Written by Tagan Mani, Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator
Personal Support Workers (PSW) are an essential part of healthcare who display their dedication and empathy with the work they do on the front line to make the lives of many others much better. In Ontario, PSW day is celebrated on May 19th to show recognition to these amazing individuals that often are not appreciated enough for the work and commitment they make. We have several PSWs at SCHC who are integral for various programs. Read below for a few quotes from some of them.
Below is from a former volunteer who currently works in two different SCHC programs, Nordia. See what she has to say below.
Next we have Jackie Brown who I had the pleasure of interviewing. See below for some behind the scenes content, and of course her thoughts about PSW day.
Last but not least, since May is also Asian Heritage Month, we also have Analyn one of our PSWs share her thoughts.
All in all, PSWs do a lot for others and deserve more appreciation and recognition for the amazing work they do. Make sure you visit our Careers page (www.schcontario.ca/schc-careers) as we often look for new PSWs to join our team!
Written by Abinash Sivapalan, Grant Business Start-up Coordinator
National Nursing Week is from May 9th to May 15th 2022. The week recognizes and celebrates the impact of nurses in the health-care journey. "#WeAnswerTheCall" showcases how important the role of nurses are. Nurses perform in many positions and functions from management, occupational health, prison and community roles, public health, case management and more. At SCHC we are staffed with nurse practitioners (RPN) and registered nurses (RN) who provide medical care and health related services to the community. The team sees clients who experience a one-time episode of illness or injury and clients who require ongoing care such as treatment for chronic health conditions. The pandemic has shown us that nurses are the foundation of healthcare and how much of a difference they make in people’s lives.
You may have heard the terms RN or RPN. The main difference between an RN and RPN is the foundational education. RPNs tend to use their knowledge to assist patients with general and straightforward health conditions. They treat patients with stable conditions who do not need intensive procedures. RN have had several years of schooling and have extensive knowledge in their healthcare field. They help with patients with complex health issues.
Nurses have done an amazing job during the tough time of COVID-19. With the shortage of nurses and the increasing number of Covid-19 patients, many Nurses have worked day and night to help patients. Hear below from some registered nurses sharing their experiences in being a nurse at SCHC!
"During the pandemic, the significance of nurses has definitely highlighted the multiple roles nurses play within the health care system. They are really the backbone of the health care system. Words don't describe how proud I am of this profession. Nurses make such a difference and I am happy to be called a registered nurse. Especially during the pandemic nurses bore the brunt of covid. We need more nurses. You make such a difference in people’s lives. Don’t you want to make a change in people’s lives? Come be a nurse! Make a difference in this world!"
"Nurses at SCHC play a key role in the multi-disciplinary health care team in improving clients’ health outcomes by providing direct nursing care, health education, counselling, preventive services and chronic diseases management"
"Nursing is a multifaceted professional role with a plethora of opportunities and options. Over the years, I have held nursing positions providing direct patient/client care, in management, and as an educator. As a nurse working at SCHC, I have been able to draw on my knowledge and experiences, combining three of my passions - caring, education, and palliative care - to continue to help others. I am proud and honored to be a nurse! Come join us in being a nurse and engage in life long learning!”
After reading what our wonderful nurses had to say about being a nurse, its your turn to make a change in people's lives. Be sure to visit www.schcontario.ca/schc-careers to apply as an RN at SCHC!
Hospice Palliative Care Week: The Significance, The People We Celebrate and Why We Aim To Live in Colour
Written By Tagan Mani, Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator; Asvini Ravindran, Intake Nurse, Hospice Palliative Care; Nirusha Jebanesan, Nurse Navigator, Alexa Callaghan, Bereavement Coordinator; Karen Rajendra, Psychosocial Spiritual Care Coordinator
This year's Hospice Palliative Care Week is being celebrated from May 1st to May 7th. This week is celebrated nationally to acknowledge the amazing work of various hospice palliative care (HPC) teams. The theme this year is "Living in Colour" because every person deserves a vibrant and beautiful life, instead of just fading shades of grey. This is what our incredible hospice palliative care team (that consists of staff and volunteers) strive to achieve. They bring a sense of joy and vibrancy to many hospice and palliative care clients in Scarborough. To help you understand the impact, please read direct quotes from our team below starting with our volunteers.
In addition to our incredible volunteers, we also have staff in different positions for the various needs that the hospice and palliative care team serves in Scarborough. See below for examples that provides more insight about their roles and impact.
A role that is essential to our hospice palliative care services are nurse navigators. Nirusha Jebanesan, who is currently in this role says that the nurse navigator program is conducive to the provision of holistic, equitable and person-centered care. Patients and families are closely guided through the health care system, overcoming barriers to health care access and bridging gaps in transition of care. The clinical expertise inherent in the nurse navigator role is helpful in the performance of holistic health assessment of individuals leading to the collaborative development of a plan of care, which addresses the short term, and long-term goals of care of the individual.
Another key part of HPC is the Bereavement Care Program. Alexa Callaghan, a bereavement coordinator shares that the program at SCHC offers support and information to individuals in Scarborough who are coping with grief and loss through individual peer support and peer-facilitated mutual support bereavement groups. Support is provided by a screened and trained volunteer, who has also experienced the death of a loved one to facilitate discussion of your grief journey and experiences. Walking, Therapeutic Art and Meditation groups are also offered.
Our HPC program also includes Psychosocial Spiritual Care (PSSC) , which offers carefully planned, collaborative support for your needs as well as the needs of your family, friends, or caregivers. The coordinator, Karen Rajendra, says through compassionate listening in a spirit of welcoming presence, we assist you to draw upon your own emotional and spiritual resources or find new ways to create meaning, value, purpose, and connection in the face of illness and dying.
Last but not least, we wanted to share some client stories to help reiterate the impact our hospice and palliative care team has. We have not included their names due to respect of privacy.
I really want to say that your (PSSC) coordinator has been a life saver. I started counselling with her in a such dramatic /chaotic way. My dad wasn’t convinced that any counselling would be of help and it took much coercing for him to give it a try. He mentioned the coordinator’s name a few times with much fondness, making me curious about the agency and the work carried out. I found her so supportive that was much better than some of my friends and my colleagues as the relationship grown from strangers to trusted friends. She had the personal and professional touch that got me to today….. I do not know how to express my gratitude for the referral and to your coordinator, as she is guiding me through this difficult time. - Mr. Wilfred O’Connor’s daughter
The biggest challenge I was facing is depression. I lost the three most important adults in my life in the space of 6 months and felt utterly rudderless. I was lost, alone, and didn't know how to carry on, or why.
I became acquainted with SCHC during my husband's illness. He used to attend a weekly session. After his passing SCHC contacted me to offer some grief counselling.
So there you have it. We hope you understand why our team works hard to provide clients with a positive experience and vibrant perspective to enjoy the various colours their life has. The Hospice Palliative Care Week might only be celebrated for a week but the impact these programs and services have are cherished way beyond that. The need of these services have risen and we are doing our best to accommodate and serve our clients to the best of our abilities but we need your help. If you are interested in volunteering in any of the hospice or palliative care programs and services please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a donation to the program you can do so via our donation page and select "Palliative and Hospice programs" under the campaign drop down menu.
By Abirah Chandraraj, Social Media Intern
Volunteering is more than just volunteer hours and adding an experience onto your resume, it’s about the different relationships you make, and the impact you make within a small but connected community. What we said might not make sense right now but read Vihashan's volunteer experience below at SCHC and you’ll understand what we mean.
I’m actually quite shocked that I never heard of SCHC before despite living in Scarborough my whole life. It was during my first year where I had an opportunity to volunteer at SCHC with my university club, MedLife. That’s where I met Lori, SCHC’s Volunteer Engagement Coordinator. We spent a day volunteering at the food bank which was fulfilling because not only did I learn that it was one of the largest food banks in Scarborough, I also learned that SCHC offered a wide variety of other great programs. That’s when I reached out to Lori and began my volunteering journey with SCHC. It started from SCHC’s Food Bank to the furniture bank, to SCHC’s Community Health Clinics. One amazing opportunity led to another. I continued to volunteer for over two years because it became less about the new experiences and talking to more people, and more about being able to give back to my community.
Volunteering with SCHC was a great experience for me for various reasons. I loved how the hours were really flexible because it was something that was important to me as I had meetings on unexpected days. I appreciated how all the SCHC workers and volunteers were respectful, accommodating, and understanding of my student-life schedule. There was never a dull moment because I genuinely was able to enjoy my time volunteering, and not feel stressed.
I love volunteering because the interactions I had with people and the positive experiences have always been rewarding! There were times when I gave out food at the Food Bank and got to create connections with people that came in regularly. It felt nice being able to say “Hi” to familiar faces. Not only did it bring my face a smile, but also theirs which felt rewarding!
Of all my experiences volunteering, a memory that stood out the most for me was when we had a surprise birthday party for a volunteer. She was not expecting it and it was so sweet seeing her reaction. Although all the volunteers were of various ages, genders, and backgrounds, we came together that day and celebrated. At that moment, I realized the importance of working together in a community. It was a very comforting atmosphere and felt like a second home!
While volunteering with SCHC has been amazing, I would 100% say that programs such as the food bank can always use more helping hands. There are days when it can get a bit tough trying to manage and drop off a ton of food and on days when there are only a few members on-site, we would have to haul hundreds of pounds of food back and forth. These programs could definitely use more muscle power during times like these!
Nowadays, in our generation, I notice that many people see payment as a result of working which I think is fair but, I think there is a beauty in volunteering in itself without the incentive of money. With that being said, if you’re thinking about volunteering at SCHC, I would say go for it! There are no repercussions and it’s very simple to get started. You just have to give Lori a call and she would be happy to help you get started. There is honestly nothing to lose. For me, I did not think volunteering at SCHC would be a huge deal but looking back now, it is and I think that might be something others may feel as well!
There are endless amounts of volunteer opportunities available at SCHC! If you are a youth, adult, or senior that wants to get involved, check out our SCHC Volunteers Page or contact Lori Beesley at email@example.com.
"SCHC's Transportation team is not just the light at the end of the tunnel, but the bright light IN the tunnel"
By Aaliyah Adams and Abirah Chandraraj
Margaret reached out to Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic seeking safe transportation for her immunocompromised husband and herself. Having experienced the uncommon and remarkable warmth and caring of the SCHC family during her tense and trying times, she felt the urge to give back, and became a volunteer in SCHC’s Client & Family Advisory Committee. Here is her story!
A year ago (in 2021), my husband fell ill and was hospitalized. He was the only source of transportation in the family. Facing unprescedented times as the pandemic raged, I found myself stuck in a bind with my husband being immunocompromised and having comorbidities. Getting around to a slew of medical appointments and running all the regular errands, raised a lot of concerns and anxiety about the level of exposure to risk with any form of public transportation, in addition to viability over the long term. Fortunately, the hospital gave me a list of transportation services which led me to the SCHC Transportation Division. At that moment, I had no idea that reaching out to SCHC would make such a huge impact in my life.
SCHC's Transportation Division is a 5-star operation. Safety is a serious priority. As such, for that extra layer of pandemic protection, vehicles were fitted with a plexi barrier between the driver and the passengers, and drivers maintained recommended protocols throughout. Needless to say, my husband and I felt at ease from the start.
This was topped only by the consistent high level of excellence in service from Kelly (Transportation Co-ordinator) and all the drivers. I hold each one (bar none) in high regard for their friendly, helpful, thoughtful, kind and respectful manner. I am also grateful for the lighthearted conversations which matter especially in the midst of social distancing and health challenges. I got Peter as my driver most of the time which made sense in limiting contacts during COVID. In addition to keeping our trips well-organized, he lives by his motto – treat others as you would like to be treated. He is a notable ambassador for SCHC. Having used other transportation sevices which are mostly sterile, I am now a dedicated fan of SCHC as their calibre of service puts the 'care' back into community care.
SCHC's Transportation team is not just the light at the end of the tunnel, but more importantly, the bright light IN the tunnel. I use their services at least once a week during the pandemic for routine errands such as grocery shopping, or attending medical appointments. The team sets the bar high when it comes to client satisfaction, and go out of their way to ensure clients are well taken care of. If only they were available 24/7! Nonetheless, they have provided monumental relief in my life and I am extremely thankful for being able to have their support!
Overall, SCHC is an outstanding community-oriented organization and is definitely SCARBOROUGH'S BEST KEPT SECRET! They're not simply a company, but more of a beacon of hope. Like a good neighbour, this organization has cheerfully helped to relieve my transportation burdens during the pandemic. With regards to key suggestions for SCHC’s ongoing success in the future, please continue doing what you are doing and perhaps, if feasible, expand the Transportation division. They are the BEST!
As an organization that strives to meet the diverse, holistic health needs of the communities of Scarborough, SCHC is truly honored to have clients share their journey and experiences using our various services. It is a heartwarming feeling knowing that clients can safely attend their weekly appointments and complete their weekly errands with our transportation services. If you are someone that is interested in SCHC’s transportation services, you can learn more by clicking here. For more information or to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-847-4134.
Written by Amy Stephenson, Caregiver Wellness Coordinator
Despite the prevalence of informal caregiving, many people do not recognize the role of unpaid and/or family caregivers in our communities. Often people find themselves gradually taking on these roles, as they pick up caregiving duties without even realizing they are . For many, being an informal caregiver means being a good child, spouse, cousin, or friend. However, not recognizing the role makes caregivers more vulnerable to burnout and the potential for decreased wellbeing significantly increases. Over the past two years, informal caregivers have played an even more prominent role. During COVID-19, many support services were put on pause in an effort to reduce exposure, providers and/or those receiving care made the difficult decision to reduce or stop in-person services. Without external support, informal caregivers were left to fill in the gaps. This has led to increases in the number of people acting as informal caregivers and the hours of support provided by this group has been magnified. In Canada alone, informal caregivers provide 28.5 billion dollars worth of care annually which is one of many reasons why it is so important to acknowledge the role that informal caregivers play.
April 5th, 2022, is Caregiver Appreciation day! It is the perfect reminder to recognize the efforts of the informal caregivers in our communities and to raise awareness for their support.
Caregiving can be a few hours a week or a full-time job supporting a loved one 24/7. The most common support provided is transportation, scheduling appointments, housework and/or home maintenance. For some it can mean performing medical tasks, even those usually done by professionals.
There are also many faces to caregivers in Ontario. Approximately 18% of caregivers are under 25 years old and are considered young caregivers. This amounts to 500,000 Ontarian youth. Young caregivers may support their siblings, other relatives, or friends. Balancing caregiving responsibilities with school and other duties can increase social isolation, anger, loneliness and grief for these caregivers. Many in the role feel as though they have to grow up faster than their peers, and believe thatthey don’t have the same opportunities to be a kid. A further challenge comes if their contributions are not recognized by those around them. Others in the circle of care may not recognize the impact that caring has on their lives. This comes in part with the assumptions that they are not affected by caregiving, as they are often not the primary caregiver. But supporting the primary caregiver and care receiver in other ways, does have an impact.
Another large group of informal caregivers has come to be known as the “sandwich generation.” These caregivers are supporting aging parents and children at home, undertaking caring duties on all sides. The pressure for this group is particularly strong as many are active members of the workforce. Interestingly, approximately 35% of the Canadian workforce is balancing caregiving with professional duties which adds to an already full plate. This difficult balancing act can put these caregivers' wellbeing at risk. Frequently working caregivers need to adjust their hours, schedules, and/or positions in order to maintain their caregiving duties. These costs are hard to measure but undoubtedly add to the cost of caregiving on individuals and the economy as a whole. A 2020 report found that informal caregivers report financial support as their most common need.
At its heart caring is a labour of love. This is seen clearly in the actions of senior caregivers caring for others. With an aging population and smaller families, it is becoming more common for Canadian seniors to act as caregivers. Even with their own health concerns, the rate of caregiving in those 65+ is one in four. The physical demands and stress of caregiving are particularly challenging for this group. However, regardless of the type or amount of care provided, recognizing the caregiving role is essential to help all types of informal caregivers cope with the emotional impacts of caregiving.. Guilt, joy, stress, and questions of self-doubt are standard on the caregiving journey. While it can feel isolating, it is not a journey anyone has to do alone. There are ways to help build a circle of care to ensure that those who receive and provide care maintain their wellbeing.
Caregiving should always be a team effort. The dynamic nature of the caregiving journey means that there will be a lot of the unexpected—new responsibilities, shifts in relationship dynamics, increased time commitments and more! But creating a strong circle of support from family, friends, and professionals can significantly help individuals throughout their caregiving journey.
Reading this you may have realized that you or someone you know is a caregiver. And you may be wondering what support is available for caregivers? Or what you can do to support the caregiver in your life?
To answer these questions, perhaps start by having a conversation with friends and neighbours. Normalizing the recognition of the role can help reduce stigma and feelings of isolation. Knowledge is power along the caregiving journey. Learning from experts and others in a similar situation can also provide tips on how to prepare and insight into aspects you may not have considered. Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone's experiences are different and valid.
Remember, there are also local programs that provide support and education for all those within the circle of care. The Caregiver Wellness Program at the Scarborough Centre for Healthy communities offers free services to Scarborough caregivers in English and Tamil. To learn more or get connected, check out www.schcontario.ca/caregiverwellness or email@example.com by phone (416)-847-4138.
Abinash Sivapalan, Grant Business Start-Up Coordinator reached out to Janina Adduru, Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) Care Coordinator and Deby Kanagarajoo, Interim Community Health Clinic Manager at Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities to talk about the new mental health initiative for youth in Scarborough.
"Approximately 1 in 5 children and youth in Ontario has a mental health challenge. About 70% of mental health challenges have their onset in childhood or youth" (Canadian Mental Health Association, 2022).
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) aims to bring the right services to youth and their families at the right time and in the right place. YWHO is improving Ontario’s mental health and addiction services for youth and their families by providing rapid access to mental health and substance use services with walk in, low barrier services and clear pathways to service. YWHO provides evidence-based interventions and supported transitions to specialized care services when the severity of need is evident. It is a "one-stop-shop" for youth wellbeing that practices through an anti-oppressive and anti-racist lens, to provide high quality, integrated services that keep youths and their families at the center of care. The pandemic has affected everyone very differently, especially our youth in Scarborough!
"The serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of our youth are alarmingly evident in the increase of calls to Kids Help Phone during 2020. In 2019, Kids Help Phone had 1.9 million connections. In 2020, they had 4.5 million connections with young people through their phone line, text and website access points. This increase in connections, year over year, represents an alarming 137 per cent increase" (Scott, 2021).
Mental health is not openly discussed in many cultures. We are here to help! Identifying this problem early on can improve the health outcomes in life. We provide inclusive, and welcoming space where participants can be social and have access to a broad range of service and supports delivering in an integrated fashion. The services provided range from mental health support, substance using, employment, housing, peer support, and education.
"As YWHO's Care coordinator, my job is to serve as a support and advocate for rapid access, early intervention and provide clear service pathway to one's needs, meeting their long and short term goals. The image below is a visual representation of what we do at YWHO!"
- Janina Adduru Care Coordinator for YWHO
Story by University of Toronto Scarborough Department of Management
During the 2021-22 academic year, University of Toronto Scarborough Management students grew more than 90kg of produce on campus and donated their harvest to the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities (SCHC) food bank, with plans to scale up for the next growing season.
“Our farming initiative brings together students, faculty, and staff from across the University, from a number of backgrounds both academically and culturally, to one central place around one central theme: food security. We are unified in the goal to learn through serving our neighbours,” said Dave Fenton, whose portfolio oversees Partnerships, Innovation, and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) in The BRIDGE with the Department of Management and UTSC Library.
The idea for the WIL farm began germinating in 2019 after the Department of Management met with community agencies, including the SCHC, about ways to deepen its partnerships and impact across the Eastern GTA. Debra McGonegal, SCHC Director of Communication and Development, identified the need to obtain more fresh vegetables for the individuals and families SCHC serves. Students then surveyed community members to determine which crops to plant, with the goal of meeting the community's diverse needs (pictured: a sample of the vegetables harvested).
“Donations like this are valued, especially now, with the recent 47% increase of visits to food banks as a result of the pandemic. Scarborough is a community where racialization, discrimination, and poverty have severely illuminated health inequities. Our partnership with the University demonstrates how much more can be accomplished when we work together,” McGonegal said. “The [WIL farm] supported the nearly 4,000 monthly visits made to the SCHC Food Bank by members of the Scarborough community.”
More than 30 U of T Scarborough students across the Management and work-study programs have been engaged in the WIL farm initiative since spring 2021. Project components were embedded in Management Professor Bill McConkey’s Innovation (MGSC35) course, where students validated and assessed the farm’s business potential, and in Professor Vania Sakelaris’s Consulting and Contracting New Ways of Work (MGSC20) course supporting the development of a scale-up strategy.
“This initiative not only provided students with an opportunity to simulate a management consulting role and to apply their knowledge and skills, but also to share the output of their collective efforts with a live project sponsor versus a hypothetical one,” Sakelaris said. “Students were exposed to valuable strategic analysis frameworks that can be applied to any business in any industry.”
“In order to foster a future generation of environmentally conscious leaders, the first steps are to spread awareness as well as contribute to sustainable endeavors in our own communities. Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good, which starts by planting the seeds of sustainable growth,” added Austin Gumbs, UTSC Management Co-op student and Senior Student Advisor with SIG.
Written by Tagan Mani, Marketing and Fund Development Coordinator
You may have noticed that in our promotional material for our “A Gift to Remember program” we have a title sponsor, Peerage Capital. Despite the holiday program having a new name and look, Peerage Capital is no stranger to backing the holiday program and being a key supporter of various SCHC initiatives to help the many residents of Scarborough. Therefore, it is only right you know more about Peerage Capital.
Peerage Capital does more than just donate a monetary amount; they have donated time and resources including physically helping our community services staff. The highly successful real estate services company is dedicated to more than just their business and clients, and we know first hand how incredible their commitment to philanthropy is. Just recently, Engin Ogut and Lisa Conrad came to the food bank to help with various tasks related to the food bank such as stocking up the shelves and separating egg cartons.
They also assisted with putting together our holiday meal packages that our program recipients can enjoy with their loved ones. The two also sorted through the donations of toys that parents pick up for their children to enjoy during the holiday season! In addition, they presented a cheque from their CEO, Miles Nadal who, through his incredible generosity is donating a whopping $36,000!
We asked them about how they felt about giving back and their experience helping at the food bank. They shared the following quote:
All of us at Peerage share a deep commitment to community. Working with SCHC is a practical way for us to make those corporate values a reality. Whether it’s the food bank, a vaccination clinic, or the youth entrepreneurship program, SCHC understands Scarborough and how to make it an even better place to live and work. We’re proud to support the organization and its terrific team. - Engin Ogut and Lisa Conrad
It's without a doubt they mean what they say as they have been a loyal advocate for SCHC’s programs and yet continue to think of different ways they can continue to assist the Scarborough community. Over the past few years, Peerage had a team doing weekly Meals on Wheels deliveries plus volunteered at the Food Bank regularly and, most recently, at our vaccine clinic. They have provided judges for our Youth Entrepreneurship Venture Competition, plus award money and seed funding for promising youth and their business ideas. Their annual employee campaign sponsors MANY families in the Gift to Remember program and their leadership is always available for help and feedback on new partner initiatives.
The reality is that a non-profit organization such as SCHC does require support, especially during the holiday season. That’s why although time is running out to donate to the A Gift to Remember program, we kindly ask you to support families in need NOW. You can donate easily by going to our donation page and selecting A Gift to Remember from the drop down!
Of course, you can always decide to make a gift to any of our other program areas and/or become a monthly donor to support Scarborough year round. Every gift, no matter the size, makes a difference.
By Matthew Guades, Client of the YEO Program.
Abinash Sivapalan, Grant Business Start-up Coordinator, reached out to Matthew Guades, YEO Participant, to share his thoughts on his experience with the YEO Program. Read his story below.
Hello everyone! My name is Matthew Guades, and I am a 17-year-old high school student. Over the 2020 lockdown, I spent more time reflecting on my future and what I wanted to do. Thanks to all this time given to me, I realized that although I am not fully clear of what career I want to do, I am sure that I want to achieve financial freedom by a young age. Therefore, I knew that I needed to start a business, as a part-time job won’t be able to fulfill my goals in time. After hours and hours of learning, I discovered a wide range of several business models that interested me. However, I couldn’t start or stay consistent with them. Although these were possible to solve by myself, other factors such as school and my social life were difficulties. These struggles made me realize that I needed to look for guidance to help me achieve that path.
Luckily a few months later, I was blessed to discover and join the Youth Entrepreneurship Opportunities program by SCHC after scrolling around on my Instagram one day. I knew that this was the chance that could help me finally get some assistance. For five months, the YEO program gave me a mentor to help me start my own clothing brand, something that I always planned on doing. During these months, I learned SO much from product research, marketing, sales, and personal development. By having meetings with my mentor and attending workshops weekly, I can implement all of the skills I learned for the rest of my life. Additionally, with the YEO program, my mentor always kept me organized and on track, strengthening my consistency skills and forming good habits for myself and my business. After placing third in the YEO business competition, SCHC gave me another opportunity with the shopHERE program. Through this, I received more funding for my business, and collaborated with a professional designer to create my online website Setherealityy and help me showcase my business to the public.
Nonetheless, I still had to face several struggles along the way. With this program, I was also able to learn that entrepreneurship takes up a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Although I dodged working 6-8 hour shifts from a job, I faced the new challenge of spending almost 10+ hours a day allocating it towards my business. I can still remember the times of staying up late at night trying to design the perfect designs, constructing my website, planning my marketing campaign, etc. These times wanted to make me give up so badly, I always thought of failing and the thought of people not liking my designs at all. However, I knew that if I didn’t pursue this, I would regret it later in the future. I kept telling myself, “but what if I do succeed?” which motivated me to keep going.
In conclusion, the YEO program gave me a tremendous fundamental start to entrepreneurship and self-improvement. Thanks to the funding and resources that I have received from this program, I have all the tools I need to set up a successful business that I will be passionate about. The lovely and welcoming environment taught me that anyone could do anything as long as they put the work into it. Today, I still apply the skills I learned from this program to keep me productive and focused in my daily life, whether it comes to school, working out, or working on my business. Although I’m no Elon Musk yet, I can’t wait for what the future brings and the exciting challenges that I will face.
To learn more about the YEO Program, including what to expect, our prior competitions and how to register click here.