00.

In response to the drug crisis, Canada’s two western-most provinces have taken markedly divergent approaches, and in doing so have created a natural experiment with national implications.

B.C. has emphasized harm reduction, which seeks to eliminate the damaging effects of illicit drugs without actually removing them from the equation. The strategy focuses on creating access to clean drugs and includes such measures as “safe” injection sites, needle exchange programs, crack-pipe giveaways and even drug-dispensing vending machines. The approach goes so far as to distribute drugs like heroin and cocaine free of charge in the hope addicts will no longer be tempted by potentially tainted street drugs and may eventually seek help.

But safe-supply policies create many unexpected consequences. A National Post investigation found, for example, that government-supplied hydromorphone pills handed out to addicts in Vancouver are often re-sold on the street to other addicts. The sellers then use the money to purchase a street drug that provides a better high — namely, fentanyl.

Doubling down on safe supply, B.C. recently decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. The resulting explosion of addicts using drugs in public spaces, including parks and playgrounds, recently led the province’s NDP government to attempt to backtrack on this policy — though for now that effort has been stymied by the courts.

According to Vancouver city councillor Brian Montague, “The stats tell us that harm reduction isn’t working.” In an interview, he calls decriminalization “a disaster” and proposes a policy shift that recognizes the connection between mental illness and addiction. The province, he says, needs “massive numbers of beds in treatment facilities that deal with both addictions and long-term mental health problems (plus) access to free counselling and housing.”

In fact, Montague’s wish is coming true — one province east, in Alberta. Since the United Conservative Party was elected in 2019, Alberta has been transforming its drug addiction policy away from harm reduction and towards publicly-funded treatment and recovery efforts.

Instead of offering safe-injection sites and free drugs, Alberta is building a network of 10 therapeutic communities across the province where patients can stay for up to a year, receiving therapy and medical treatment and developing skills that will enable them to build a life outside the drug culture. All for free. The province’s first two new recovery centres opened last year in Lethbridge and Red Deer. There are currently over 29,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province.

This treatment-based strategy is in large part the work of Marshall Smith, current chief of staff to Alberta’s premier and a former addict himself, whose life story is a testament to the importance of treatment and recovery.

The sharply contrasting policies of B.C. and Alberta allow a comparison of what works and what doesn’t. A first, tentative report card on this natural experiment was produced last year in a study from Stanford University’s network on addiction policy (SNAP). Noting “a lack of policy innovation in B.C.,” where harm reduction has become the dominant policy approach, the report argues that in fact “Alberta is currently experiencing a reduction in key addiction-related harms.” But it concludes that “Canada overall, and B.C. in particular, is not yet showing the progress that the public and those impacted by drug addiction deserve.”

The report is admittedly an early analysis of these two contrasting approaches. Most of Alberta’s recovery homes are still under construction, and B.C.’s decriminalization policy is only a year old. And since the report was published, opioid death rates have inched higher in both provinces.

Still, the early returns do seem to favour Alberta’s approach. That should be regarded as good news. Society certainly has an obligation to try to help drug users. But that duty must involve more than offering addicts free drugs. Addicted people need treatment so they can kick their potentially deadly habit and go on to live healthy, meaningful lives. Dignity comes from a life of purpose and self-control, not a government-funded fix.

Susan Martinuk is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and author of the 2021 book Patients at Risk: Exposing Canada’s Health Care Crisis. A longer version of this article recently appeared at C2CJournal.ca.

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Community

$1,000,000 boost from province for upgrades at Red Deer’s Centre for Social Impact

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BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF RED DEER RECEIVES $1,000,000 CFEP GRANT IN SUPPORT OF THE CENTRE FOR SOCIAL IMPACT

Youth HQ is proud to announce that Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District has been awarded $1,000,000 through the government of Alberta Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) for the purpose of facility upgrades to the Centre for Social Impact.

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is an inspiring place where charities and non-profits can
collaborate; a place centrally located where families can readily access a variety of supports and
services; and a place where organizations can share resources and minimize operating costs.
“We are grateful for the support from CFEP, which enables us to address facility enhancements
and upgrades in support of the charities and non-profits that share this place where community
connects.” States Rob Lewis, Executive Director, YouthHQ.

Board Room at the Centre for Social Impact. Priority upgrades are the roof of the building and the HVAC systems

“Investments into non-profits in our communities, like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer
not only support new activities and programming but uplift youth and help build stronger
communities. Alberta’s government is proud to provide this million dollar grant to Red Deer Big
Brothers and Big Sisters, as they provide essential supports and services for the youth of Red
Deer and surrounding area.”

Tanya Fir, Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women

“The CFEP grant awarded to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer and District is very
exciting news for Red Deer and surrounding communities. This substantial investment will
directly benefit our community by supporting essential youth programs, providing lasting
benefits for our youth in the years to come. I was happy to write a letter of support, as I am
continually inspired by the work Youth HQ does in our community. This grant will undoubtedly
enhance their ability to make a positive impact.”

MLA for Red Deer-North and Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange

Conferencing area at the Centre for Social Impact. Priority upgrades are the roof of the building and the HVAC systems

For more information on the Centre for Social Impact please visit www.youthhq.ca

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District enables life-changing mentoring relationships
to ignite the power of young people. Providing life changing mentoring experiences since 1976,
Big Brothers Big Sisters has been matching children and youth with adult role models who help
them achieve their biggest possible futures. We believe we are #BiggerTogether, and currently
work with over 220 young people to ignite their potential.

About Youth HQ

Youth HQ empowers youth by fostering a community of support. Our network seeks to instill
young people with confidence in their unique identities and abilities, providing them with skills
for life through knowledge, healthy relationships, and quality experiences while providing safe
environments to learn and grow. Youth HQ coordinates programming for Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Red Deer & District and Boys & Girls Club of Red Deer & District, offering numerous
programs and services that support children, youth and families.

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