Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Side Door gives teens safe place to crash

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 09/05) - Cliff Sutherland sits on a worn, blue couch at the Side Door Youth Centre with a five o'clock shadow creeping across his face -- and it's one in the afternoon.

Sutherland, a program co-ordinator, has just spent the last 15 hours at the Side Door, which earlier this month unveiled an overnight drop-in program for teenagers.

"People out there have to know they have alternatives," Sutherland said.

The centre can hold about 20 kids during the night - they usually sleep on couches - but Sutherland said if demand is high, no one will be turned away.

"If you want to curl up on a pool table - OK," he said.

The program, the first of its kind in Yellowknife, gives kids aged between 16 and 19 a safe place to spend the night, Sutherland said.

That age group fell into a supportive black hole.

Kids under 16 are the responsibility of social services and adults can go to the Salvation Army or women's centres, but there was nothing for the late teens, he said.