The Downsview Youth Covenant (DYC): Our mission is to meet the important need for affirmation of our youth by providing them with guidance, positive role models and activities that will enhance their lives. The organization was established in 1997 by the Church of St. Stephen, Downsview. DYC became a registered Charitable organization on February 10, 2010.
The program is based at the Church of St. Stephen, Downsview. It’s core funders are FaithWorks for their Ongoing operations and the Canada Summer Jobs for their summer camp.
Where we serve: The Downsview Community is a highly populated newcomer immigrant community of African, Caribbean, and other ethnic groups. The immediate area of the program is a very transient group. However, while the community is rich in many resources, there is a high rate of families living below the poverty line with parents working two and three jobs for survival. Additionally, there is not enough free programming to support the needs of children and youth.
What we do: Our program aims to:
- Address the issues of concern in the lives of youth in the area (primarily those between the ages of 5 to 25).
- Meet the important need for affirmation of our young people who seek guidance. Positive role models and activities which will enhance their lives.
- Promote sound, and healthy relationships between young people and adults, and among young people themselves, enabling them to learn from and support one another.
- Support, educate and inform youth on issues of justice, peace, service and community.
- Provide Leaders in Training through our programs; and youth employment and LIT opportunities for youth 15-25 through our six-week Summer Camp.
How we do it:
a. Provide a safe place for young people to meet
b. Provide a safe place where students can get help with their homework
c. Allow for artistic expression through drama, dance and visual art activities
d. Organize activities that will allow youth to contribute to the enhancement of their neighborhoods
e. Allow for recreational expressions through swimming, skating and table tennis
f. Advocate for youth in situations which require such action Network with schools, the broader community, churches, community centres and agencies.
About our Program:
The Homework Club (an Afterschool enrichment program) is held Monday to Friday 4-6 pm. Children get help with their English, French and Math homework , computer skills and gain valuable skills. The practice of healthy eating skills is an integral part of the program. The program is managed with 1.5 staff and volunteers from the community, and high school students. Robotics and Table Tennis is currently on hold.
Camps: Two camps, March Break and Noah’s Art Summer camp are held annually. The summer camp has operated successfully for twenty years. The camps are open to children aged 5 to 12. The current capacity for the summer camp is between 35- 45 youth, and the camp staff is funded through the Canada Summer Jobs Program.
Teen Group-Boyz to Men: This group allows youth 13-18 to meet and be mentored by older youth who are in university or working. It allows the youth to share and work through similar issues with healthy role models. It is our hope to implement a girls’ group in the coming fiscal.
New Program: Scholarship Fund. DYC will will be launching their Inaugural Scholarship Fund, on November 24,2018. There is need for the program to establish a Scholarship fund which will provide small scholarships to our LITs as they move on to their post-secondary studies. Recognizing that the majority of our youth are from low-income families. Continuing to help them as they advance in their studies.
DYC’s Success: DYC has been successful in helping the children in our programs to succeed in their studies and move on to post-secondary studies at college or university level. Between 90-95 % of our students go on to post-secondary studies, and when they complete their studies, they find meaningful employment and continue to be involved in their communities. It is our goal that 100% of our students will have the opportunity to move onto post-secondary education.
Some individuals who participated in the program at its inception are now sending their children to the Afterschool program if they need support.