The old medical center on Spring Street may be providing services to the community once again if SAFE San Juans and the Family Resource Center’s plans come through.
“I got tired of talking about the same problems, and not doing anything,” said Kim Bryan, who invited other social service providers to brainstorm solutions.
Bryan, who is the executive director of SAFE San Juans formally known as Domestic Assault and Sexual Assault Services, said the problems were outlined in the San Juan Island Community Foundation’s 2015 critical needs report. Affordable housing, a social services center, and youth center were all top critical needs.
According to Bryan, one way to fix the issues is to create a new youth center, a co-located social service center, as well as 14 -20 affordable housing units. On Oct. 23, from 2-4 p.m. at the old medical center, the public was invited to see what Bryan and her co-planners hope will become a real solution. To address co-located services, the Family Resource Center will move into front area of the building, which will be remodeled to have meeting rooms and a large play room. The back of the building will become “The COVE Carlson Youth Center.”
Ron Carlson was a major contributor to the idea of a youth center who passed away suddenly. It seemed fitting to pay tribute to him, Bryan said.
COVE stands for Community, Opportunity, Vision, and Empowerment, and is one of the most exciting aspects of the project for the planners. Besides including a safe hang out space with a game room for teens, plans include a fitness area with a climbing wall, commuter lab, and music studio with a recording room. Vocational internships will be offered, as well as career counseling.
A youth task force has helped design the center, giving the teens ownership of it.
“It has been so exciting watching these kids come up with ideas,” Bryan said.
Crisis advocacy services and youth focused mental health options will be part of SAFE San Juans programs as well. The building will be remodeled to have an upstairs, where SAFE San Juans will have their offices.
“Once this project gets going, it will be self sustaining,” Bryan said, “we won’t be going back to the community again and again for hand-outs.”
She explained that there will be a revenue stream coming from renting out a few office spaces, a community kitchen and meeting room, and from the long term affordable housing units that they are hoping to build on the property behind the building. This project requires a great deal of funding. SAFE San Juans now has through January to come up with the $970,000 needed to acquire the building.
“We have $45,000 earnest money, and many people are interested in helping out with this project. Now is the time,” said Bryan, adding that people can contribute monthly.
“It’s going to take all of us to make this happen,” she said
For more info, call 378-8680 or visit SAFEsj.org.