(L to R) Mike Noltie (Sidestreets Volunteer) and John Cummings, alongside volunteers from Honey Electric in Chatham.

Community steps up to help Dresden Youth Centre

When the Dresden Sidestreets Youth Centre needed help, it didn't have to look far.

Dresden Sidestreets is a non-profit charitable organization that provides free recreational programming and a drop in space for youth ages 10 to 17. Located at 175 Main Street in Dresden, the centre has been in operation since 2000 and has become a staple in the downtown community.

For many years, the organization rented out the top floor of its building, so when its top floor tenant left behind floor to ceiling items, the charity recognized it would need some help to make the space usable again.

"It was a very unfortunate situation that we were put into having to spend thousands of dollars in dumpsters to clean out the things that were left behind," Sidestreets Board Chair Lori Ouellette said. "We operate on a very tight budget and all the fundraising dollars and grants we receive are needed to operate the youth centre."

For over a year, Sidestreets volunteer Corey North and a team of volunteers have worked hard to clean the upstairs space.

“We jumped right in when we heard about the situation. The Youth Centre building has been an important hub for the community over the years so the building means a lot to us," explained North. "Helping to clean it out is our way of making sure the Youth Centre can continue to provide programming for local youth."

Also looking to help, John Cummings of Convergint Technologies, who approached the centre and wanted to get involved in its efforts. Cummings rallied other local businesses to join the efforts and spearheaded the demolition portion of the project.

“It’s great to see all these businesses and organizations coming together to do something good for an important community organization,” said Cummings.

Ouellette couldn't be more grateful for the countless hours put in by the volunteers, businesses and organizations.

"This was an overwhelming project and it is so great to see everyone coming together to help us out," she said. "We couldn’t do it without the support of our volunteers and community! Our long-term goal for the space is to get it fixed and usable so it can generate revenue to support the Youth Centre’s operations and make us self-sustainable.”

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