Youth and Children's Service Committee Annual Report 2012-2013

The Youth and Children’s Services Committee (YCS) had another busy and successful year thanks to the many dedicated members of the committee. The members this year included: Carolyn Purden, Don Brooks, Errol Paulicpulle, Jay Littlejohn, Jeff Dobson (Chair), John Fortney, John Whincup, Joe Pochodyniak, Mario Voltolina (L-Dir), Michael Morgan, Pat Neuman (Secretary), Prince Kumar, Sheldon Zimmerman, and Terry Wray.
There were many highlight in this Centennial year. The first, of course, was the presentation to our committee’s chosen Centennial beneficiary. We had the honour of being the first committee to present its Centennial grant at the meeting held on August 24, 2012. The recipient was Youth Employment Services (YES). YES is well known to many members of our Club; its Executive Director, Nancy Shaeffer, has been a member since 1997. The organization was originally funded by our Rotary Club in the 1960s. The Club chose the YES Job Camp as the recipient of the $100,000 Centennial grant relating to Youth. The project will help hundreds of young people develop life skills, job skills and find work.
There were several other highlights for YCS this year. The Club has been hosting a Christmas Party for kids with disabilities since 1919. A sub-committee of YCS has been responsible for arranging this event for many years. It is a huge event requiring dozens of volunteers, which provides a few hours of fun, Christmas cheer, and gifts to hundreds of kids in Toronto. Because this event is considered a Club event and not just a youth event, the main funding (approximately $15,000) is not part of the regular philanthropic budget of YCS. The event this year was another great success.
Another event that has become an annual tradition for YCS is “Youth Day.” For the past ten years, members of YCS have commandeered one of the regular Friday lunches to showcase some youth talent and present some youth awards. Given that it was our Centennial year, the Youth Day sub-committee, ably led by Prince Kumar and with the blessing of the YCS and the Club Board, held a new event called “Youth Expo.” This was event directed at youth presented by members of our Club, Rotaractors, and several Youth organizations. It was an ambitious project and, despite the labour disruptions in the Toronto District School Board, it was a great success. The YCS plans to build on the momentum created at the last event and hold another Youth Expo this coming year with a plan to make it an annual event. Corporate donations were solicited and received in excess of the event expenses and will be used to help fund the next event. This Youth Expo event is in addition to Youth Day at which several young people are recognized and rewarded for their leadership in the community. The YCS commits money from its budget each year for these monetary awards.
The Youth and Children Service Committee entertains grant requests from numerous youth-centric organizations every year. One or more representatives from the requesting organization are asked to present to the YCS in person so that any questions that arise can be addressed directly and quickly. This also makes for interesting committee meetings as most meeting agendas will include at least one presentation from a Toronto-based youth organization. Below is a list of all grants awarded in this Rotary year with a brief explanation for each.
Youth Organization   Use of Funds                                                                     .  Amount
Alpha Delta Phi             Host party for kids from St.Felix orphanage                                $   890
RI (Gr 3 Dictionary)      Purchase dictionaries and deliver to Grade 3 classes at:
                                    Jesse Ketchum School                                                               $   122
Jesse Ketchum             Purchase instruments and supplies for the
                                    Steel Pan Band                                                                        $ 5,000
Youth Organization   Use of Funds                                                                        Amount
(continued from previous page)
Youth Day Awards         Cash Awards for annual Youth Civic
                                    Leadership Awards                                                                  $ 3,400
RYLA                             Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
                                    Funding for 1 student to attend the workshop                          $   950
SOY – H.E.A.T               Support Our Youth – Human Rights, Equity
                                    Access, Team. Funds to support leadership program
                                    to train presenters on human rights and LGBT issues.
                                    A program of Sherbourne Health Centre                                  $ 2,000
Children’s Peace            Funding for the Dreamhouse:  a monthly opportunity
Theatre                         for youth to showcase their artistic talents                              $ 2,000
Hoops All Stars              Free Basketball camp for kids in high priority
                                    neighbourhoods.                                                                    $ 3,500
Regent Park School      Funding for joint music initiative between staff
of Music                       from Regent Park on location in Africa and
                                   students in Canada, fall 2013.                                                $ 2,138
Total                                                                                                                     $20,000
In addition to providing direct grants, the Youth anc Children’s Service Committee can also provide indirect funding to various groups through our partnership with the Toronto Argonauts Football Club. The Rotary Club of Toronto has agreed to operate the Day of Game (DOG) at every home game. This requires a team of about 4 to 6 people to count money and supervise. In return for this effort, our Rotary Club of Toronto is allowed to designate which groups to invite to participate in the 50/50 draw at 3 or more of those games. The groups attend the game with volunteers who sell 50/50 tickets and share in the net proceeds of the ticket selling.  During this Rotary year, we were also able to designate beneficiaries for the Grey Cup game. The groups we select must be vetted by the Argos and must be delivering a benefit to youth in the City of Toronto. This year the following groups were invited by YCS to participate in the Argos 50/50 draw since July 2012:  Peace by Peace, Youth Boatworks Canada, Children’s Peace Theatre, Leave Out Violence, Eva’s Initiatives, Toronto Brigantine, Hoops All Stars, and Kids Now.
Jeff Dobson