Teach2Learn (T2L) is a local grassroots organization that hosts a weekly program, “Academic Youth Success” which has created a space for Latinx youth to come together and participate in educational workshops. These workshops cover topics like: youth engagement, mediation, mindfulness, financial planning, public speaking, being a newcomer, racism, sexism, and other important topics. There are no other programs in the community that aim to help the growing Latinx community in Toronto and Jane and Finch. T2L’s goal is to bring together local Latinx youth and expand their sense of community and awareness by sharing their personal experiences in a safe space and exploring future professional goals.
The program developed a mentorship portion and it is attended by both mentors and mentees from the Latinx community. Mentees are paired up and provide guidance, connection, and the right resources for the youths’ needs. This includes sharing job opportunities, resume building, learning about the post-secondary process and ensuring the transition from high school to post-secondary is smooth and most importantly encouraged. T2L also provides dinner and bus fare so youth can easily access the workshops.
Academic Youth Success has been rewarding to both youth and mentors alike. Ebony, one of the mentors explains how this has been a positive experience for her:
“Being a mentor has been such a rewarding experience. I have been able to see the youth grow in so many areas of their lives through mentorship. It is exciting to see them become more confident, outspoken and comfortable in their own skin. Listening to the youth’s experiences has also pushed me to grow and allowed me to learn from them. Mentorship is extremely important because it provides our youth support and encouragement to confront life’s various adversities and helps us as mentors reflect on our lives and grow along with the youth. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a mentor.”
Youth are also given the opportunity to volunteer at local events and receive community service hours via the initiative. Reference letters are also provided for youth who require them in job applications or for their studies. The program is attended by Canadian-Latinx and newcomers in the area between the ages of 14-20.
One of the program attendees, Daniel, explains how the program has immensely helped his transition to Canada after he arrived just a year ago,
“Joining Teach2Learn last year was one of the best things that have happened to me here in Toronto. Leaving your country, your family and friends to pursue your dreams is a difficult step and trying to fit in a culture where you are an ‘outsider’ is tough. However, in the program, I found my Latin-Canadian family, a safe place where I can count on their support at any time. I feel like this place contributes to the construction of a better society. With the different workshops and the tutoring opportunities that the program offers, I have been able to know more things about this country, connect with its people and visualize the different ways in which you can succeed from your position as a young person. I have been able to improve my English skills and feel more confident using them, helping my community and volunteering in different events and spaces. I’ve also made friends at the program that have made this transition more joyful and smooth. Mondays may seem draining but after each workshop, you are re-charged to face the rest of the week with the greatest energy.”
The program runs on Mondays during the school year at Casa Maiz near Keele and Finch. This year the organization is expanding the program to two times a week with an additional session on Tuesdays at El Centro para Gente de Habla Hispana at Jane and Wilson. Teach2Learn also provides a summer camp for children and tutoring throughout the school year.
To learn more or donate to their programs visit https://www.teach2learn.ca/ or follow them on Instagram and Facebook @teach2learn.to