Eva’s Print Shop is a full-service digital printer and social enterprise that opens doors for youth experiencing homelessness. The Print Shop’s goals are to be a self-sustainable business providing a paid employment training course and employment opportunities for youth. The program also strives to foster a community of support through connections with businesses, schools, and other local organizations that use the Print Shop for services or to employ program graduates.
“You can only build experience if you are given the opportunity to get experience,” explains Jonathan Gault, Manager of the Eva’s Print Shop. “Lots of youth who come through here have phenomenal skills and get the opportunity to experiment in a low-pressure environment.” Youth learn the operations of the graphics and print sector, from making t-shirts and creating logos and digital art, to the ins and outs of print production.
Youth equally benefit from the soft skills they learn. “Mentorship is a big piece for anyone when growing up and a lot of young people have lost this piece in their life,” explains Jonathan. “It’s good to set an example for the youth in this safe space. Here youth can learn the value of communication, professionalism, and being part of a team.”
With the ongoing pandemic, helping the youth at Eva’s build resilience is key to them overcoming new obstacles, such as loss of work hours or employment. While the Print Shop was affected, the print production team pivoted to different service offerings to maintain the business. In addition, Eva’s connected the Print Shop to its Youth Succeeding in Employment Program (YSEP), providing courses online and sustaining paid work experiences. By providing youth with access to a comprehensive complement of services and supports, the program works to meet youth’s individual needs.
“Confidence is one of the biggest things youth develop when they leave Eva’s or the Print Shop,” says Jonathan, “They can approach challenges a little more sure-footedly with confidence knowing ‘I’ve done this before; I can do this again.’”