Written by Dave Bedini, Program Lead - Construction and Property Maintenance

Paul Buzzin from LPC Limited  recently approached our team at Eva’s Phoenix with an opportunity. His company is handling all the painting at our new Eva’s Phoneix build. Paul reached out to the Ontario Industrial and Finishing Skills Centre to facilitate a 2 week modified pre apprenticeship program for graduates from our Construction and Property Maintenance Program. The successful participants will then be immediately starting a job placement with LPC.

Ongoing training and experiences are what our youth are asking for and we are thrilled that Paul and his company were proactive in helping us provide opportunities for a fresh start. We look forward to sharing stories from the youth who participate in this apprenticeship.

We asked Paul to take some time to answer our 10 Questions, a new series that aims to shed a little light on the many supporters and friends that are helping Eva’s achieve our goal of ending youth homelessness.

Why are you committed to supporting Toronto’s homeless and at-risk youth?
The short answer is that about 14 years ago I was invited to participate in a youth training program at Eva’s and it turned out to be one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. The longer answer is because when I was in my late teens and early 20s, I spent a lot of time in and around the Dundas / Yonge area and got to know quite a few younger people who were living on the outer fringes of society. I became friends with a few and got to know some of the difficulties and hurdles they faced. I have seen a few succeed in turning around their lives but also many who didn’t. It is a much better world when you can see more successes than failures.

What made you decide to invest your money and time into supporting Eva’s?
Quite frankly, I see a lot of people worried about homeless and at risk puppies and kittens. I do support what PETA does, but maybe more of us need to be concerned about homeless and at risk people …..also I could use a little bit of good Karma.

What did you dream about being as a child?
As a young child I wanted to be an architect….once I hit puberty, that all changed. I wanted to be King of the World…..and the world of my dreams was truly Utopia…I still dream of a utopian world

Tell me about your proudest achievement.
I am proud of some of things I have accomplished but haven’t yet  reached my proudest achievement….still working on that.

If you had five minutes to speak with a homeless youth, what advice or support would you offer them?
I would offer two pieces of advice. One is that no matter how bleak you think your world is…there are many, many people who have it worse with less opportunity to change their life. There are also those whose life you think is good, but you don’t know their problems, and how they feel. If outward appearances defined a good life you wouldn’t have people like Robin Williams deciding that life was not worth living anymore. We all have it tough, one way or the other. The second piece of advice I would offer is that there is truth to the idea that it takes about two months to make or break a habit. If you can put your mind to something and stick it out for two months and really work at it….you are very likely to see the results

Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
I have had various great influences. One is my dad, who taught me by example that we should be willing to help those who need help. Both my grandfather’s taught me the value of integrity. One of my grandfathers, if he walked into a store for any reason, would always buy something…even something as small as a pack of gum. He believed if you took that persons time, you owed them something in return. My other grandfather just never got angry or let anything trivial bother him. He never had a cross word with anyone.  I am not particularly religious but Jesus seemed to offer a lot of sage advice (as did other great philosophers such as Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-Tzu)

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
Occasionally try performing some stand-up comedy in clubs. I write well but my performance on stage needs work. I have also done quite a few levels of Improv at Second City.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Ultimately Italy, but anywhere is great. I have travelled quite a bit and find other places and cultures fascinating.

If you could choose one superhero power, what would it be and why?
I would have to say my superpower would be the ability to make people laugh regardless of the situation…. To make someone laugh in the face of adversity… that’s power.

What is the last book you read?
The last novel I have read is “A Dictionary of Maqiao” which is a novel about a University Professor who is sent to live in a small farming village during the Cultural Revolution in China (1960s). It is actually a collection of short stories dealing with the everyday life of the people in that village…. petty squabbles, family grudges, poverty, infidelities, and some of the interesting characters who live there…fascinating reading

 

Want to contribute to our blog?

Thanks for getting involved! Check out our submission guidelines before you get started.

Find out more