Youth Programs collaborating on new Red Lake Senior Center
RED LAKE – The Red Lake Elderly Nutrition Program will have a new home by late summer of this year, in the new Red Lake Senior Center.
During the week of June 21, YouthBuild and AmeriCorps members from Red Lake, Leech Lake, Central Lakes Minnesota Jobs and Training, Arrow Head YouthBuild from Virginia, Minnesota, Bemidji Bi-CAP Program, and YouthWorks volunteers from Texas and Colorado, were united for a joint renovation effort in what will become the new Red Lake Senior Center. Other partners in this project are Red Lake Gaming Enterprises Incorporated, the Red Lake Nation College, and the Red Lake TERO Program.
Led by Red Lake YouthBuild/AmeriCorps Programs, the youth groups came together on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, where they had a meet-and-greet session, toured the Red Lake Humanities Center and the Red Lake ENP, and started the renovation project, which was to completely renovate what was once the Red Lake Casino located in the Humanities Center.
“When the Chairman put this all together and had us be a part of it,” Garnet Mountain, Director of YouthBuild in Red Lake said on Wednesday, June 21st at the site, “in lieu of going outside and having to pay contractors to come in and do all the work—and a lot of the work has been done. We’ve been working for over a month prepping the site and getting all the walls prepared. This is kind of a final push for the interior part.”
Mountain said that instead of being paid for that work, what Seven Clans Casino did for the YouthBuild/AmeriCorp training program in Red Lake, was furnish their carpentry shop with new modern and high quality equipment for their shop.
One new piece of equipment was an industrial grade cabinet saw from Acme Tools out of Bemidji, with patented safety technology. This saw detects when an accident is about to happen and instantly drops the blade to prevent serious injury—like losing a finger.
“We’re going to work most of the day, but a lot of what we’re trying to do, besides build a Senior Center, is build relationships,” Mountain said. “And especially focusing on youth and youth training; what youth does to help communities, which can be demonstrated by the YouthBuild programs that are here, YouthWorks and the AmeriCorp Program.”
Brian Lussier, Director of the Red Lake TERO Program, said they had a chance to do something unique as a tribe, which was to bring all the partners together to do this project.
“This is how we take our young people and put them into the workforce; get them trained,” Lussier said.
Lussier stated to the young people there, that what matters most was to listen to the instructors, be on time, get the job done.
The YouthBuild Program in Red Lake is a wing of the Red Lake Nation College which started about 5 years ago.
Steve StandingCloud, Academic Dean for the Red Lake College, said they have been working with the YouthBuild Program with the intention of receiving YouthBuild graduates into the higher education program so they can go on to receive a two or four year degree. The college was also trying to receive vocational accreditation for construction programs.
Once YouthBuild participants graduate from the program, they are eligible to enroll in college-level classes with the Red Lake College.
The new Red Lake Senior Center will have a newly equipped commercial kitchen, a larger dining area, and a new fitness center on the ground floor. The fitness center will feature a variety of fitness equipment that has been donated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and offices and storage on the second floor.