Robin Hall’s first impression of the Pape Adolescent Resource Centre was that it wouldn’t be helpful.
PARC, operated with the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children’s Aid and Jewish Family and Child, didn’t look like a resource facility, the 22-year-old said.
“That’s what made me stop using PARC services at first,” he said. “It needs to look more like a professional environment. I think that deters some people who come in to PARC to believe that one of the services here are useful in general but it doesn’t look like it when you first look at it.”
But, a much-needed revamp will help the timid find their way, Hall said.
Amy Gaudaur, a professor of the Child and Youth Worker program at Centennial College, pitched in with her third-year students on April 21 to brighten the resource centre with new equipment, furnishings and a fresh coat of paint in the basement.
“Students are used to the competitive nature of these projects and the main thing we try to get them to focus on is collaboration,” Gaudaur said. “We get them to see how important it is to work with other agencies.
“These are kids from two different classes so the collaborative spirit of the project has come through. Seeing that vision come to fruition after all of the hard work, energy and effort they put into the fundraising is spectacular.”
Libanos Yehualashet, 20, said the project concludes her program and was well worth perking up the semi -detached home in the Jones Pocket of Riverdale.
“I was up pretty early,” she said. “It’s tiring and drains you but knowing it’s for a good cause. It lifts your spirits up.”
PARC helped Hall on his journey to becoming an independent-living adult. He entered grade 9 at Central Tech Public School in East York with a plan. But, the next day he was put into foster care in Scarborough and later moved to Brampton then completed high school in Richmond Hill after using PARC’s resources.
By invite, he attended a meeting and slowly got attached to the people in the group and the workers, snowballing from there.
“Over time I started to realize it offered a variety of programs that help people who are fixated on getting a job. They have multiple groups each week: relationship groups, network groups, art groups – I was part of Tuesday art group and now I facilitate it,” Hall said.