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New space for teen victims aims to improve outcomes

The Lloydminster Sexual Assault & Information Centre has received an upgrade. The centre received a donation from Coldwell Banker City Side Realty, the 100+ Women Who Care and the Rotary Club of Lloydminster to deck out the centre’s teen space.

Thanks to local organizations, the centre’s space for youth now has a number of welcoming features. A television and gaming system, video games and movies, gaming chairs, a candy bar, movie curtains and popcorn machine are all present to help teens feel comfortable while working through trauma. The space is meant to help youth who are having trouble dealing with their trauma to check out a little and relax.

Heather Sinfield of the LSAIC says a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere helps a lot with the work that they do. While assessing some of the centre’s needs she says they found the need for a youth space.

“Not so kid-friendly, but not so adult as well, right? So that in between,” says Sinfield. She says the renovations were funded by the Rotary Club, while the TV and game system were donated by City Side Realty. Sinfield says the three donations all help teens check-out for a bit and get comfortable.

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“So, if they’ve had a tough session or they’re nervous going into their first session with their worker, if they’re going through court and just met with their crown prosecutor, or the RCMP or something like that, they have a space to curl up in a chair, play video games, watch a movie, have a snack, wrap up with a blanket, journal. Kind of just that little bit of time, just for them.”

Sinfield says that it can be really challenging for survivors to face the experience they’ve had and tell their story. Survivors often feel unsafe in the environment. Sinfield says that a space designed to help reduce stress and anxiety while people face their trauma.

The LSAIC hopes that a calm and welcoming environment will help improve outcomes for youth victims accessing services and make it more likely they’ll continue to access services. Sinfield says she and the rest of the LSAIC are very thankful for the community’s support and the recognition at how important a space like this is.

“I’ve been here for a long time, so to be able to see the support being shown, and even just the fact that our community is embracing that this is taking place, these services are available, the important need to support and go above and beyond with a teen and kiddo specific space, those kind of things. It’s really wonderful to see.”

City Side Realty is happy to support the LSAIC. Jennifer Gilbert says she and others from their group attended an event by the 100+ Women Who Care and heard the centre ask for kitchen appliances. While they had that taken care of, Gilbert says they were happy to find other ways to help support the centre’s goals.

“Being able to tour the facility that they have here in Lloydminster, it just gives me goosebumps thinking about what an amazing space they have for people who have to deal with things like that,” says Gilbert.

Gilbert admits that it’s often hard to get many on the same team when it comes to finding something to support. Those at City Side Realty felt impassioned by how the centre supports victims in the community and value the services it provides. Gilbert adds that the work that’s gone into the space shows the dedication the centre has to ensure they provide quality services.

“I worked in that building when it was City Hall, and it does not even have any dynamic to what the space used to be. It’s amazing, and I encourage anybody to call them and go do a walkthrough for themselves and see and feel the comfort that’s in that space. We want to help them with that.”

The centre has a large service region for Lloydminster and surrounding communities. Gilbert says City Side Realty is happy to continue supporting the centre in future initiatives.

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