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Gimme Shelter: Toronto’s homeless youth receive $100,000 from TELUS for new housing and education programs


Eva’s Phoenix and SKETCH receive donations to help Toronto’s 10,000 homeless youth

Toronto, ON – The TELUS Toronto Community Board announced today that two Toronto charitable organizations helping at-risk youth will each receive $50,000 to launch new technology education programs and expand housing facilities. The funds will support some of the 10,000 homeless youth that call Toronto home.

Eva’s Phoenix combines long-term housing with concrete employment opportunities to get youth off the street and on a path to self-sufficiency. With its donation from the TELUS Toronto Community Board, the Eva’s Phoenix Print Shop will purchase a new wide-format digital imaging system for their youth technology program. This system will make a valuable contribution toward the program’s goal of doubling the number of youth securing full-time work over the next three years.

“Jobs are scarce right now. This new equipment further diversifies a Phoenix graduate’s skill set – a key factor in finding employment in today’s labour market,” said Andrew Macdonald, Manager of Social Enterprise at Eva’s Phoenix. “During times of economic uncertainties when other organizations are cutting back their support, we are delighted to receive this generous support from the TELUS Toronto Community Board.”

SKETCH is an arts initiative that creates opportunities for street-involved and homeless people to engage in the arts. SKETCH - winner of the 2008 Mayor’s Arts for Youth Award - will use the funding to give access to an additional 60 youth into the new Media Arts Playground Program that trains youth in digital media technology.

“The Media Arts Playground Program will introduce our youth participants to a new skill-set via digital technology, preparing them for more careers in the arts,” said Rudy Ruttimann, executive director, SKETCH. “We thank TELUS for their support in helping us develop potential by giving access to youth who are living in poverty and promote personal change through the power of art.”

Rita Burak, chair of the TELUS Toronto Community Board, said “These organizations are making monumental strides in helping homeless youth. The TELUS Toronto Community Board is very pleased to be helping Eva’s Phoenix and SKETCH expand their programs to help in places where kids need it most.”

The TELUS Toronto Community Board brings together community leaders and TELUS team members to make decisions about local philanthropic initiatives and funding to organizations including the Toronto Friendship Centre, Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) and Leave Out Violence. The Board will invest $600,000 in local community programs this year.

Toronto is one of nine TELUS Community Boards across Canada assisting charities that are making a difference. Since their inception in 2005, the TELUS Community Boards have allocated $16.9 million to local charities, supporting 1,205 community projects.


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