As a participant in the Family Life Centre Skills Link Employment program, Nathaniel Rookwood acquired useful job and photography skills that enabled him to secure employment with SNAP Newspaper Group Inc.
Last Sunday, the Scarborough East teen returned to Word of Truth Christian Centre (WTCC), which administers the program, with his camera to record the federal government’s ongoing investment in the six-month initiative that helps immigrants and unemployed Canadian youth obtain useful career information, develop skills, find suitable jobs and remain employed.
Boasting an 80 per cent success rate, the initiative has helped turn around the lives of many young people.
Corneliu Chisu, the Member of Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, announced that the Durham-based centre will receive $302,000.
“Your work is so important because even at the best of times it’s hard for a young person to break into the job market, and the economic downturn didn’t help,” said Chisu. “This is why we work with organizations like yours so that young people can get all the skills they need to enter and succeed in the job market. In today’s environment, it’s important that more young people get all the skills they need because they are our future.”
WTCC founder, Bishop Rev. Joseph Fisher, who was instrumental in the creation of the Family Life Community Resource Centre through which the Skills Link program was launched seven years ago, thanked the government for investing in young people.
“We do not take the partnership we have with the government lightly,” he said. “We consider it a great honour that the government would entrust us with taxpayers’ money and allow us to manage it knowing that it would be used for the purpose for which it’s intended. The Skills Link program has proven to be successful in helping the youth of the Durham area rediscover themselves, gain employment and become positive contributors to the community at large.”
Most of the funding will be used to pay the new batch of 24 participants and four staff members.
In addition to the Skills Link program, the faith-based centre employs four high school students for the summer and five young people to teach seniors computer skills.
“Our youths have challenges and it’s up to us to help them reach their potential,” said Fisher. “The sky is the limit and we will continue to urge them to reach for the sky and never ever settle for mediocrity.”
Three of the four summer employment students – Jemeica Parry and Choniece Cyrus of Pickering High School and Diana Maraj of Pine Ridge Secondary School – attended last Sunday’s service.
This is the first summer job for the 15-year-old Grade 11 students.
“This is a good experience for all of us,” said Parry.
Prior to becoming a pastor, Fisher dabbled in politics in his native Guyana, serving as region chair for Kitty for the People’s National Congress (PNC) party. After migrating four decades ago, he worshipped at several community churches, including Malvern Christian Assembly before joining Revivaltime Tabernacle World Wide Ministries in 1985 where he served as the Worship Leader and Minister of Evangelism.
Fisher left Revivaltime in 2000 to start Word of Truth which has an active membership of about 500.