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Cool Aid Society
Cool Aid Society
Helping youth reach new horizons.
Drop-in centres offering friendship, guidance and support to youth in grades 1 to 12 in the city of Grande Prairie and area.
There is a need for youth to have opportunities to participate in healthy leisure activities that are positive alternatives to risky behaviours and help to build resiliency.
There is a need for youth to have information about a variety of social issues and appropriate referrals to services.
There is a need for youth to have a location, relatively independent of other structured influences, where their own decisions primarily affect outcomes.
To provide a variety of activities to youth in grades 1 to 12.
To provide an opportunity for youth to build protective factors that help increase their resiliency.
To encourage positive relationships between youth, parents, the community and society.
To act as a liaison between youth and existing agencies and services.
To provide public education about youth related issues and concerns.
Cool Aid Society has been operating since 1979 as a youth drop-in the city of Grande Prairie. When it originally opened Cool Aid Society was meeting the needs of teens, ages 13 to 17, which were on the street with no place to go. This was during one of Grande Prairie’s boom where teens had been displaced because parents had come to Grande Prairie to work. The youth workers offered friendship, assistance and were a liaison with community agencies. When the economy slowed down, the staff found themselves dealing with youths facing difficult situations at home. A need for a permanent location, where the youth could meet, was identified and in 1980 the first Cool Aid Society Center was established as a not-for-profit society. Approximately ten years later the doors were opened wider to include children, ages 6 to 12. At this time there was an increasing number of latch key children and Cool Aid started offering after school programs for these children. In 2010 a second center was opened in response to a need in the community for more out-of-school programs for children in grades 1 to 6. Today Cool Aid Society has two youth drop-in Centers, Hillside and South Side, where activities are provided to youth in grades 1 to 12 through its out-of-school, tween, teen and summer programs. The programs offer structured and unstructured activities in areas such as physical activities, crafts and games to mention only a few, which are alternatives to risky activities.
Since its beginning all of the programs are offered free of charge and open to all youth of the appropriate ages. Cool Aid Society has always and continues to focus on prevention activities and the reduction of risky behaviours. The Centers provide recreational activities, education on social issues, and referrals to appropriate services. Cool Aid Society strives to increase the youths’ protective skills and reduction their risky behaviours in a safe and fun environment.