St. Stephen's Community House

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The Neighbourhood Group Neighbourhoods Working Together
St. Stephen's Community House


P. Anneka LynchAbove and beyond

GameChangers makes youth feel safe, empowered and resilient

Two feuding students avoided expulsion through mediation. One student had formal charges withdrawn by participating in restorative justice measures. Another student and family navigated the justice system and were connected to housing, mental health and primary health care resources. These are just a few examples of what the Game Changers program is all about.

P. Anneka Lynch, Youth Justice Worker, sees first-hand what Game Changers can do. “I came to the Youth Arcade when I was younger and worked there as a volunteer and Peer Leader. I even worked on the Arcade’s Born in the Hood book. But being part of Game Changers has given me broader insight into young folks in two very different settings: school, and the communal/familial setting of the new Youth Justice location at Keele and Finch. When young people feel unheard, disenfranchised and unmotivated, they can make poor decisions. Game Changers helps them find connections, so they feel safe, empowered and resilient.”

By building the bond between youth and peer leaders/staff, Game Changers helps young people in school understand themselves better so that they can make better choices in the future. Through the holistic process, staff also help young people navigate school, the justice system, and family. And our Enhanced Game Changers program goes beyond the typical 9 to 5 hours, offering help during evenings and weekends when it wouldn’t be available otherwise.

But self-awareness doesn’t stop with the youth. “While helping with Game Changers, I’ve grown too. Just like the people we help, I’ve been able to learn, laugh and trust.”

Read more stories / Read more stories from the 2019/2020 Annual Report