New youth centre building in Dawson City. It is a one-story building, in spite of the historical front making it appear much taller than it is. (Wayne Potoroka/Submitted)

By Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Published Nov 12, 2021

A new youth centre has opened in Dawson City.

The new Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in centre is welcoming Dawsonites between 12 and 25 years of age. The centre aims to provide a steady and reliable location for youth to connect to positive life choices and develop a sense of belonging in the community.

It took a concerted effort by many to have this project happen. Roberta Joseph, Chief of Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, “acknowledges all who contributed to the planning and development of the centre and achieving this milestone, including funders, staff, youth and contractors.”

The building is called K’äjit-in Zho which means “teenager house” or “young people house.”

The project was carefully layered as a full partnership between governments after a youth-led call for a new building in 2018. The old building that the youth used was condemned in 2016 due to asbestos, and organizers watched as the numbers of participating youth plummeted, as the centre was forced to move between different rented spaces.

With the completion of a new building, those days are over. The building was specifically designed as a youth centre with over 3,000 sq. ft., and is centrally located between Princess and Queen Street on 2nd Ave.

Joint federal, territorial, and First Nations funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program supported the design and construction of the new building.

The Government of Canada provided $1,458,750, the Government of Yukon provided $486,250 and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation provided $50,000 in funding towards the project.

The building opened just in time for winter. This winter there will be a safe space with warmth, light and activities for Dawson City youth.

This item is reprinted with permission from Yukon News. See article HERE.

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