Youth programs held in seven locations across the Island this summer have proven to be of great value to the participants and the community.
The programs supported students heading into grades 11 and 12 by offering career direction and encouragement to make successful life choices. They were held at Westisle, Alberton, Summerside, Charlottetown, as well as Morell, and St. Peters.
East Prince Youth Development Centre sponsored the Skills Enhancement and Mentoring (SEAM) program in Summerside. Jessica Gallant, Program Coordinator, welcomed guests to the closing ceremony. “We were able to provide a wage for the youth in the program, so this was their summer job,” says Jessica.
“It was an opportunity to enhance skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication, problem solving, creativity, and time management. We achieved this through hands-on activity-based learning, volunteering, peer support, and participating in community activities.”
Participants talked about their experiences in the program
Tyson: “During the past seven weeks, I learned skills pertaining to time management, commitment and dedication, and had hands-on experience on job sites.
I worked with the City of Summerside, Venture Stables, Home Hardware, and the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside.
“I also learned about scholarships, interest rates, the time it takes to pay off a loan, and programs at Holland College and UPEI.”
Logan and Juliana did a video together which described the highlights and challenges of the program. “I liked working outside,” says Logan. “It was hot, and I thought I would fall over, but that didn’t happen. I learned courage and bravery, and the facilitators helped a lot with that.”
“Speaking in public is hard for me, but through this program I’m getting better,” says Juliana. “I also learned First Aid & CPR, which is great.”
Danny: “The program was so much more than I expected. I made new friends, and became closer to people I previously knew. I was able to expand my ideas of future careers and get more work experience. The biggest moments were the cardboard boat races, the mental anxiety of the high ropes, and meeting and communicating with the SEAM team.
“It’s not a huge amount, but I’m going to donate $50 from my paycheck to the SEAM program because I enjoyed it so much.”
Hailey: “The past seven weeks have opened my eyes to the great resources and opportunities on our Island. I have had the chance to experience volunteer work in our community and learn about team building. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially the East Prince Youth Development Centre staff.
Shoshanna: “I drew a picture to express how amazing this summer has been for me, and I wanted to express my gratitude. I am ready to go back to school now and graduate. I have much more confidence.”
Landon: “The skills I learned will help me maintain a job, so I was really thankful to be here. One week we were at Home Hardware, and the next we were at Generation XX. It was unpredictable, and that’s what I enjoyed about it. I was able to gain more references, which will make me more employable. It taught me that cooperation is everything. “I want to thank my grandmother for encouraging me to take this program. I want to thank Jessica for being a great instructor, and likewise for Jayk. I would also like to thank my co-workers for being who they are.”
“This is my favourite event to attend,” says Minister of Family and Human Services Tina Mundy. “To see such growth in a few short weeks is always a highlight. This is why I went into politics: to encourage and enhance programs that can help steer people towards their dreams. The youth in this program have character traits that will determine their success: grit, determination, and resilience.
“When I was in high school, a program like this would have steered me in a different direction earlier on. That is what this program is for.”
“We couldn’t have done this without the community employers and staff taking the time to help the participants and show them skills, and the government officials, friends and family who offered support to make this possible,” says Jessica.