Buzz grows around The Hive – Bonnyville’s new youth center

A dedicated team of community groups, led by the Primary Care Network, have worked hard to bring an exciting concept to life for young people in Bonnyville and surrounding areas and are about to open the doors!

The aim of “The Hive” is to integrate health and social services in a youth-friendly environment. Through partnerships with existing agencies and businesses in the communities and easy access to these essential resources in one center, all of the needs of young people can be met with compassion and collaboration.

Named “The Hive” for the positive energy and social nature of the space and located on Main Street (in the former location of Thinkwerx), students and community partners visualized how to create the perfect new space while organizing funding partners to provide
their ideas to life.

“It was an exciting but challenging time bringing this idea to life during the pandemic, but we know our community and our children need access to this kind of space, so we persevered to make it happen. Outside of sports venues and schools, what safe space do our children have in this community to be together? In addition to the social aspect, if they are not comfortable or do not know how to access mental health or the help of a doctor, La Ruche will be a place where they are welcomed and supported” , shared Chantal Vallée, IP President of La Ruche Organizing Committee.

With the support of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Bonnyville FCSS, Northern Lights, Ecole des Beau Lacs and Lakeland Catholic School Divisions, Dragonfly Counseling and Support Center as well as premier sponsors such as Lakeland Coop, Ross + Sylvestre CA, SureShot
Wireline, S&T Energy Services and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd, the support is very strong and the momentum is building.

“We have created a structure with community partners that provides sustainability and accountability for the space and programming for young people,” says Jesse Stein, executive director of the Primary Care Network. “Setting up The Hive is essential for longevity, not just for
our donors to see their support have a significant impact, but for our children; they need to know they can rely on The Hive and that it will be there when they need it.

The space is currently being renovated under the direction of a volunteer interior designer and the Youth Advisory Group. According to Grade 11 student Zoe MacLellan, “We’ve spent the last two years talking, planning and developing this idea. We are so excited to see it come to life!

The start of summer should see the doors of La Ruche open to young people between the ages of 14 and 21, an often underserved age group in this community. Taking into account school enrollment and local census figures, organizers estimate they can impact 25% of this group, or nearly 350 young people at The Hive.

Open late morning until evening seven days a week, The Hive will offer youth-specific programming based on the “six dimensions of well-being”; Physical, emotional, professional, social, spiritual and intellectual. Using the six dimensions as a guide for planning activities and resources, we seek partners to provide our young people with opportunities to be fully involved in their health.

Activities can include exercise classes, painting, resume writing, cooking, financial literacy, volunteering and more. Services will include access to counselling, nurse practitioner, legal services and other professional services.

With a website and social media already launched, The Hive is building awareness and progressing towards opening day in the next two months “There are so many opportunities to engage with this exciting addition to Bonnyville” shares Kendra Krankowsky, Mental
Health Navigator and Steering Committee Member of The Hive.

La Ruche is currently looking for donations and sponsorships in three categories of support: monetary, material and direction of activities or services.

La Ruche will be developed in two phases and will include unique features and spaces as directed by the Youth Advisory Committee. The first phase will include a cafe, computer lab and clinical health offices that will also house the Child and Youth Mental Health Center.
Health program.

The second phase will include a fitness-focused layout, kitchen and an additional youth lounge.

Check out www.thehivelakeland.ca and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Please contact Aimie Kathan, Youth Coordinator at 587-201-2528 for more information on how you can participate in the opening of this great new space for Bonnyville youth!

About the author