With the countdown truly on towards the soon-to-be-expanded emergency youth shelter, officials with Sunrise House remain overjoyed with how close the end of the journey is. The shelter, in the Westgate area of the City of Grande Prairie, will cost $5.5 million and has been in the works since 2010.
Executive Director Tanya Wald says that knowing the build is around the corner, feels incredible.
“It’s a little overwhelming and it’s something that we have been working towards for years now. We’ve put so much time and energy into this project. It is truly a project of love. I’m beyond excited and I can’t wait to share the day with our community, funders, staff, youth, and anyone else that would like to come.”
The shelter comes with a big price tag, but Wald feels that fundraising is going well.
“We’ve raised just over $4 million and we’re looking to raise about $1.5 million more. We have a few people who are already at the table and making some decisions about how they can help. Lots of opportunities for our community to be a part of the project,” she says.
Wald has been with Sunrise House since 2010. The current building is a converted duplex so it was never designed to be a shelter.
“With it being double the size, that’s a really big thing for us. For example, we will have quiet spaces. One room will be more culturally focused, and another room could be used for meditation. That I think is going to be really important for a lot of our young people,” says Wald. “The extra space for programming, the ability to bring in more agencies, offer more services to our people, we believe we can make that much more of an impact.”
While the move is exciting for many, the current shelter will still be their home for at least 12-14 months. The organization is looking for a helping hand from the community in the form of donations.
“We’re looking for summer essentials and non-perishable food items, or grocery gift cards. Things like water bottles, sunscreen, and outdoor games. The staff and youth really love to be outside in the summer. Treats like freezies would be great as well,” she says.
“I believe that with this new facility and new opportunities, we are going to change lives for the better.”
The ceremony is set to take place on July 13th at 10:30 a.m. on the west side of 107 Avenue & 110 Street in Grande Prairie.