*Pictured above, students and staff from the Pinball Clemons Foundation Ambassador School Program, Michael “Pinball” Clemons, and Valerie McMurtry. This program is operated through PARC.
The Children’s Aid Foundation is a proud supporter of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre (PARC), a Toronto-based preparation program that supports youth (aged 15-28) who have been in the care of a child welfare agency preparation for independent living. By providing funding to PARC, the Children’s Aid Foundation is helping young people in and from care transition to stable independence. When young people are not supported during this critical time of their lives, they are at a much greater risk of homelessness, not graduating high school, social isolation, unemployment, living in poverty, substance abuse, becoming parents at a young age, and over-representation in the youth justice and mental health systems.
Donations are incredibly important to PARC, and help to fund these integral programs. Without donor support, they simply wouldn’t be possible.
“Having people at PARC that I could call if I needed support made a huge difference. I couldn’t go back to my social worker, I couldn’t go back to group home staff, I don’t have a family – so having that outlet was great. I actually met my very best friend at PARC. We identify as sisters; our kids don’t know that we’re not actually related. We’ve known each other for that long — we’re family.” – Crystal, former youth in care & PARC ambassador.
Utilizing practical resources necessary for a successful transition to independence, PARC supports at-risk young people in the areas of employment, education, housing, identity, sexuality, emotional/mental health, substance abuse, and life skills. The Centre promotes personal and emotional growth by encouraging youth to use their voices to improve relationship skills, and personal development by providing youth with opportunities for decision making. By creating a safe community and opportunity for connection, young people are free to interact with each other and receive support from staff members. Based upon a sense of belonging, youth who initially require a good deal of support have the opportunity to give back to other members of the community by their leadership and involvement in various programs and by the supportive networks they develop outside the organization. PARC works to establish a pathway to independence for youth in care and former youth in care linking youth with the broader community.
Some of the opportunities and events provided by PARC include:
- One-on-one youth worker support
- Life Skills like Financial Literacy and Cooking
- Youth groups
- Access to financial support
- Housing navigation
- Educational planning through The Pinball Clemons Foundation Ambassador School helps young people graduate high school.
- Camping trips for youth working on their Duke of Edinburgh Award.
- Holiday Party
- Thanksgiving dinner
- Pride Week Celebration
- Black History Month Celebration