YEP Named Recipient of .CA Community Investment Program

May 28th 2015: Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is proud to announce that it is one of the recipients of the .CA Community Investment Program for 2015. The .CA Community Investment Program was created by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and supports projects that will improve Canada’s Internet community. The program provides funding for research, infrastructure, online services or digital literacy projects.

“[Canada’s not-for-profit] sector has an important role to play in our collective national response to the most persistent and pressing digital divides. Our .CA Community Investment Program is designed to ensure that these innovators have the resources they need to experiment with solutions and deliver necessary new services,” said Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA.

YEP’s innovative program that trains at-risk youth to teach computer skills to disadvantaged adults and seniors from the same language/cultural background has so far been replicated in 5 communities. Despite the demand for the YEP program in several other Canadian cities, YEP’s replication has been limited to Toronto, as training is currently structured to be delivered in-person.

With support from the.CA Community Investment Program, YEP is now working towards making its United Nations award winning computer training program and curriculum available to all Canadian communities. Expansion will be done through an online platform, with webinars and an online replication toolkit comprised of training modules and videos that will be accessible to the public. With this initiative, other organizations can operate YEP at their facilities, and thousands of disadvantaged adults and seniors across Canada will be trained in digital literacy.

After-school program lets youth help their parents learn

GlobalNews– Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is a free after-school program that enables youth to educate adults.

“Youth Empowering Parents is a pretty unique educational program that leverages an existing household dynamic,” said Agazi Afewerki, co-founder of the program. “In a lot of immigrant families, kids often teach their own parents a lot of English and computers skills. The program had an idea of, let’s bring that into a classroom.”

Rather than a traditional classroom with an instructor, the program trains youth with the skills to act as effective volunteer tutors for parents and adults in the community.

“As principal of Nelson Mandela Park Public School, I feel it’s really important that we embody this idea that school is the heart of the community,” said Jason Kandankery. “To have children build their communication skills, build their confidence and have parents learn how to better use technology right here in this school.”

Classes run for ninety minutes over the course of twelve weeks, focusing on either conversational English or basic computer skills.

“I come in and I’m always inspired by the students,” said Sally Hakim, facilitator of Youth Empowering Parents. “They start off in the program and they say, I don’t know if I can be a leader; if I can tutor someone who’s older than me. And then they sit down and they flourish in that atmosphere.”

YEP wins top prestigious Life Literacy Award

In its third year, the Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award recognizes community organizations that have developed and delivered innovative literacy programs that make a significant impact on their communities. Each year the top winner shares the details of their winning program in a national webinar for Canadian literacy practitioners to help build capacity in the literacy field.

ABC Life Literacy Canada announced Youth Empowering Parents as the top winner during the annual Life Literacy Night celebration on Thursday, September 18, 2014.


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At YEP, students do the teaching

Classes continue through the weekend for 14-year-old Mazharul Khan, only these classes take place at the Daniels Centre of Learning Regent Park instead of at his school; and here, he is the one teaching.

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In Regent Park, students become the teachers

Student volunteer Thivija Ramajeyam and program participant Johura Jaigirdar chat in a classroom at the Regent Park Learning Centre on Feb. 3, 2011. Mohammed Shafique, a 23-year-old commerce graduate from Regent Park, is looking for funding to support a program the women are involved with called Youth Empowering Parents, in which students form Regent Park teach newcomer parents English and computer skills.

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A twist on mother tongues

Youth Empowering Parents is a three-hour weekend ESL and computer skills class. Each adult is paired with a young volunteer from the same linguistic and cultural background.

She decided to come to YEP when her children got frustrated with trying to teach her English.

Her teacher is Hoore Jannat, 13.

“I came because I like helping people,” says Jannat, who was born in Bangladesh but came to Canada at age three.

Jaigirdar says working with Jannat is more like learning from a friend than a teacher. “If I don’t understand something, she can explain it to me in my own language,” she says.

The program, run out of the Regent Park Centre of Learning, wrapped up a pilot session in December. The second semester began on the weekend.

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It all happens in an ordinary-looking ESL classroom: six opposite-facing wide-screen monitors that display typing programs and the odd YouTube video or online games for students who finish early. And, on this particular weekend at the Regent Park Centre of Learning, an ordinary end-of-semester event is taking place, as students and teachers alike receive accolades of distinction for their progress and hard work. But at Youth Empowering Parents, that’s where the similarities to most other ESL programs in Toronto end. Here, the teachers are still in public school and the students are twice their age.

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