Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I recently had an opportunity last Saturday night to visit the Side Door Youth Drop-in Centre at the Anglican Church here in Yellowknife. It was a very busy Saturday night and on some weekends up to 100 youth frequent the drop-in centre. It is obvious that there is a lot of camaraderie and a lot of socializing between the youth. The large meeting room, Mr. Speaker, is set up with a pool table, stereo equipment, computers and a television. It is a relaxed environment and great for getting together, talking or playing a game of pool. The Side Door program has been in operation as a non-profit society since October, 1995. It is largely run by volunteers and in-kind support. The Side Door is a place for teens to have fun and feel safe and get away from pressures. There is a policy of no alcohol and no drugs.
It is a known fact that many Yellowknife youth spend considerable amount of time on the streets. It is also recognized that the young people are one of neediest groups in our city. Their over-riding need is for rebuilding self-worth in many cases. That is not all youth, but, it is the case of many of these youths. There is a need for youth to have a safe and healthy place to meet and socialize with friends. Teenagers need a place where they are accepted for who they are. The Side Door is such a place. It provides a centre for youth to come and participate in youth-centred programming. It provides a safe, friendly place for teens. It provides positive, healthy, caring role-models for youth who might otherwise have none. It provides a place to develop valuable life-skills.
The Side Door has one full-time staff person. Kevin Laframboise was responsible for setting up the Side Door program and continues to be the program's youth worker. I commend him for his dedicated work and recognize the support of the Anglican Church, which provides the program with a meeting place. The government often spends its time and social program dollars on interventions geared to treating problems. Correctional programs, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, counselling, health care and income support. The side door is a program that serves to prevent behaviors that may otherwise later require costly interventions. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.