Cyrus Centre gives kids without a home an option

Before Cyrus Centre Chilliwack opened its doors on Monday morning, staff were filling out the intake application for the first teen.

Les Talvio

Les Talvio

Before Cyrus Centre Chilliwack opened its doors for the first time on Monday morning, staff were filling out the intake application at 8:30 a.m. for the first person to stay in the beautifully renovated youth shelter.

It was young homeless teen who did not have home as an option.

“That speaks to the need right there,” said Les Talvio, executive director of Cyrus Centre,  as he thanked the many partners and supporters in the community that worked in tandem to make the project happen.

The Spirit of Our Communities youth group drummed and sang a traditional Sto:lo song to welcome everyone. Talvio acknowledged being on traditional Sto:lo territory, and that the youth group had been involved in the planning of the youth-oriented facility.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cyrus Centre Chilliwack was at the Wellington Avenue site, and drew dignitaries from almost every level of government, as well as service providers and a big crowd of clapping community members.

“We’re going to be providing services for youth and families now 365 days of the year,” he said.

Emergency youth shelter services, will include four beds, a resource centre, advocacy, referrals, laundry and more.

“We couldn’t have done this without the support of the community; the support of the city” and more, he said.

Todd Lueck, city outreach pastor at City Life Church led the dedication prayer and said a few words. The creation of the Cyrus Centre is seen as cause for “hope,” he said, and he wants to envision great things for its residents.

“I don’t want it to be just a place where we feed young people who are hungry or need a place to sleep,” Lueck said. “I want it to be a place where we believe that some of society’s most neglected and forgotten will one day be part of changing their world.

“I want it to be a place where they can be better; that they can be amazing; that they don’t just have to just survive but they can be people who thrive in our community and in our nation, and they can change the world around them.”

Mayor Sharon Gaetz also had praise for the core aim of Cyrus Centre which is to “restore” family members to each other, or if that can’t happen, allow them to “live in grace.”

“This is a proud day for City of Chilliwack,” said Mayor Gaetz about the ribbon-cutting. She noted that Chilliwack’s overall homeless counts have “gone way, way down,” compared to past years, but 44 per cent of the last homeless count total were youth, which is a concern that will be addressed by the new facility.

After the ribbon cutting, Adam Bush walked up to one of the city councillors at the ribbon-cutting and reached out to shake his hand, reminding him they’d gone to high school together.

Bush is a resident of The Village on School Street, a Chilliwack facility that helps those who are homeless or at risk to get off the streets.

He told Coun. Jason Lum that he’d been following his political career.

“I really felt I needed to come by to show support for such a great cause,” Bush explained about attending the Cyrus Centre opening.

“Helping our youth to find resources and have safe place so they can grow and develop is so important.

“Having a support network changed my life. It’s given me a sense of self worth, knowing that even when times are rough I can get through.”

Bush is 32 now, and doing much better since moving into The Village. He is feeling stronger than he’s ever felt before and is acquiring new skills.

“I was homeless from the time I was 16. I’ve lived in tents; hotels; I’ve couch surfed. When I didn’t have stable work, it was because I didn’t have stable housing.”

A safe and stable environment makes all the difference – something Bush can personally attest to.

“This will offer a safe and pleasant place for youth to stay. They can find coping skills that will help them succeed.  In order to be productive, you have to have a place to relax and rest.”

What if Cyrus Centre had been around when he was a homeless teen?

“I thought about that a lot,” Bush replied quietly. “It’s why I came out today to be here. A lot of anxiety and depression could have been avoided if I knew I had a safe place like this.

“This would have given me the skills that I’m learning at the Village. Not much is holding me back now. I’m able to move forward and do things on my own.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read