Youth & Children's Service Committee - Supporting the Future of Our Community

Youth & Children's Service Committee– Our Mandate

The committee is responsible for supporting the needs of children and youth in the community.  The committee supports programs which benefit children and youth in the areas of health, education, child abuse and neglect, social development and life enrichment. Youth and Children’s Service Committee meets monthly on the third Tuesday except July and August.


Youth and Children's Service Committee Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Our Mandate:  The committee supports programs which benefit children and youth in the areas of health, education, child abuse and neglect, social development and life enrichment.
Our Membership: The success of our 2015-2016 year is attributable to our dedicated members and friends of YCS.  A special thanks to our members for playing an active role in all initiatives: Lorraine Lloyd (played a key role as Secretary for many of the meetings), Prince Kumar (Chair), Jeff Dobson, Pat Neuman, Brent Thomas (Director – Community Outreach and our incoming Chair for 2016-2017), Binoy Luckoo (Board Liaison), Terry Wray, John Fortney, Anthony Whalen (was our Secretary for some of the meetings), Ross Amos, John Whincup, and Shelley McIntyre (who was our Vice Chair for majority of the year and helped immensely in reviewing various proposals and cultivating community partner relationships).  Thank you to our Friends of YCS for continuing to support and volunteering on an as needed basis: Karl Kremer, Errol Paulicpulle, Jack Hakimian, Michael Morgan, Emre Yurga, Annie Chu, Jayson Phelps, Edvard Ryder and Rotaractors Sarah Hui and Earlyn Etienne.
Our Sub-committees: We thank all our sub-committee members and volunteers for making a difference in impacting the lives of the youth and children of our community.  The sub-committees include – Children’s Christmas Party (Chair – Pat Neuman/ Lorraine Lloyd), Youth Exchange, RYLA, Youth Initiatives (Chair – Binoy Luckoo), Youth Leadership Expo (Chair – Jayson Phelps), Youth Civic Leadership Awards, Youth Day Luncheon, and Healthy Beginnings (Chair – Sylvia Geist). 
A special thanks to all the members of the The Rotaract Club of Toronto and The Rotaract Club of University of Toronto who have provided immense support to our projects. 2015-2016 Highlights:
This year we took our committee meetings directly to where it all happens – our community partners.  We saw first-hand the impact our Rotary dollars were having.  We thank Charlie’s Freewheels and Unity Charity for hosting the first of these kinds of community outreach meetings.  We learned how the two organisations had used the funds to improve the lives of youth, and heard first hand from the youth participants of both organisations.
Annual Children’s Christmas Party – In its 86th year, this amazing event has become a trademark at the Royal York Hotel and touches the hearts of so many wonderful children, youth, parents, volunteers and community organisations.  With a $20,000 budget the sub-committee did a phenomenal job in ensuring hundreds of children with various abilities are provided with a day to remember.  The event sees about 100 volunteers, including police officers, firemen, auxiliary officers, Rotarians and their families, Rotaractors and District Youth Exchange Students.  In total about 600 guests are facilitated in this iconic Christmas party.  It is heartwarming to see the Children in their element and actively participating and enjoying the event, irrespective of the immense daily challenges they face – they are the true heroes and we as Rotarians are honoured to have this opportunity to celebrate with them.
Annual Youth Leadership Expo (YLE) – In its 4th year, our club has formed a partnership with the Toronto District School Board and strengthened ties with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.  We bring together many community partners, hands on workshops, and motivational speakers to inspire, empower and build leadership skills for up to 500 Toronto’s Grade 7 to 10 students. 
A YouTube video shot by youth, featuring youth says it all:  The Rotaractors take on a lead role in organizing the event and select grade 11 and 12 students facilitate interactive sessions with small groups of grade 7 to 10 students to help encourage them to build an action plan, engage with community partners and develop community leadership ideas.
Annual Youth Day Luncheon and Youth Civic Leadership Awards (YCLA) – High school students from the City of Toronto with the help of their guidance councillors and teachers apply for these awards.  We experience so many amazing and inspiring student applicants.  The award recipients and finalists are recognized at our Rotary Youth Day luncheon.  Congratulations to the award recipients: Deborah Dada, Rathesh Balendran, D’Angelo Gordon and Akeda Sayram.  Both the Executive Directors from TDSB and TCDSB were present at the event to support their students.  Youth entertainers engaged and entertained the Rotary audience, including our Rotary International President Elect.
In total for YLE, Youth Day Luncheon and YCLA we spent $10,958.60.  Thank you to The Rotary Club of Toronto, corporate sponsors (TD Securities Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada), YCS committee, The Rotaract Club of Toronto, The Rotaract Club of University of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing. 
Healthy Beginnings: Our health beginnings sub-committee was hard at work and supported many charities and initiatives with a total giving of $9,815.87.
This year we also supported many worthy projects including:
Sojourn House: $2,500 in support of seed money for kitchen equipment for their cooking training program in the shelter and transitional house.
Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre: $4,480 in support of their pilot project brining children of various abilities together with the Inclusive Children’s Musical Theatre Project.
Kids Against Hunger: $3,500 for supply and logistics for 23,334 dried food meals that were shipped to a Northern Ontario community in need.  Rotarians and friends volunteered to pack the meals.
Rotaract TO Trip: $800 for the first ever international Rotaract Trip to Toronto, enhancing international youth cooperation with Rotaractors from Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan, Ecuador, Poland and Italy.
The Chill Foundation: $2,500 for new safety equipment (25 helmets, 10 knee/elbow pad sets and 25 skateboard build sets) for the students to use during weekly skateboard lessons, as well as for a pilot project learning opportunity where 25 students will build their own skateboards.
Dusk Dances Inc.: $2,500 for an educational project that creates an opportunity for youth in underserved communities to engage with the arts via Dusk Dances in the Schools, bringing cultural education to help children grow.
Volunteer Readers Programme: $3,700 in support of the growth of the reading program with one-time funding for 400 graduation gift books and certificates for students of the 2016-2017 term.
Children’s Peace Theatre: $3,556 towards The Solidarity Project which is engaging black and indigenous youth via workshops in a collaborative arts process with artists and Elders to curate conversations and deepen awareness and understanding of cultures and spiritual practices in order to build new relationships between these two groups.
We were fortunate to help review larger asks and provide our recommendations to the board and the club foundation.  Eva’s initiative was awarded $100,000 towards the building of the new Eva’s Phoenix facility and naming of a Rotary house consisting of a shared suite with accommodation for 5 homeless youth to live in, while they learn life skills and have access to employment training programs. 
We started discussions with Rotaract Clubs to engage in a partnership granting model to make a hands-on positive impact with the youth and children of our great Toronto community.  We hope to take this model to new actionable heights in 2016-2017 under the guidance of our incoming chair Brent Thomas.
The YCS committee wrapped up our year with our annual potluck celebratory event at the rooftop gardens of Carrot Commons.
For Rotarians, we encourage you to find out more about our committee by coming to our monthly meetings at the Royal York Hotel every third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm.  For our youth and community partners, we thank you for the great work you do in making an impact in the lives of the youth and children of our wonderful community.