The Building Boys and Girls Clubs campaign aims to raise $300,000 to create a much needed Youth Centre for the community of Weston-Mount Dennis.
By doing this, we wish to provide to the high-priority youth of this community:
- “A good place to be” for youth, including a safe and inclusive environment.
- Positive opportunities for youth to address the social and economic barriers they face, so that they may strive and succeed.
- Role models who can positively influence the growth and development of the youth in this community.
The Weston-Mount Dennis Community
The Weston-Mount Dennis neighbourhood is densely populated with low income and marginalized children, youth and families, and an above-city average of recent newcomers to Canada. This community has been previously identified in Toronto as a priority neighbourhood. Youth are particularly vulnerable in this neighbourhood because of the lack of social-recreational space, support services and employment training, which unfortunately has led to one of the highest percentages of youth involved in criminal activity in the city of Toronto.
The Weston-Mount Dennis Boys and Girls Club (an operating site of the St. Alban’s BGC) has been providing services and programs in the neighbourhood since 2006. Currently, the program operates out of schools and Toronto Community Housing buildings, utilizing what little space we can find. We provide a “good place to be” for more than 180 children and youth to grow and learn, providing programs including homework assistance, mentoring, and life skills development. The Youth Centre, when built, will give youth a safe place to go, positive role models and opportunities everyday to help them thrive, and ultimately strengthen the community.
A Youth Centre for the Weston-Mount Dennis Community
An office portable building has been generously donated to us and, through funding from the Trillium Foundation, it has been moved to property near York Humber High School, which was leased to us by the Toronto District School Board. With a little TLC to the original portable, and by adding and combining 3 more portables, we will create an open-concept, 2400 square foot space for the new Youth Centre. The Youth Centre will include a community meeting space, technology centre, recording studio, dance studio, kitchen, weight area and youth lounge space.
Plans have been drawn, final approvals and building permits are under way, and construction will start in 2017. We have already raised close to $150,000 for this phase of building, and our goal is to complete construction before the summer of 2017.
Our Promise to the Youth of the Weston-Mount Dennis Community
By creating a Youth Centre, we will be building a cost-effective youth space in this isolated community. We will be able to bring proven Boys and Girls Club youth programs to the youth in the community, including the Raising the Grade (a stay-in-school mentor support program), Youth Leadership and Development, creative arts programs (including dance and music creation) and employment readiness, in a safe place and lead by trained positive role models.
By building this Youth Centre, youth will now have a safe place meet and work with positive role models and have the opportunity to develop new skills every day. Our hope is that many youth will experience the positive aspect of this new Youth Centre and make positive choices in their future.
We would like to thank the following foundations, organizations and individuals for their donations and contributions:
- The Trillium Foundation
- The McLean Foundation
- The Toronto District School Board