St. Stephen's Community House

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St. Stephen's Community House


Enhanced Game ChangersCalling the Game

Francisco’s phone call to Enhanced Game Changers saved his life

When a spray of gunshots injured his sister, Francisco knew he had to stop the violence pervading his life. A quick call to our Enhanced Game Changers team was the start.

The Enhanced Game Changers program helps racialized youth who live with the constant threat of violence: street, family, sexual or cyber. Peer youth workers on the team work beyond 9:00 to 5:00, responding to immediate outbreaks of violence with conflict coaching, de-escalation, emergency planning, trauma counselling and referrals to legal support when necessary. And the work doesn’t stop there: the team provides workshops, referrals for mental and physical health issues, and employment assistance. The support goes beyond any single incident and focuses on addressing the root causes of the cycle of violence.

In 2020, the Enhanced Game Changers program expanded services in Oakwood Village by establishing a working relationship with the Oakwood Collegiate high school. The private, youth-friendly space is managed by Enhanced Game Changers staff with lived experience of the systemic violence in the area, and the location improves response time and access for youth in the school, and in the community.

That access saved Francisco. His late night call brought the Enhanced Game Changers team to his side. They spoke throughout the night, providing immediate support for his family, and for himself the next day when police arrested him for his part in the violence. The team supported him through the legal process, offered referrals for trauma counselling, and today, provides ongoing support to help him navigate his way out of a life of violence.

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