Published May 28, 2018 20:07
Things are heating up in the Ryerson Boys and Girls Club with the grand opening of a new $30,000 kitchen.
The club, located at 10 Ryerson Ave., recently celebrated its new galley, which was completely funded by goeasy, a financial services company. In 10 years, the company hopes to provide functioning kitchens in all 100 Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
The former canteen space in the South Winnipeg Community Centre’s Ryerson Clubhouse was completely gutted and outfitted with new cabinets, counters, backsplash, rangehood, and appliances.
Allison Drummond, manager of the Ryerson Boys and Girls Club, said the condition of the former canteen wasn’t standing up to the wear and tear of preparing 900 meals and snacks for kids each month.
"Everything was outdated," Drummond said. "The paint was old, and there wasn’t enough storage for running a five day a week program. The counter tops were really awful... they were painted over which works really well when you’re in only once in a while, but for us, with daily use, the paint would start to chip off."
The upgrade gives kids who attend club a sense of belonging, Drummond said.
"It shows them that people believe in them and want to invest in them, and that they deserve a beautiful functional space to come into," she said.
The Boys and Girls Club moved into the clubhouse about three years ago after they were forced to move out of the neighbouring Ryerson School, where they had run programs for 17 years.
"As the population in the south end has been rapidly growing, a lot of the kids were coming to school here, which meant they needed the space for school rooms," Drummond said.
The Boys and Girls Club looked for a nearby site and inquired about the Ryerson Clubhouse.
Drummond said it was rarely used during the course of a year and was opened for folks to warm up in after skating the outdoor rinks or to accommodate seasonal soccer programs.
The club struck up a deal with the community centre and now welcomes between 80 and 100 kids through the doors daily for after school programs.
"This is the best of both worlds," Drummond said. "Kids can walk here right afterwards, so we couldn’t ask for a closer space, but we still get to use the school gym as well."
With the new kitchen up and running, Drummond says they will be able to enhance their programs and provide more opportunities for kids and teens to get hands on in the kitchen.
"On a regular basis our kids love to cook," she said. "For the kick off event last week, we had eight kids from Grades 4 to 6 who were making cookies, five of whom had never made cookies in their life.
"They love being in the kitchen as much as they can."