by David Lockett
As with all of our 23 years as a registered charity, we planned for 2017 by asking: How can we improve our programs and better meet the core needs of the youth and communities we serve?
The answers, and the solution we envisioned, are articulated in this annual report.
This year has been remarkable. The improvements have involved every program and aspect of what we do.
Our Grow-to-Learn School Gardening Program facilitated over 4000 student visits, all of whom took part in experiential curriculum-linked lessons and workshops in multiple subjects, designed for Grades 1-12. Our weekly Garden Markets in the low-income community of Lawrence West provided a hot meal and fresh vegetables to over 100 families in need during the growing season, from June to October. This program expanded this past year – be sure to read all the highlights.
This past August, we wrapped up our very successful first year of the PACT LifePlan Coaching program for high-risk, repeat offender youth in Belleville, Ontario. In partnership with the youth courts, the idea behind this program is to break the cycle of criminal behavior in the highest-risk youth before they get caught for life in the adult criminal justice system.
I want to give a special shout out to our life coach Will Manos and Toronto manager Catalina Chaux for doing a fantastic job. Also to Ben Marshall, for his commitment to develop and support the Belleville LifePlan Coaching Program.
Many congratulations to all of our dedicated staff because they are the heroes doing the hard work in the trenches every day.
Envisioning the Future
PACT is highly committed to building an integrated best practice, scaleable program model in partnership with our educational system and our social infrastructures to transform one priority neighbourhood, Lawrence West. We are convinced that community partnerships with our social institutions is the path to build the models which will transform all of our underserved communities.
This is not a far off unrealistic wish – it is an attainable goal. As a society we have the capital, resources and talent to easily achieve this. For me personally, the thing that I am most excited about is creating the environment to unleash the remarkable, untapped potential of every youth when we equal the playing field and provide them with all of the best resources to find their path and live their dreams.
And I believe as Canadians we possess the innate compassion, kindness and drive to build the models and solutions for urban peace that will change our world.