Emery Collegiate Institute Grade 12 student Samuel Samad has a plan for the next few years. He will enter York University in September to pursue either criminology or political science. Then it’s on to the Royal Military College of Canada that provides programs and courses of higher education and professional development to meet the needs of the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence.
Samad is among several young people in the Jane & Finch and Black Creek communities who are part of a youth enterprise network initiative designed to provide a comprehensive set of supports to equip youth entrepreneurs with the tools, networks and qualifications needed to succeed.
He is a part-time sales associate at the Ascend Youth Store where he also makes T-shirts for sale.
“This is an opportunity to secure some business knowledge,” said Samad who was introduced to the centre by his twin sister Sarah who also works there. “It’s also giving me some working knowledge that I will need when I am finished with school.”
As part of the training program, the young people are equipped with financial literacy and management, business planning, public relations and marketing, networking and life skills. At the end of this process, they are offered a space in the Trillium-supported store located at2350 Weston Rd.to design, showcase and sell their products.
“The store supports the youths by being a central distribution place for them,” said project co-ordinator Jacqui St. Kitts-Myers. “ It’s also a resource space where workshops, networking events and mentoring takes place and it’s also used as a training space for those interested in gaining employment in retail.”
St. Basil-the-Great Grade 11 student Elizabeth Konadu joined the program two months ago.
“I am into fashion and design, so this is a perfect fit for me to come up with T-shirts with my designs,” said Konadu who intends to study psychology in university.
About 18 young people are currently in the program.