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Toronto youth leaders of tomorrow

Teens from troubled neighbourhoods get lessons that will last lifetime
By Kris Scheuer
(Originally written Jan/6/06 for Town Crier)

For young people growing up in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Toronto, initiatives like the Youth Leadership Program can be a lifesaver. 
More than 200 youth from high-risk neighbourhoods graduated Dec. 17 from the program, a joint initiative of the city and Toronto Community Housing (TCH). 
Many of the 52 gun deaths (from 78 murders) of 2005 involved youth, either as victim or perpetrator, and many of the shootings took place on or near TCH complexes. The city and TCH responded this summer by initiating a pilot project in 13 communities, including Malvern, Lawrence Heights, St. Jamestown, the Jane and Finch neighbourhood and Flemingdon Park, which is southeast of Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave. East. 
The significance of the successful completion of the nine-week leadership course was not lost on parents, community leaders, media, politicians or youth themselves. 
“I feel proud that we are in this moment. We are Toronto the Good when we work and build together,” said Kwasi Kafele, a community leader and youth advocate. Continue reading