A new volunteer-based program that looks to create a safe space for men and youth is set to open in Grande Prairie.

Grande Prairie Shoulder to Shoulder Garage is a peer-lead program that works towards engaging men and boys by creating a safe, nonjudgmental space where they can work together on projects, connect and interact with positive community leaders. Head Organizer Rob Ostrom says the idea came off the back of a similar start-up in 2019 called Men’s Shed.

“We were sitting down through COVID, with not much to do… and we kinda wanted to go a little more industrial with it, so we wanted to build larger things on a larger scale, with helping people who come in who may not know how to do that.”

Space will allow for those interested to get involved in micro-projects, which will include construction skills, carpentry skills, with the aim of then taking those skills forward with them in life.

Ostrom says since he was young, he has given his time to help others, including volunteering for youth sports. He adds he and his fellow volunteers feel this is a great way to give back to the community as a whole.

“This is something I’m passionate about, so we just figured this would be a great space for guys who aren’t working, or for young people who didn’t have anything to do, we would have a safe place for them to come.”

Set to open September 19th at the Grande Prairie Community Village, Ostrom says they’re still looking for material supplies to help make the launch as successful as can be. Specifically, they’re in need of any old or underused toolsets or timber. Anyone who wishes to donate can reach out via social media on the Grande Prairie Shoulder to Shoulder Garage Facebook page.