The Ontario government has launched a new mentorship program for Black children and youth.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism announced the new program – Together We Can – at Alexandra Park Community Centre in Toronto yesterday.
Coteau said that through Together We Can, up to 21 mentorship initiatives will receive funding to deliver programs in priority communities in Ontario, including the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa and Windsor.
He noted that these programs will provide Black children and youth with the opportunity to connect with mentors, build their confidence, and develop skills in different areas in their life such as school, work and in their community.
Together We Can is part of the Ontario Youth Action Plan, a four-year $47-million commitment to help reduce disparities for more than 10,000 Black children, youth and families in communities across Ontario.
” This is the single largest investment into ensuring the success and bright futures of Black children and youth in this province’s history, ” Coteau said.
Already, four programs are being developed through Together We Can.
One of the first agencies that has been selected through the program is the African Canadian Coalition of Community Organizations which will help connect youth with mentors to develop skills in areas such as communication, conflict management and leadership training.
Coteau announced that the application process for the Together We Can program is now open and forms are available.
Coteau also reported that since last May, over 25 “engagement sessions” on the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan have been held in 13 communities across the province and that they will continue throughout the summer.
In Toronto 23 per cent of Black students become ” early leavers” of high school as compared to 12 per of white students and black youth across the province are unemployed at nearly two times the provincial rate.