The grass is greener over at Dorie's House.

That's because they recently had the opportunity to have their backyard renovated with new grass, new fencing and a whole new addition.

These changes allow them to more openly offer engagements and activities outdoors, giving their residents a space to exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and relax.

Rebecca Donnelly, executive director for Dorie's House, explains the benefits in more detail.

"Recreation is such a great way to develop healthy ways of coping and learning," said Donnelly. "As well as maintaining new life skills and really finding interests that the youth carry with them and lead them into adulthood."

A big part of this project was purchasing the available land next door back in the winter. That allowed them to plot out this expansion and renovation that has blossomed into a whole new green space for guests and residents to enjoy.

Dorie's House Backyard with toolsSome equipment from the work being done.

A big player in that purchase and the decision-making process behind every step of the journey was the President of the Board of Directors of the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter (Dorie's House), Shaun Hanna.

"We know [the yard] really is coming with a multipurpose and flexible space that we're going to be able to use for our program," said Hanna. "In the future, should the building need to expand, it's kind of a natural way of going north if we were able to expand the actual physical building."

It's not often that the chance appears to expand property in a downtown area, so this was an amazing stroke of luck that they quickly made good use of. Their partners in the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) made everything possible by providing the funding necessary for the purchase and the renovations.

The renovations include not only an expanded green space, but a section of the hardtop that can be used for a half court, skate activities, and other various hard surface fun.

They also aren't entirely done, with the option still open to include additional developments in the future.

"We're currently in talks with some landscape architects to do, potentially, some indigenous cultural space out there," added Hanna.

This project took a tremendous amount of effort, a large portion of which goes not only to the board members, staff and volunteers but also to Steve's Excavating in Swift Current, who did the initial tearing down, and Speedy Creek Home & Yard Maintenance who did all the work from laying the sod to redoing the fence.  

Dorie's House is going to be celebrating a year, which is a big deal as they provide so many wonderful services for youth in the community. While they are a crisis and youth emergency service centre, they are also a staple of the community here in Swift Current. These upgrades to their outdoor space are a huge boost to their ability to provide comfort to anyone seeking their services.

"Every day we're having lifesaving interventions," said Hanna. "For the SHA to be you know partnering with a private organization to make this happen, and have benefit for the province is a wonderful thing and a really fantastic thing to have in Swift Current in general. I think we're the envy of the province in Swift Current, to be quite frank."