BY TERRY NOWAK
Cresteramics is hosting our Youth Summer Program again this year. You will soon be seeing a group of teens working, learning and having fun throughout our community. These teens will be supported and led by Cresteramics staff who have a whole summer of activities planned for them. This is our fourth year to offer this program, which is popular with the youth and their families.
In the past we have painted murals and been part of the Creston Farmers’ Market, produced tie-dyed clothing to sell, investigated our future employment opportunities, and checked out our community to learn about the resources it holds for us as adults. We have contributed to Creston during our summers by lending a hand at the library, working in the community garden and helping out at the college greenhouse. Last year we decorated and painted ‘Buddy Benches’ which were given to four local elementary schools. These ‘Buddy Benches’ are a mechanism used by many schools to encourage inclusion and friendliness, things we all want.
Our theme for this summer focuses on being safe in all kinds of situations including cyber safety, water safety, kitchen and personal safety. The staff assigned to the summer program is trained in these areas and will bring in local specialists to help. Families of the youth are part of the program planning and have met with the summer staff. Thanks to the school staff who also help to make this project successful.
Cresteramics runs this valuable program but couldn’t do it without the financial assistance of many contributors. Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program Area B and C, the Town of Creston, Creston Valley Gleaners, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 29 and The BC Ministry of Child and Family Development all understand the value of this program and support it. The young people involved learn that their community accepts and supports them and they learn how to give back.
Cresteramics has also received funds from Kootenay Community Foundation to replace the large windows at the front of our building. This grant will mean that our utility bills will be lower in the winter and the rooms more comfortable in the summer. This is not the first time Creston Kootenay Foundation has helped us make improvements to our building and we appreciate their commitment to us and our community. Again, we would not be able to do these things without the support we receive from those who believe in the value of service providers like Cresteramics.