Jobs for Youth aids 1,100 teens

Jobs for Youth aids 1,100 teens

Jobs for Youth is helping at-risk teens. From left: Sharon Shelton, Tropicana executive director, Jenny Gumbs – Tropicana president, Tracy MacIsaac – Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, TropicanaTka Pinnock, executive director of Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, Carmen Harper Brown, director Trusted Projects, Tropicana.

Tropicana’s Jobs for Youth program, which has been providing 15 to 18-year-old with pre- and post-employment workshops, mentorship and ongoing supportive advice from a youth counselor, is yielding some positive results.

Last Monday, some 1,100 youth were commended at the closing ceremony of the summer program and 196 of them were offered ongoing part-time employment during the school year.

Funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Jobs for Youth program has been delivered by Tropicana Community Services since 2006. Unique to the program is the level of comprehensive support provided to the youth.

Kim England, manager of community relations and resource development, Tropicana Community Services, says they have been tracking the success of the participants. “Currently we have 15 staff working in the program as team leaders and youth worker leaders who are former participants. In fact, one of the supervisors of the program (Shykara Beals) started out as a participant, worked as staff during her university years and, on completion of university, joined the team as permanent staff. She was later promoted to supervisor.”

She says youth access the program from the 14 offices in the priority neighbourhoods across Toronto.

“Three youth from each site office who perform the best in areas such as providing excellent customer service, showing initiative at work, displaying leadership skills, getting to work early and not missing any work shifts are recognised at the closing ceremonies.”

“The Jobs for Youth program is helping Ontario youth gain valuable work experience and prepare them for a lifetime of success” says Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, “I’m proud that our government is investing in the potential of our young people and in the future of the province.”

Program Manager Tameika Crann-Morris says “for many of these youth, this is their first experience of work and, through the opportunity they begin to see themselves differently. This program opens their eyes to new possibilities and alternatives.”

A number of the youth expressed their delight with the program.

“I’ve really enjoyed my first job experience and will look for jobs after this with confidence and a positive attitude. The support I received from my youth worker was amazing. She was always there for us and was just a phone call away. It’s a great program to give youth experience that they can put on a resume. It was a refreshing experience. I learned, I met new people and overall had a good time.”

Bottom row l-r: Sharon Shelton- Tropicana’s Executive Director, Jenny Gumbs – Tropicana’s President, Tracy MacIsaac – Minister Children and Youth Services, Tka Pinnock – Executive Director, Herbert H. Carnegie Future Aces Foundation, Carmen Harper Brown – Director Trusteed Projects (Tropicana)