Glen Grunwald's Board Blog

Archive of the blog of the former President and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Youth ONE Revival

Six months ago, our Board of Trade set out to do something that has apparently never been done before – to try to lead the whole business community in reaching out to young people in vulnerable neighbourhoods. Our Youth ONE initiative officially expired last Friday, September 1, but the challenges facing these young people, and the impact on our city, are just too important. We can’t give up now.

So, we're announcing today that we're going to continue Youth ONE as an ongoing effort to encourage Toronto businesses to provide hope and opportunity to the youth who need it most.

We’ve learned a lot in these six months, including how generous the business community can be, how important a symbol of hope and open doors can be in the more depressed parts of our city, and how much education needs to be done about the plight of Toronto youth in those vulnerable areas. The most important thing for people to understand is that these young people are not ‘at risk’ – they are good kids in bad situations, they are equal citizens of Toronto, and they make great employees.

Young people who do not have all the advantages tend to deeply appreciate their opportunities. They bring just the kind of eager, gung-hot attitude that our Members are always saying they want in their employees. Every time a business connects with the City’s Youth Employment Partnerships (YEP) program to hire one of these qualified youth, that’s a victory. It’s another young person removed from temptation and frustration, and given hope and a way forward.

Whether employers contact YEP directly at 416 397 JOBS or go through our Youth ONE website, they are keeping the doors of opportunity open for Toronto youth and helping build up our neighbourhoods, one job at a time.

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