40 Hours and Beyond
October 26, 2012
Between 100 - 1,000
Our Mission…The 40 Hours and Beyond program strives to help disadvantaged teens, namely new immigrants, in the Steeles – L’Amoreaux region by helping them get connected with mentors from the Gibson Centre and to help connect them to the Canadian volunteering opportunities, making sure they have a good start in their journey.
Risk Factors in Our Community…According to the City of Toronto, the Steeles – L’Amoreaux area has been listed as a priority area as of 2006. Approximately 21.8% of the households in this area fall under the low-income bracket after-tax. Almost 20% of the population are lone parent or single-parent families. Over 20% of the population has only received a high school certificate or equivalent. Over 47.2% of the population belong to a visible minority group and are of Chinese descendant. The City of Toronto tells us that most priority areas exhibit a higher number of visible minorities in the population. http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1228496--scarborough-shooting-aftermath-it-s-time-to-get-serious-about-stopping-gun-violence
Research shows us that youth that are brought up in single-parent families and impoverished families face a higher risk of falling into delinquency and making poor life decisions when they grow older. Youth from such families are statistically likely to have poor school performance and attendance; a real or perceived lack of employment and career opportunities; face the negative influence of peer pressure and the lack of positive community based supports that push these youth to make choices that negatively influence their future employment and economic success; and a of lack of integration and coordination between youth serving systems, including the public school system to support academic achievement and future career opportunities. The World Health Organization tells us that improving daily living conditions is instrumental in reducing health inequities. To live as a new immigrant in an impoverished community prevents these teens from reaching their full potential. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/finalreport/closethegap_how/en/index1.html
IMPACT:As of 2012, the Gibson Centre has been in preparation of programs for at-risk youth in the Steeles-L’Amoreaux area. In one of our pilot programs that provided teens with employment experiences, we were able to reach out and form partnerships with local high schools and various employers in our community. Our Assistance Community Centre Program Director has also been sharing at high schools, and other conferences educating them on the importance of mentorship in the lives of these teens.
What we provide?
- Volunteer opportunities by connecting to different not-for-profit organizations to fulfil the Ontario school graduation requirement of 40 hours of community volunteering.
- Personality and ability tests to teens, so that they would understand themselves better.
- Mentor-mentee sessions in groups to build confidence.
- A Creative Career Development Path to each participant/ student
- Real work observation day, to bring the teen to work so that they would have a real sense of what a Canadian job environment is and what it takes to get into the job market
- A mentor for each teenager to act as guidance and role model.
LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS: Why Mentoring?Among evaluated programs, mentoring has been proven to be a successful method in helping disadvantaged youth. Mentorship provides a stable relationship where an older, more experienced individual can instil morals and values related to building of character for the youth. We attempted a similar program in the past year where high school students were presented with employment opportunities and were paired with mentors that provided these youth with emotional stability and support. Students provided positive feedback towards the program.
Yuan (16 years-old) shares this about her mentor: “She taught me to be more confident and positive about life and school”.
SUSTAINABILITY: Where will Our Funding Go?Funding will go towards promotion of the program including publication, website promotion, handbooks and manuals, attending community events, media coverage, school visits and public service announcements. We hope that through the promotion, this program will be able to reach out to more teens in the area and also help create lasting partnerships with community agencies and organizations alike. Moreover, the funding also goes towards a total of 50 hours in training/workshops for the mentors to ensure that mentors and students alike will benefit out of this mentorship program. Funding will also cover the cost of obtaining police checks for the mentors. In order to facilitate this program, we also require coordination and administrative assistance and through the funding we hope to hire 1 program coordinator and 1 administrative assistant. We plan to work on a business case to look for additional funding after 2013 from other potential funders.
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