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A United Way Community Hub unites Scarborough's youth

Vinosan Manoharan knows the realities facing Scarborough’s youth: a lack of employment and housing, too much addiction and crime. “Many youth simply don’t feel safe,” he says. “Some even believe that life should be tough.”

That’s why he sought The Hub Mid-Scarborough. And, thanks to your generosity, he found vital opportunities for empowerment, such as job-search support through the YMCA, assistance with personal issues through lead agency Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC), and food-prep workshops in the community kitchen.

“The Hub really helps young people get back on track,” he says. “It’s so interconnected, with agencies working together. You tell them what you’re looking for, and they’ll make it happen.“ Good news for a youth in crisis. Especially one looking to build a better life.

At The Hub Mid-Scarborough, it starts with respecting yourself. Charanjit Singh, Child/Youth Health Program Coordinator for SCHC, conducts outreach in community schools, talking about real issues—from healthy relationships to life after witnessing violence.

Meanwhile, a series of programs encourages holistic living among the area’s youth, including GROW (Gardening Revitalization Outdoor Wellness), which focuses on growing healthy food, and LYFT, a fitness program facilitated by two volunteer personal trainers.

Below the surface, however, these programs are much more. Shola Alabi, Community Engagement Manager at The Hub, defines Scarborough as a place divided by ethnicity, by neighbourhood. “There are places you just wouldn’t go, being from one group or another,” she says. But, KLICK, for instance—a running group representing many cultures and a community united—runs through those areas.

To Shola, it’s simple. “We’re all here, so let’s get together.” And The Hub is doing its part to make this happen. The results speak for themselves: in the last year and a half, there has been a 42% increase in use of the space by youth and community members of all ages.

Vinosan is fine proof. Despite now living in Markham, he continues to access The Hub—sometimes up to five days a week. He says the trip is worthwhile, citing the unique offerings, the strong personal support and the all-in-one convenience. “By coming here,” he adds, “I’m a better version of myself.”

The Hub Mid-Scarborough, then, is really about transformation. “Often,” says Shola, “youth facing challenges are written off. But, here, you see what they can do. Everyone has a treasure in them,” she continues. “Our job is to reveal that treasure.”

And if that’s what helps the person, that’s what helps the community.

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