Removing the Boundaries for Children and Youth
Overview:Allow us to introduce you to Traci; a young girl living in one of Toronto’s identified priority neighborhoods. Traci is currently in grade 2 and loves to read. Unfortunately, her reading levels are below grade average. She often goes to school hungry and irritable as a result of restless nights. In the morning she walks to school with her older brother Jared; who just started grade 9. Jared is responsible in the mornings, for both Traci and their younger brother Alex who is 3. Their routine is far from organized and they often arrive to school late, as a result of waking up late and playing around along their morning route. The absence of their father has really taken a toll on Jared. His grades have slipped and he has begun to model a life of risky behaviors, similar to those of his father’s past. As a single mother, mom tries her best to provide for her children, but her wages reflect the lack of a post-secondary education.
We have just painted one of the real life circumstances, that many children and youth, (but not limited to) living in Toronto Community Housing and priority neighborhoods face. Within our field of work, we have personally worked with many Traci’s and Jared’s and as a result, we are committed to reaching out to those in need of support in similar situations by targeting the gaps within current mentoring based initiatives that the city has to offer.
We are two young women passionate about the movement of mentoring and its sustainability as a result we have created a non-profit agency called “In-Your-City Children and Youth Services”, geared towards impacting the lives of children and youth and empowering them to make a conscious change within their personal lives and community. One being a Teacher and the other a Sociologist, the disciplines and areas of studies reflect the tools associated with the passion we have for change. Our objective is to have a mentoring based program designed to support the needs of the children and youth living within Toronto Community Housing communities.
We want to create a mentoring prevention-intervention program, that will address common issues within 2 out of the 13 priority neighbourhoods, identified by the United Way, those being Eglinton East/ Kennedy Park and Scarborough Village.
The focus of the program will be on providing children between the ages of 4-14 with youth and adult mentors that will work with them to provide support and increase knowledge in areas such as education, health and nutrition, active living and leadership. While working from a Strength Based Approach, mentors will focus on the Child/Youths strengths as the key component in the mentoring relationship, this focus will help to promote positivity and growth within the relationships
The program will strive to achieve the following Key objectives:
-Support Children and youth in choosing to maintain a healthy active lifestyle
-Enhance competence, confidence, self-esteem and awareness.
-Establish a healthy relationship between an adult and a child/youth
-Enhance academic readiness and constructive use of time. -Support active participation in community involvement and personal ownership.
How your votes will make a difference:
With the support of your votes, if awarded this grant, we will be able to hire 4 paid staff, recruit volunteers, children/youth and build partnerships within 2 out of the 13 priority neighborhoods within the first year. Post the year, we endeavor to fundraise and to seek out donations and sponsors that will support the vision that we have for communities that are in need of programming. This will result in expanding the work within more of identified priority communities, which will lead to supporting the growth of the individuals, families and the community as a whole.
Due to the sustainability and the methodology behind the work of the agency and the mentoring moment on a whole, the foundation would have been laid for the participants and families to apply the resources and teachings gained in order to support a continuous movement of mentorship. The active need for mentorship within a community is timeless and by introducing the concepts of the mentoring and building upon the developmental assets at such a young age, we will foster the desire and awareness of mentoring as a tool in a child’s/youth development, while acknowledging the need to enhance the assets in a child/youth life.
As a result of their involvement, volunteers will have the opportunity to give back to the community and engage in a reciprocal learning experience through a mentoring relationship.Staff will be able to provide quality programming to help children and youth in identified priority neighbourhoods reach their full potential.