Staff at a centre for at-risk youth in Edmonton says a break-in and theft at the centre is traumatic for the young people who use its services.

The iHuman Youth Society was broken into and vandalized on Friday night.

Employees spent the weekend assessing the damage and determining what items were stolen.

Catherine Broomfield, executive director for iHuman, said on Monday that a number of computers with months worth of art and music created by youth were taken during the break-in.

“Any artist who has ever lost any piece of work that they’ve been working on or someone who has had an idea or lost it, knows what it’s like when you’ve created something you think is very powerful and you lose that and you have no record of that except the memories,” Broomfield said.

“For some of the youth I think it will be traumatic to learn that they’ve lost the work.”

Broomfield said it’s still too early to determine whether the break-in and theft was targeted or a random act. She says it was unexpected.

“It was a regular Friday, youth coming and going, our different programming groups going out into the community doing activities, so it's certainly unexpected,” she said.

But the centre is staying positive, and says they’re hopeful they can bounce back.

“iHuman is a family and when things happen in a family, families hold together,” she said.

“We will be able to get some new equipment. They’ll be able to get back into the studio to start recording and use this as inspiration for new songs, new pieces and get out and let people hear the music and not keep it on the computer, I guess that’s one of the upside.”

Although police say it’s too early to determine whether the break-in was targeted, at least one youth who uses the centre, believes the culprits had to be very familiar with iHuman.

Dejay Cardinal says he’s upset iHuman was broken into and computers were stolen.

“I feel so disrespected by this,” Cardinal said. “It’s such a low blow.”

Alcohol and drugs used to be a theme in Cardinal’s life, but now he uses music to keep him focused.

Some of that music – recorded at iHuman – stolen after the break-in, but he says he won’t let it stop him.

“To me, it’s like my escape, it’s my vent,” he said. “It’s what I do best.”

There are approximately 500 youth registered with the centre.

Broomfield says as many as 60 young Edmontonians use iHuman’s services each day.

With files from Jeff Harrington