Noah is such a regular at Foundry Terrace, he’s often mistaken as part of the staff. In fact, many affectionately call him the unofficial welcoming committee.
After school you can usually find him leading or participating in one of the centre’s youth groups, which is a big change from how he felt and behaved three years ago.
“I started going to Foundry in the spring of 2020. At the time I was very heavily bullied, I was an anxious mess and I was in the closet, which was really difficult. I wanted a nice safe space to make friends and feel welcome, where there was less stigma against mental illness, and Foundry really provided that for me,” he says.
As Noah became more comfortable in the space he accessed more of Foundry’s services, including the nurse practitioner, clinical counselling, peer counselling and more. He’s also had a front-row seat to the growth of other youth using the space.
“One person started coming in early 2022. They didn’t talk to many people, kept to themselves, came to groups but didn’t participate very much. Now they’ve really come out of their shell, really let us get to know them and allowed them to get to know us. We’re good friends now.”
The need for bigger, purpose-built space
Outside of school, which can be a challenging social environment for many of us, youth in Terrace and the surrounding area don’t have many safe places where they can go to feel connected, accepted and cared for. Since Foundry Terrace opened its doors its popularity has grown, and Noah says the need for a bigger space is obvious.
“One of the main limitations of our current space is that we don’t have enough room to host as many people as we’d like in one room. We could definitely use a bigger kitchen, too. We regularly use it to do baking and cooking for groups, to store snacks, and to make quick meals for youth who come in hungry after school. It’s a pretty high traffic area that right now only fits about three people comfortably,” he says.
With so many essential health services offered in a relatively small space, finding privacy can also be difficult. For these and other reasons, Terrace & District Community Services Society (TDCSS) is currently fundraising to build a new space for Foundry Terrace, with more room for services, group activities, and visiting community partners. The new space was designed with input from Noah and other youth along with staff and service providers, and the plan is to build it right next door to the current space at 101-3219 Eby St.
“I was looking for somewhere to be accepted, and Foundry provided that,” Noah says.
Community members are welcome to visit the interim Foundry Terrace site at 101-3219 Eby St. to better understand the program’s current successes and future needs, and find out more about the new build.
Visit https://tdcss.ca/foundry to donate!