Thursday, May 10, 2012 was the official ICAN Lon E. Hoeye Youth Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony bringing out over 300 community members including over 60 ICAN alumni from the past 20 years, most seeing the new facility for the first time. Speakers included ICAN’s Chairwoman for the ICAN Board of Directors, Patti Bruno, City of Chandler Mayor, Jay Tibshraeny, Big Two Toyota-Scion of Chandler Owners, Chris & Caroline Hoeye, ICAN Peer Leader, Angelique, ICAN Chief Executive Officer, Becky Jackson, and ICAN founder Henry Salinas. There was even an appearance from the Phoenix Suns Gorilla. All speakers were clear about how this new facility is the next chapter to ICAN’s free youth, family, and community programs and creating a larger impact overall. ICAN Peer Leader Angelique explained how ICAN has made a difference to her, “Without ICAN, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. ICAN has helped me overcome many things and transformed me into a leader in my own community. This would not have been possible without the ICAN staff that help with everything from creating career paths and holding us accountable, to making sure I make it home safe every night.”
During the program, Henry Salinas was presented with a portrait painted by Scottie Button that will be placed in the new lobby. Henry spoke briefly and was brought to tears seeing how far ICAN has come from over 20 years ago when he started picking up youth in his car to participate in positive activities that would keep them off the streets.
After the program, everyone was invited to tour the new facility and see the ample space youth and staff will have every day, 3 times as much compared to the current facility. Recurring comments could be heard including, “I can’t believe the space here!” and “this is going to change our community!” The ICAN Lon E. Hoeye Youth Center official opens June 4 with a Family Day Event the community is invited to. Photos from the ribbon cutting can be seen on the ICAN Facebook and here are a few photo highlights: