Michael Coteau: Facebook
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Toronto, July 28 (Canadian-Media): 25 locally developed mentorship initiatives in priority communities, including the Greater Toronto (Toronto and its adjoining cities) and Hamilton Area, Ottawa and Windsor are being supported by a new mentorship program being launched by Ontario to build confidence and develop skills in Black children and youth in school and work, a news release said.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism announced a new program ‘Together We Can’ earlier this week at Alexandra Park Community Centre in Toronto to help improve the futures of Black community.
“Together We Can is a great example of an on-the-ground solution to help improve the futures of Black children, youth and their families. Partnering with local community organizations to provide mentorship opportunities specifically for Black children and youth will help them build the skills and connect them with the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Coteau, said the release.
Over the next four years Onatrio would be investmenting $9 million, continued the release, for mentorship programs.
These mentorship programs, which are part of ‘Together We Can’, are being designed with the help of an external implementation steering committee which comprises youth, leaders and experts from the Black community, as well as from community engagement sessions' feedbacks.
Four mentorship programs are already in development and will be delivered by: by the African-Canadian Coalition of Community Organizations in the Regent Park and Alexandra Park community in Toronto, NIA Centre for the Arts in the Vaughan area, Tropicana Community Services in Scarborough, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, in partnership with the Black Community Advisory Council in Peel Region.
‘Together We Can’ is part of the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, with a $47 million commitment for four years and aims to help reduce inequalities for more than 10,000 Black children, youth and families in Ontario, said the release.
Ontario Black Youth Action Plan in alignment with ‘A Better Way Forward: Ontario's 3-Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan’ was announced in February 2017 to reduce race-based disparities.
After this four-year's $47 million plan is fully developed, it will support nearly 10,800 Black children and their families annually in their education, employment and decision making processes.
More than 25 engagement sessions on the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan, the release said, have been held in 13 communities across the province since May of this year and these sessions will continue throughout the summer.
“Very early in my artistic journey, when I was coming up, there were very limited opportunities (financial or otherwise) for young black artists to make the arts a viable career choice. With the support of MCYS via the Ontario Black Youth Action Plan I'm confident, experiences like mine will be the exception and not the rule. I've made it my purpose to make a difference for the next generation, and so too has the Province of Ontario,” said Dwayne Dixon, Executive Director, Nia Centre for the Arts, the release said.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)