Over the summer, a 12-week initiative entitled SERVE was run at Eva’s Place as part of the Independent Living Programming. It provided youth residents with new opportunities for personal development, team work, and community involvement. Participants set their own learning goals and got a chance to build confidence, self-esteem, life skills, and work experience. Below are favourite highlights of the experience in the words of participants, student facilitators, and the program coordinator.

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“A workshop that stands out was The Stop Community Food Centre garden experience. The youth were provided organic, in-grown ingredients to whip up a meal to enjoy. While skeptical throughout the process of making the food, the youth were taken back by the taste palette the self-prepared meal offered, and some were even inspired to pursue cooking at The Stop in future programs.” (Yash, student facilitator)

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“This is a picture of some of us on our way to Pride celebrations. SERVE was so amazing! I had so much fun meeting new people and attending events. We loved taking pictures to capture all the special moments together.” (Ria, youth participant)

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“I love how all of our personalities shine through in the photo. This is one of many silly moments where we had the chance to grow and learn to work together through playing. Some of my favourite moments during SERVE were spontaneous and created by us. After childhood, most of us are forced to put “play” by the wayside … during SERVE, we made sure to integrate fun into each day.” (Trudie, program coordinator)

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“This picture was taken at Woodbine Beach. We had a picnic, played soccer and even starred in a music video.” (Shenhab, student facilitator)

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“I was so happy to go to the Harbourfront. During SERVE, I got to explore my new city, learn, and have fun!” (Afeez, youth participant)

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“We attended a camping trip in Huntsville, Ontario, where we shared many memories together. This was taken on the second day of our camping trip. I had the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon barbequing with one of the incredible participants in this program. It was one of the highlights of my experience.” (Jon, student facilitator)

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“I enjoyed my placement at LOFT Kitchen and the camping trip that we had before graduation. This is a picture of us celebrating at our graduation.” (Cece, youth participant)

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“As SERVE approached to an end, a graduation was held to celebrate the participants’ successes. It was bittersweet. This moment was one of my favorite times. As I was giving a hug to a participant, another one jumped and hugged me from the back. I felt proud of my accomplishments of being able to impact these lives.” (An-Nura, student facilitator)

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