The Rotary Club of Oak Bay has donated $40,000 for the Youth Centre in the Neighbourhood Learning Centre of the new Oak Bay High School.
“We’ve always been involved in the Oak Bay community and for years a priority for us has been youth,” club president Heather Aked said during the club’s presentation to Janet Welham, sports coordinator of Oak Bay Recreation Centre. Having previously worked with Recreation Oak Bay on the current Teen Centre, “really this is just a continuation of that support.”
Funds will help outfit the centre with a full kitchen, new furnishings and equipment for the centre that will also provide space for activities such as the school’s Interact club, Foodsafe courses and cooking classes.
The impact of the grant goes far beyond simple purchases, however.
“I think it builds community so it’s invaluable from that perspective,” Aked said. “I hope we see people who otherwise wouldn’t be involved in the community make their way to the learning centre. The hope is that it brings the community together.”
The new centre will replace the existing Teen Centre, in the double-wide trailer on the school grounds. The trailer will be donated to the Government House Foundation’s “Right to Read Program,” to be refitted then transported to a First Nation community in Nanaimo and converted into a library.
Oak Bay Rotary raised the funds over three years through events such as the Tuscan and Mardi Gras evenings at the Monterey Centre.
“I think what’s really important is because it’s going into the new school – the community learning centre – it has that feeling of freshness to it,” said Dr. Jim Force, past-president and chair of the club’s Youth Services Committee.
Oak Bay Rotary, a relatively small club with about 60 members, is part of the global humanitarian organization with more than 1.2 million members in over 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries.