Our Impact on Youth

Choosing Peace over Violence

Ray, age 24 years, initially came to ECLYPSE to hang out with friends and to meet with one of the teachers of the on-site alternative education program offered through the Peel District School Board. Due to his age Ray was redirected to address his educational needs through an Adult Learning Program. After a few more visits to ECLYPSE, Ray felt comfortable enough to ask for assistance from the staff concerning some complex life issues. ECLYPSE staff helped Ray connect with an outreach worker from Street Helpline Peel, who in turn helped him access social assistance and stable housing. Ray had a long involvement with street gangs and was frequently in conflict with the police, on one occasion resulting in the loss of a full-time job with a major retailer.

Ray possesses many leadership qualities, which he was able to tap into with regular counselling sessions with the staff at ECLYPSE, as well as, with the staff of the on-site African Community Services. As a result, Ray made some life altering decisions. He began to explore his love of music in a focused manner and began writing poetry as well as rap lyrics addressing his life experiences. He has steadily made positive life choices during the past year and has left negative peers behind. Ray also participated in the ECLYPSE Talent Show, both as a contestant and as a volunteer. Through this event, Ray emerged with clearer life goals and plans to go to university to study theology. He has worked on applying for a pardon of his criminal charges and hopes one day to work to inspire youth to choose peace over aggression. He has emerged as a calming influence and an inspiring role model to younger street involved peers.

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