Children and Youth Services Center receives funding, set to finish next year

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SPOKANE, Wash. — An empty parking lot in the West Central neighborhood will soon be transformed into the brand new Children and Youth Services Center.

Open for everyone, it will house the growing population of Native American youth and families in the Inland Northwest. Construction on the building is set to begin very soon.

Currently, the NATIVE project is very busy, with people walking in and out of the doors utilizing their services.

“It gets crowded especially during the summer program since we’ll have the health center on one side, and the kids that just came out of sports and swimming in the side next door,” said Dylan Dressler, clinic director of the NATIVE project.

To get a little bit more space, Dressler says they needed a building just for the kids.

“Our American Indian and Alaskan Native population almost doubled in 10 years according to the 2020 census, so we needed a larger facility for our children and youth serving programs,” Dressler said.

Once it’s built, the center can hold up to 2,400 people. The $6 million project has been delayed by funding, but  $300,000 was just approved by Spokane County on Tuesday.

Helen Goodteacher and her daughter Solana can’t wait for the new facility.

“When we moved up from Spokane, my daughter and I, who’s a teenager, we really felt it was important to find community,” Goodteacher said. “By building this youth center, it will provide opportunity and find a place for gathering for kids and be a place to call home when maybe home’s not the place they want to be.”

The coolest part: Solana was among the youth that helped design the facility.

“She’ll be more prone to taking part in community activism, leadership, and different parts of contributing to the Spokane area.”

The Children and Youth Services Center is planned to be fully built by next September.