Written by: Sharifa Makhseem, from For Youth Initiative
There are so many challenges that non-profit organizations face and go through, such as the increasing need for unique, free and easily accessible services in the community.
If I were mayor I would make sure that the non-profit organizations are getting proper funding to run programs, to pay staff and create endless opportunities that will benefit the people in the community.
I am a youth in grade 12 who looks for meaningful services in my community. I enjoy after school programs as well as leadership programs. If it weren’t for non-profit organizations such as FY (For Youth Initiative), I would not be writing this right now, my voice and my opinions about the issues in the city I live in would not be heard. Because of FYI I am able to do my homework in a safe space as well a space with workers that help me. I get bus tickets and food every day at FYI for being a part of their programs. They have a line up of so many great programs, programs that are fun and easy going like dance, programs that are educational like the homework club and programs that help youth like myself explore my identity and purpose like Olori (a leadership program).
As a youth who is from the North York community, my biggest concern is my safety. When I’m outside I have to always be conscious and guarded. But when we have places where we can go and get involved in the community while being safe, places like FYI. FYI is like a second home to so many youth.
I also had an opportunity to work for them in the summer and experience firsthand the amount of work they do in the community which made me appreciate them more.
Because FYI is like a home to me, it is hard to see that there are programs getting cut because the organization is running low on funding. This decreases the opportunities available for youth to better themselves. This also leaves many youth unoccupied and they may end up in the streets – and then we question why violence never ends?
So if I were a mayor I would make sure that non-profit organizations have what they need to do the important work they do.
The “If I Were Mayor” blog series profiles the ideas of youth and rising leaders from across the GTHA as a way to add their voices to the municipal conversation. Posts have been curated by CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network, For Youth Initiative, Laidlaw Foundation, Toronto Youth Cabinet, Citizen Empowerment Project, Young Women’s Leadership Network, and the Centre for Community and Immigration Services. The views contained in this post are the author’s and are not reflective of CivicAction or the CivicAction Leadership Foundation.