Shouters Youth Entrepreneurship Program
Positive Change, Life Experience in Scarborough
Patrick Connors – Toronto: Right in the heart of Scarborough, closely bordered by the Dorset Park and Eglinton East-Kennedy Park Priority Neighbourhoods, there is a beacon of hope which is furthering the lives of young people and making a difference in the community.
For many young people, the lack of suitable employment only intensifies the predicament they encounter. In order to address these issues the Shouters Youth Entrepeneurial Skills Development Program has developed an initiative aimed at alleviating barriers to youths aged 17 to 24.
The current fiscal environment demands understanding of the changing dynamics of the job market. Some people within the community, specifically young people, now face uncertainty and many barriers.
The project is designed for less advantaged youth already committed to creating their own business, and with providing the basic skills to start a business. Youths selected will be based on an assessment process and assignment ideas.
By building self esteem through responsibility this program encourages the development of skills necessary for successful employment opportunities. Additionally, the program also creates the avenue for positive role modeling and mentoring.
In order to achieve the aforementioned goal youths must be guided and motivated to achieve the success they deserve.
The duration of the program is 42 weeks in which eight youths will complete the project.
“I’ve been here since February,” said Coleen Brown. “It means a lot to me and the direction that I want to go in. Puts it in perspective to be on the right path. I want to own my own residential cleaning business. I tried to before but didn’t really know what I was doing. Now I have it registered, and a business plan. The program has put me on the right track.
“I appreciate everything they do at Shouters for me. If not for Archbishop Seiveright and the staff I wouldn’t have gotten the assistance I needed.
“My business is called ASAP Clean-Up. There is a lot of work getting it incorporated. But I am almost done. I’m waiting for the design of my business cards to come back, and I’m looking to start up this month.
“I now know I am able to do anything I want. This was a push in the right direction. If I focus on my goal then I can achieve it.
“Reason I came is to be a better person, to make myself somebody,” Kevin Ishmael said. “I’m pushing myself to get to my goal.
“My business name is Father and Son Painting Service. I can’t say how happy I am. Words can’t say how I feel. My whole family is proud of me. Before I felt like people were looking down on me.
“Before I would work sometimes, volunteering at times. Painting service is my passion, it’s what I know.
“This program has actually changed my life. When you have intentions, this program shows you the right way to get there.
“After we’re gone, I hope other students get the chance we have. I tell people I know you don’t have to sell drugs, or use a gun, to get where you want to go. As long as I have faith in myself, then I can achieve anything I want.”
During our conversation, Archbishop Dr. Deloris Seiveright, the founder of Shouters, showed me pictures of past graduating classes, and tells me in detail what each person is doing. While she concedes that some youths do fall through the cracks, the vast majority of graduates work in their field of choice, and many run their own businesses.
“Youths are very happy for the opportunity. For some it’s better to get business training then to go to school.”
Past graduate Jameila Thane runs JT Caribbean Restaurant, which specializes in Jamaican style dishes at reasonable prices, offering meal selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They provide customers with prompt and high quality home cooked meals, serviced in a friendly and courteous manner. JT caters for small social event and private parties.
“Jameila is an awesome person,” said Archbishop Seiveright. “She came for her goal. She came with an expectation to change her life and her career and she has done that. She keeps in touch all the time. She was here (last Thursday), she comes in on off days. She is an example of what the program can accomplish. She gives these other young entrepreneurs somebody to look up to.”
While the program is held at a church, she has a mandate to, “Keep community and spiritual aspects separate unless they ask otherwise.
“This program is run in conjunction with Service Canada of the Federal Government. They work with us, monitor reports, our students, and finances. Done on a very professional but also a community level. They regularly interact with us, and will attend the graduation on Saturday, November 5. We couldn’t do it without Service Canada.”
Shouters is located just south of St Clair Avenue, right between Birchmount and Warden.
The address is 63 Mack Ave, Unit 9 & 10, Scarborough, ON, M1L 1M5.
Phone: 416-686-1433 or 1-877-264-5153
Shouters Youth Entrepreneurship Program webpage: http://www.SYEP.ca
Archbishop Dr. Deloris Seiveright and everyone at Shouters indeed practice what they preach. They live their Mission & Vision, which is, in part: “To positively change the lives of others while providing guidance for families and youth through workshops and lectures; educate and empower youth through organized programs; provide guidance and self-esteem to families and youth.”
In the interest of political correctness, there is a movement to scrap the term “Priority Neighbourhoods.” If this happens, it will not change the reality in which many people are living. Now, more than ever, there is a greater need for this kind of project to show youths a better tomorrow.
Coleen Brown, Kevin Ishmael, Jameila Thane, and indeed almost everyone who enters through their doors are a living testament to the success of the program and the value it provides.