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December 15, 2004
Help for youth is here, say Chanté, Flex, City of Toronto and Toronto Community Housing
At a special ceremony at Jane-Finch Mall, Keshia Chanté, Farley Flex, the City
of Toronto, Toronto Community Housing, and a variety of youth artists and
representatives launched two new resource tools that help send and reinforce
the message that when youth are in crisis, help is here. The Community Safety
Secretariat's youth trauma cards and Toronto Community Housing's 2-1-1 cards
are both designed to connect youth quickly with the services they need when
coping with trauma or crisis. The 2-1-1 cards complement the trauma cards by
providing easy access to all services available to young people whether in a
crisis situation or needing information on a more everyday situation.

The youth trauma cards were designed by youth for youth, to provide easily
accessible services when most needed. The goal of the four cards, which will be
distributed to community agencies, youth workers and at City events over the
coming months, is to put in place some critical connections not to a recorded
message, but instead to a live person who can provide support immediately. To
ensure that youth connect with the cards, young artists Jerome Grant and
Rebecca Tesfagiorgis were employed to create original illustrations for the set
of four cards.

"In times of crisis, the public often focuses on who has committed the
violence. But what about the youth who are victims?" said Kehinde Bah, the
youth representative on the Mayor's Safety Panel. "Youth are much more the
victims of violence than they are the perpetrators, and these cards are part of
a response that recognizes the need to help youth cope with the trauma and the
crisis that violence causes."

In the Spring of 2004, a group of tenants from Toronto Community Housing
recognized that youth are generally unaware of the many community services and
resources that exist to support them, and committed to increase youth access to
resources by launching a project called Youth Accessing Resources (YAR). The
result of this project, which engaged 17 youth in leadership development
sessions, is a workshop and a rave card that highlights the 2-1-1 number and
the types of services youth can connect with. The 2-1-1 cards are designed by
and for youth, as were the workshops. These young leaders have delivered
workshops to over 200 youths in Toronto Community Housing locations. The 2-1-1
cards will be distributed over the next few months to Toronto Community Housing

"Youth are the real bricks and mortar that hold communities together," said Dr.
Mitchell Kosny, Chair of Toronto Community Housing. "And that's why Toronto
Community Housing puts so much effort into working with our young people on
projects like the 2-1-1 card."

The Mayor's Safety Plan outlines a multi-pronged approach to supporting youth
in the City of Toronto. One approach is the recognition that over the years,
youth have experienced tragic loss of life and serious injury, resulting from
the increased prevalence of guns in Toronto. The plan also recognizes that
youth are more the victims of crime than they are the perpetrators, and that
youth need appropriate services to ensure their health and well-being. Both the
trauma cards and the 2-1-1 rave cards are examples of how the City and Toronto
Community Housing are working together to connect youth with the services they
need, when they need them.

Media Contacts:
Manjit Jheeta, Manager, Community Safety Secretariat, 416-392-8684
Sheila Kirouac, Toronto Community Housing, 416-981-4344
Sean Cordner, SONY BMG Music (Canada) Inc., 416-586-1662



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