On Tuesday June 11th 2013, Hands of a Hero Foundation successfully launched and facilitated its second GTA-based youth initiative – the All About Me Youth Program. Unlike their Valentine Mentorship Dinner which is directed towards young girls, ages 14 to 18, All About Me is more inclusive as the program is extended to both male and female participants and can also cater to older youth and young adults. Developed and implemented by HOHF’s own Director of Youth Development, Rochelle Mairs, All About Me is a series of workshops that focuses on youth from a personal perspective, dealing with subject matter surrounding “the self” such as: self-love, self-confidence, self-esteem, self image and self-expression. All of which raise a healthy sense of self-awareness and self identity. Other aspects of the program include leadership, as well as business and social etiquette – all facilitated using an active, hands-on and artistic approach.
The program was first taken to Eva’s Phoenix*, a youth shelter for homeless and at-risk youth, located Downtown Toronto. Alongside Mairs, All About Me was facilitated by fellow HOHF director, Nana Yeboah. The dynamic duo delivered what was originally an eight-week program as a condensed four-week “crash course.” With snacks provided weekly and icebreakers to introduce themselves and the youth, they hoped and anticipated a great connection with their first group. Using methodologies such as group discussions, interactive group activities, journaling, meditation and visual arts, Mairs and Yeboah engaged their 10 participants – the majority of which were boys, to their surprise. While some days were heavy in terms of subject matter, the facilitators often managed to “lighten” the mood and keep the youth entertained.
The deeply pondered questions, positive responses to workshop content and the rapport built with the youth all made for a successful program. Overall, the experience was both enlightening and satisfying to Mairs and Yeboah, as well as the youth involved. Lives were touched indefinitely – they were somebody’s hero. For every helping hand is a hero in a child’s life – no matter the age.
* Eva’s Phoenix provides housing for 50 youth, aged 16 to 24 years, for up to a full year, and since 2002 has also allowed up to 160 youth each year, aged 16 to 29 years, to participate in its employment and pre-apprenticeship programs. Working with business, labour and community partners, Eva’s Phoenix provides homeless and at-risk youth with the opportunities needed to develop life skills, build careers and live independently.
For more info, contact Eva’s Phoenix: