I look at my friends who are happy, and it makes me feel weak. But when I go for help I am not weak, I am strong.
Sweet Treats, Jump Shots & the Impact of Nexus Youth Services
Friday, September 2, 2016The following is a guest post by Danielle Gayton, who is an associate in RBC’s Career Launch program for new graduates. Danielle is currently on a 3-month placement with Nexus’s sister agency, Peel Children’s Centre. Below, Danielle shares her conversation with Christian, a Nexus Youth Outreach Worker, about working with Nexus and supporting youth outreach and engagement during two of Nexus's most popular annual events.
Being involved with Nexus Youth Services is something special. Between the relationships built between youth and staff, as well as its clearly defined mission to work for and with youth, it’s clear that Nexus is an amazing resource that continues to have a positive influence in the community. Christian, who is currently working as a Youth Outreach Worker at Nexus, is an example of how youth can be actively involved in fundraising events and outreach programs that positively impact youth in Peel Region. “I initially got involved with Nexus by completing some community hours I needed for high school,” says Christian. “I always knew about this organization because it was located in such an ideal place.”
The month of August alone was action-packed for Christian and Nexus. On Sunday, August 21st Mohamed Yusef and his team at Marble Slab Mississauga welcomed staff and youth volunteers for a special afternoon in support of Nexus. From 1pm until 5pm Christian and his fellow Youth Outreach Worker, Kim, were on-site to talk to customers about Nexus and its role in the community. Anthony, a regular volunteer at Nexus Youth Centre, was also on-hand to help out. “It was a really fun talking to people about Nexus and what we do there,” says Anthony “The ice cream was great too.”
The event raised more than $150 for Nexus, as Mohamed generously donated 20 percent of proceeds earned throughout the afternoon. The object of fundraising events like this is not only to raise money for Nexus but also to educate the public by raising awareness about the organization and its services for youth in need. Says Christian, “Nexus is important to me because I know how beneficial their different programs and services are to youth. It is also a great place to meet peers and to form relationships with one another. I took on the position of being an Outreach Worker because I want youth to be aware, within the community, of the different services we offer.
Following the Marble Slab event was the annual Nexus Basketball tournament on Tuesday, August 23rd. The event was a hit with youth and the community, as over 50 youth brought their basketball skills to Celebration Square in Mississauga. In addition, members of the Peel Regional Police Community Mobilization and the Diversity Teams were in attendance, mingling with youth and challenging their skills on the basketball court. Staff noted the familiar faces from past tournaments also in attendance, illustrating the importance of community building that the annual event continues to support. Jesse, a Youth Engagement Worker at Nexus and the organizer of this year’s event, made sure food and refreshments were available. A BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as watermelon and water bottles, ensured everyone stayed hydrated and full of energy. Christian also played a vital role in the event, assisting Jesse with organizing youth and making sure everything ran smoothly and efficiently.
Christian, who is currently in school for Child and Youth Studies, continues to develop his skills in working with youth, utilizing events such as the Marble Slab fundraiser and basketball tournament as a great learning and professional development opportunities. There is truly nothing more rewarding than working WITH youth, FOR youth as Christian has learned, saying, “Throughout my work with Nexus, I have developed a strong rapport with the youth. I really am happy that I was able to get this opportunity to work in Nexus because it was such a good experience being able to talk to the different staff and getting to know the youth there.”