EDITOR’S NOTE: The original version of this story said the facility opened in 2008 when it had actually opened in 2018. Global News regrets the error.
A southeast Calgary youth centre that provided programs for about 70 kids has been forced to close down.
The Cornerstone Youth Centre opened its doors in Albert Park in 2018.
It offered a variety of free after-school programs in art, music, sports, tutoring, health and wellness, and mentoring. Many also used the centre for breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
According to Cornerstone executive director Jeff Gray, the need for these services in the Albert Park area is dire.
“The youth we work with, Grade 6 to 9, is the same age range for Calgary’s average age for recruiting gangs and prostitution,” Gray said.
“This area is surrounded by a high volume of that. These kids here are at risk that if they’re not getting their needs met, they’ll find adverse ways to go and meet those needs.”
The building the youth centre occupied is owned by the city but run by the local community association. The association now wants to use the building for other purposes.
Cornerstone had been paying monthly utilities but cannot afford to rent the space.
Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, whose ward includes Albert Park, expressed disappointment when he learned of the centre’s closure.
“Obviously, it’s a bad piece of news because their Albert Park/Radisson Heights location has demonstrated huge need in the community for the kind of services Cornerstone provides,” Carra stated.
“It’s simply and totally a funding crunch issue.
“My call-out to the community is if there’s anyone who’s willing to step in and help us provide stable funding for this very much-needed not-for-profit working with youth in east Calgary, please do.”
Cornerstone will continue to run programs at its Mayland Heights location. It has committed to providing bus tickets for kids who used to go to the Alberta Park centre to get to the northeast location. The round-trip bus ride would take about an hour.