Educational Engagement

School Support Download Pamphlet

 

The School Support Program- is a community based intervention program designed to assist youth who are in conflict with the law and are experiencing an array of difficulties that are barriers to acquiring or maintaining an educational placement. Many live in unstructured family environments with high levels of social-economic disadvantages. As a result many of these young people demonstrate negative responses stemming often from dysfunctional homes and parenting environments.

Furthermore, issues such as truancy, substance abuse, gang involvement, homelessness, criminalized behaviors and mental/emotional/ physical health concerns are significant factors that impact their education. The program is designed with the premise that while youth need to be accountable for their behavior, they may also require assistance in developing life skills to help them assume a positive role in the community.

                Quote from youth:

“I would like to apologize for my behavior last school year. I know that EGADZ program is just there to help people and I wish I would have taken better advantage of what you guys had to offer. Your program kept me out of jail for almost a whole year” (HB)

 

The objective of the School Support Program is to provide the most inclusive support and assistance to the youth, family/guardian, community youth worker and school staff in facilitating school success. As a result of increased support, supervision and inclusion of the youth in their case plan, the opportunity to decrease the risk of breakdown of school/home placement has proven effective.

Staff provide youth with support for legal issues by transporting and attending court, lawyer’s appointments and probation reporting. Further supports include visits and calls to the home and school, providing in school crisis interventions and suspensions, and support such as wake up calls, transportation to school, parent visits, and one- on-ones with youth. Staff also attends case conferences, contact workers, make outside agency referrals such as Mental Health, Addiction Services, detox and/or treatment, and personal counseling.

Quote from youth:

“I made the basketball team: Thanks but I was going to ask if you could give me a ride to my first game on Tuesday?  Hahah thanks! it just made school more fun but okay, when you guys start work program again you should let me know, I’d like to do that again in the summer” (D.B.)

 

Youth continue to be involved in program during extended school breaks and the summer months. The summer portion of the program provides structured programming that includes life skills, field trips, recreation, community awareness, physical education and camping. This provides consistency and structure in their lives and has proven to be very beneficial upon their return to school the following year.

Youth are picked up each day by staff ensuring a nutritious breakfast, relationship building and attend their educational placement. This approach offers consistency and structure in a young person’s life that has demonstrated to be beneficial upon their return to school.

The most significant impact the program has on the community is the resource it provides to the youth to empower them into a successful educational experience. With support to the youth, school systems, families and the justice system there is a decrease in school placement breakdown. Through consistent daily contact with the youth, their workers, caregivers and the schools, youth are more probable to be held accountable for their negative behaviors and encouraged for their positive work. These components are essential to assist youth to improve and maintain their education. 

The School Support Program is financially supported through the Ministry of Justice and is able to accommodate twelve individual youth between the ages of 12 and 17 at any given time throughout the year.

 

 

Day Support Download Pamphlet

 

The Day Support Program- is a community based intervention program for youth in conflict with the law. Additionally, the youth have lost their whole or partial existing educational placement and require an alternative avenue to stabilize as a means to re-integrate into an appropriate educational placement. The program is designed with the premise that while youth need to be accountable for their behavior, they may also require assistance in developing life skills to help them assume a positive role in the community.

 

            A quote written by a past youth on her Facebook page:

            “I am going to be extremely honest right now when I saw this program saved my life. I will never forget where I came from. It’s nice to see their final report and recognize the people they served last year- they actually made a difference in so many people’s   lives….”

 

The objective of the Day Program is to provide community based programming through Education, Life Skills, Cultural Awareness, Community Programming, and Employment Opportunities. The main objective of the program is to increase social stabilization then assist youth to reintegrate into an appropriate educational or employment placement. This is done by reducing risk factors related to reoffending by providing intensive supervision that reduces recidivism and empowers positive behavioral change.

 

    Quote from youth:

 “I loved the program and I think it was a good step in life for me, I am so glad I got to meet the staff and you of course, made me feel like there is more to life other than being in my own life, I feel very lucky to have got the chance and open up about like with you guys and the staff there spot on.” (j.b)

 

Youth are supported through daily contact with staff who provide wake up calls, breakfast/lunches, transportation, parent/home visits, one on one’s with youth, daily contact with their workers, attend case conferences and medical support. Staff advocate for youth by making outside agency referrals such as Mental Health, Addiction Services, detox and/or treatment and personal counseling.

            A text from a family member:

            “Thank you, you have no idea how much she needs this program….. For herself”

The Day Program is supported through the Ministry of Justice and is able to accommodate twelve individual youth between the ages of 12 and 17 at any given time throughout the calendar year.

During the summer months the program shifts to an employment and recreational structured programs that expose youth to positive alternatives that they may seek to gravitate to and continue on within their community. The summer component of the program provides youth with support, structure and stability that lends towards a more successful transition for them when re-entering an appropriate educational placement in their new school year.

Youth acquire work experience during the summer months through an Employment Training Program and gain real life work experience in their personal lives that teaches the expectations of the work force.

Youth are provided with a variety of activities and experiences through sporting, recreation, fieldtrips, swimming, water skiing, bowling, BBQs and a camping trip, all of which lends towards creating positive experiences and opportunities.

In keeping true to our Random Acts of Kindness, once a week the youth plan out what they will do to try and make someone else’s life a little bit brighter. The youth did such things as handing out flowers to strangers, purchasing breakfast and coffees, handing out mitts and blankets, or popsicles on a hot day. The youth enjoy these experiences and find the insight to selflessness and generosity.

The most significant impact the Day Support Program has on the community is the resource it provides to youth in conflict with the law who are not in school and need stabilization in a supervised setting.   This prepares them to re-enter an educational or employment placement. Youth involved in the program participate actively within their community in a positive manner through volunteer work, random acts of kindness, school work and skills training.  The Day Support Program works diligently at educating the community by breaking down barriers caused by preconceptions of hard to serve youth.  Having youth involved in their community, clearing walks, assisting seniors in care homes, and volunteering at the animal shelter, show that these young persons, given the opportunity, want to contribute and connect with their community.  The phone calls and the positive comments from seniors and volunteer placements show that the outcomes are significant in the young person’s life and benefit to the community.

 

 

 

    Quote from youth:

“I like EGADZ because of what they do for youth. They take them to the movies, mini golf and other stuff. Youth should be thankful for what EGADZ is doing, should be thankful for them being here. Personally I would never know where I’d be without them.”

 

 

Employment Training Project

For over twenty years the Employment Training Program has empowered and encouraged many youth to be employable contributing members of society. Hope, perseverance and drive from those youth have empowered and encouraged us to create a program that works for them. Those opportunities and programs are rare for our youth. The stigma attached to youth involved in the Justice system is a hard obstacle to overcome, yet year after year we have at risk youth coming to us wanting an opportunity to escape poverty, gangs and criminogenic lifestyles. For the most part youth are told to “get a job” or “just leave your gang.” Those are not the answers EGADZ gives. EGADZ believes in creating opportunity for our youth so that escape from poverty or gangs can become a reality. Help us in creating opportunity for our youth to work and experience life in a positive environment. Everyone benefits in the end.

Introduction

Since 1995 the EGADZ Employment Training Program has partnered with community members to provide summer employment for youth participants. Previous partners such as the Farm School, Columbus Bosco Homes and All Green Recycling have opened their doors to create opportunity for youth participants who have current justice involvement. Over the last few years the Dave Deplaedt Foundation has partnered with EGADZ providing a 5 acre parcel of land where youth have been able to learn employable skills while building a campground for other youth to enjoy. Without the help of various outside funders this program would not be possible. However, strong outcomes, reduced recidivism and support from community agencies is beginning to change negative ideologies surrounding youth  involved with the justice system  that are “at risk”  that youth don’t want to work. This is far from the truth and their contributions to their community and economy can be seen with the success of the training program. Participants are required to have a Social Insurance Number, resume, Young Readiness Work Certificate if under sixteen and have to go through the interview process. They were employees and contributing dollars back into the economy, paying taxes and becoming positive role models within their community.

Thanks to the generosity of the Dave Depaedt Foundation and a shared vision with EGADZ that all youth need a safe and healthy environment to achieve growth .We have gone from an empty parcel of land to a working camp with a cook house, bunk house, flush toilets and showers. In addition to the building structures there are many different activities. Physical activities include a volleyball rec area, baseball diamond, and soccer field.  Stand up paddleboards; kayaks and a canoe to create fun on the water. Arts and crafts, movie nights, walks, sitting around the camp fire and going to the beach are some of the many planned activities that go on at Camp. Over the years youth participants in the Training Program have played an important role in building up this camp and more importantly it has played an integral part in shaping new ideologies, building self-esteem and creating a place to give other youth an opportunity for healing and growth.

Quote from youth:

            “I thought the program was pretty chill. You get to chill at the lake and observe life while            you work. If EGADZ could somehow push some of the at risk older youth to take part in          the program, or even some of the younger youth I think it would give them a sense of           pride and accomplishment because they earned their money the hard way. The way I see           it, most of them see EGADZ as a punishment, or even an embarrassment. If you could             establish that EGADZ is nothing more than a place to build your life rather than destroy           it more of the “at risk” youth would accept it. Last year when I attended the Day     Program I thought of it as a punishment rather than a place that lends a hand. This year helped me look at EGADZ in a different way and I felt good about working.”A.S.

Training

The Employment training program is designed to teach youth the realities of employment. This includes the accumulation of identification, resume writing, acquiring bank accounts, interview process, job training, safety training, young worker readiness course, time sheets and the rights of workers and where to go to find their rights if needed.

The youth are given a safety training manual that contains all the necessary information during the training. The training begins with information about how to prevent injuries and what type of safety equipment the youth would be required to wear during various tasks. Workplace behaviour and expectations are also taught to the youth to prevent injuries. Youth are taught how to properly lift, not slip/trip/fall, ladder safety, riding lawn mower safety, push lawn mower safety, chainsaws and string trimmer safety. The classroom training provides the youth with an understanding of the dangers and common injuries that may occur while using the various equipment. The training also provides the youth with the correct procedures and form for each piece of equipment and how the use of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) can prevent these injuries. 

The job site training occurred after the classroom training is completed and the youth have signed their program training form. During the job site training the youth learned the classroom training in a hands-on manner and practice using the equipment before they began working. A major component of the jobsite training was the use of the correct PPE for each piece of equipment. Proper safety protocol is important and youth are required to perform tasks in a safe manner. The youth fill out a sheet and the end of every work day with the PPE they wore that day as well as the hours they worked. Youth also undergo continuous job site training throughout the summer when new situations occurred that required new tools. All these skills are valuable as they are transferable for other employment opportunities.

Quote from youth:

            It felt good to have a job with EGADZ because it gave me the confidence and        understanding of what it’s like to have a job. Also, they taught me how to make a resume,     get a Social Insurance number and open a bank account-S.L.

Barriers

Youth involved in programming have many employment barriers such as transportation, work clothing, food and other needs most employers cannot help with. Removing these barriers has proved to be beneficial, saving the government and taxpayers the financial responsibility of housing youth in prison. Instead, youth are putting dollars back into the community and are working hard to become contributing members of society. Youth participants are picked up in the morning and are provided with a small breakfast before the hour drive to work. When on the worksite all youth are provided with steel toe boots, reflective clothing, gloves and other protective clothing. Also youth are provided a lunch and transportation home at the end of the work day. However, one of the biggest differences is having a patient qualified instructor who has experience working with hard to serve youth. The hour long drive to and from work has been important in building relationships and creates an open dialogue where youth can express frustrations, concerns and have some good laughs. Without removing these barriers and creating relationships the Employment Training Program would not be successful.

 

Quote from youth:

“Work program is awesome, like they give you a job and you get money for it. It’s hard to find a job and these days, honestly I don’t know what I’d be doing if summer work program wasn’t here. “

 

First Avenue Campus Download Pamphlet

 

First Avenue Campus (FAC) - is a short term transitional classroom developed to support youth involved in the Justice system. The goal of the program is to support youth through the process of both behavioral stabilization and the further development of skills necessary for school success. The classroom provides a continuum of services to meet the complex needs of youth by providing a seamless transition from custody or Day Program to a quality educational program. This is accomplished by teaching a variety of skills including social, literacy, and mathematics in a comfortable educational setting. Each student is given an individualized curriculum that best fits the individual student to prepare them for future education experiences

                Letter from a youth;

            Thank you for the letting me have the opportunity to try get my math credit. I enjoyed learning from you. I like the way you teach because you explain things so I can understand how to solve the question.”

 

 First Avenue Campus recognizes the transformative power of education and self-improvement. The youth that come to be involved with FAC face a multitude of factors which are barriers to school and community engagement. Issues such as: truancy, substance abuse, gang involvement, homelessness, criminalized behaviors as well as mental/emotional/and physical health concerns. The flexibility of a full or half day school schedule has allowed for individual transition plans that suit each student’s needs. Many youth have been away from a regular school routine for several months or years. Once they become accustomed to the confines and routine of a classroom, they are often ready to advocate for themselves to attend school full-time. By involving the youth in the plan and giving them ample opportunity to discuss goals, they begin to acknowledge how their positive actions impact their progress in school.

First Avenue Campus (FAC) is a partnership between the Separate and Public School systems, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education. Program funding has come from the Education in Custody grant.