Youth drop in centre eliminates vandalism
Georgetown youth centre opened in November
A youth drop in program called Project Y is transforming the eastern P.E.I. community of Georgetown, with no vandalism or break ins since the program started.
Georgetown is a small community, with just 600 residents, but it was starting to develop big problems.
"We were just hearing that there was a lot of drug use going on with some of the kids," said program founder James Schafer.
"The day that we went in to pitch the vision for a youth centre to the town council, there was a drug dealer giving away free drugs at the elementary school. We knew that we needed to start pushing back against it."
Project Y runs every Saturday evening at Three Rivers Sportsplex. Since it started in November there have been no cases of vandalism or break ins, said Mayor Lewis Levandier, and he credits the program.
"Like most small communities there's not a whole lot going on for the kids," said Levandier.
"There's a lot of temptation out there. It's great to see the kids have a choice."
For 10-year-old Garrett O'brien, it's a safe place to play, which is something he didn't feel he had before.
"There was a lot of things happening on the streets before this, just like drinking and stuff like that. Stuff that kids shouldn't do," he said.
It's a big issue for Schafer, who is well aware of the dangers of addiction. Schafer was an addict himself. He fell into addiction after an injury after participating in the 1988 Olympics as a rower.
He's been clean for about 20 years, and he wants to prevent the children in his community from facing the same troubles he did.