Dresden Sidestreets Youth Center features recent renovations

Young people in North Kent will always have somewhere to go, thanks to recent renovations to the Dresden Sidestreets Youth Centre.

The non-profit organization, which has been a staple of the Dresden community for many years, now has a completely renovated facade and more space for programming.

“Sidestreets has been serving local youth for over 21 years,” Board Chair Lori Ouellette said in a press release.

“These essential renovations will allow us to continue to operate in the future.”

The organization has received funding from the Chatham-Kent Community Foundation, South Kent Wind and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent Community Improvement Plan Grant.

The exterior facelift was completed earlier this year, complete with new siding, windows and signage.

The back room, which was previously only used for storage, has also been completely renovated, giving them more space.

“Renovating the back room into a finished usable space will give us the extra space we need as we grow into the future,” Ouellette added.

The renovations also have a positive impact on nearby businesses.

“Having a more appealing street adds to the overall vibe of downtown,” Myriam Armstrong of The Hub and Spoke said in a press release.

“It was also great that the upgrades complemented not only their building, but also the style of our little stretch of downtown. The impact of their work is felt far beyond their property, and we hope these types of projects will continue in the future.

Sidestreets is also very active in the local non-profit sector, often acting as a meeting space for volunteers and community leaders outside of their regular hours.

“The Youth Center has opened its doors to other organizations such as Dresden Shines to organize Christmas
decorating and organizing organizational meetings,” said volunteer Liz Kominek, who sits on the boards of the Sidestreets Youth Center and the Dresden BIA and is co-chair of the Dresden Shines Committee.

“This recently renovated room will be an even greater asset for future projects and [the building will] continue to serve as a community hub.

Council members say these improvements are just the beginning.

They hope to raise enough funds this year to open their doors five days a week so young people can access programming any day of the week after school.

They also plan to partner with another youth-focused nonprofit later this year to host a unique experiential event in Chatham-Kent.

Sidestreets Youth Center is a meeting and socializing place for young people aged 11 to 17 from Dresden and the surrounding area.

Their mission is to provide young people with a safe and enjoyable environment where they can have opportunities to learn and grow into positive, productive and motivated young adults.

Sidestreets opened in July 2000 and operated from various rental spaces in downtown Dresden.

In 2013 Sidestreets was able to purchase its current building on Main Street in downtown Dresden.

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