WINNIPEG -- For the last 45 years, Winnipeg youth have been able to access a safe space at Rossbrook House, and the centre has managed to keep the doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations manager Warren Goulet told CTV News they keep the doors open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“It’s not like I come to work every day, it’s something that I come to and enjoy the younger people. And to see them joyous and taking advantage of our programs and activities,” said Goulet.

Goulet said activities like pool, hanging out with friends, playing video games, and a space for school work are available at Rossbrook.

rossbrook house

(CTV News Photo Rachel CrowSpreadingWings)

Goulet said before the pandemic, there was even a music room for youth to practise their instruments or play drums.

“It’s a home away from home for a lot of our younger people,” he said.

It was in 1976 that Sister Geraldine MacNamara and a group of youth workers, including Goulet, first opened up.

And now, it has become generational.

“I think it’s about the fifth generation now and it’s wonderful to see children of past attendees and it’s nice to see continued support in them attending. It really speaks to what we do,” he said. “If we can get them young enough, then chances are they are going to be here for the long term.”

He told CTV News as he fought back tears that Sister MacNamara was a guide and a hero. She showed him a different life and always believed in him.

“She’s very dear in my heart,” said Goulet.

She was there at his darkest times and showed unconditional love, something Goulet hopes to keep giving to the people who use Rossbrook.

“Anytime they are here, they are safe and not out in the destructiveness of the streets,” he said. “I don’t fix people, I build relationships. And when I build relationships, I build trust, and then wonderful things just happen out of osmosis and that’s the beauty.”  

Rossbrook House

(CTV News Photo Rachel CrowSpreadingWings)