Yussef lives in Regent Park, Canada’s oldest and largest social housing complex, operated by Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC). It has over 5,000 residents, a third of whom have only recently arrived to Canada. It contains high levels of poverty, crime, and a disproportionately high population of youth and immigrants.
Yussef joined YEP in March 2012. At that time, an inquiry by a local newspaper revealed that between March 26 2012 and May 28 2012, police counted close to 90 bullets fired in five different incidents in Regent Park.
Youth Empowering Parents has given Yussef the opportunity to change the perception of youth in his Regent Park community.
“YEP is a contrast to all of the negative things that happen in my neighborhood,” he says. “Just by living here, us youth aren’t viewed in a positive light, even if we aren’t guilty of anything. Here, we get to show a side that many didn’t know existed.”
The program has provided him with an opportunity to mature and positively impact the lives of many adults in the process. He has educated and empowered 4 Regent Park adults in his time at YEP.
“Many adults can live here for many years and still feel like they just came to Canada. This program is taking steps in the right direction, and is getting them integrated into Canada.”