EDGES OF TORONTO: At Jane-Finch, PEACH keeps showing youth they matter

Opinion Jun 16, 2017 by Mike Adler North York Mirror

Community agencies change programs, change purposes, if they pay attention to the people they serve.

They lose funding, but the best hang in, because not to have them is unthinkable.

That’s true of PEACH, a Jane-Finch centre which has filled many roles over a quarter-century, and just went through the heartache of losing one.

Its School Away from School education program, after 10 years, was cut because PEACH couldn’t afford one worker the public school board thought it needed.

But PEACH – Promoting Education And Community Health – re-purposed its classrooms and is moving forward. Like the young people who come to its Eddystone Avenue building, it’s resilient.

Most people don’t expect much of these youth. Outside PEACH, they don’t often get asked what they want to be, or do, says Mary Lafontaine, managing director.

Many live in The Grassways, Toronto Community Housing townhouses scheduled to be torn down, sending them to another side of Jane Street, where they won’t feel welcome.

PEACH shows them everybody can turn their lives around. It’s given them somewhere to go, someone to talk to. Or a place where they can be left alone.

“A lot of them don’t share what’s banging around in their heads, and here they do, at least some of it,” Lafontaine says.

PEACH’s music program has been steady for 10 years. Terrence Penny started coming at 16. He’s now 22, and working four jobs, but still coming.

Penny recorded an EP here, then performed at the Sony Centre. “Every song I’ve ever made has come out of PEACH,” he says.

“The support here of everybody is crazy.”

Youth come from as far as Rexdale or Scarborough to learn music, says Dave Clarke, mentor and chef here, who DJs CIUT’s The Masterplan.

“Kids respect you when they see you grab a broom,” he adds.

But programs get funded, not the $12,000 a month PEACH needs to stay open. “Right now, we’re in more than a pickle as far as that’s concerned,” Clarke says.

Lafontaine says PEACH, which needs creative ways to cover costs, gets few donations. What could they use?

“Anything,” she says.

Reach Edges columnist Mike Adler at madler@insidetoronto.com

EDGES OF TORONTO: At Jane-Finch, Peach keeps showing youth they matter

Opinion Jun 16, 2017 by Mike Adler North York Mirror

Community agencies change programs, change purposes, if they pay attention to the people they serve.

They lose funding, but the best hang in, because not to have them is unthinkable.

That’s true of PEACH, a Jane-Finch centre which has filled many roles over a quarter-century, and just went through the heartache of losing one.

Its School Away from School education program, after 10 years, was cut because PEACH couldn’t afford one worker the public school board thought it needed.

But PEACH – Promoting Education And Community Health – re-purposed its classrooms and is moving forward. Like the young people who come to its Eddystone Avenue building, it’s resilient.

Most people don’t expect much of these youth. Outside PEACH, they don’t often get asked what they want to be, or do, says Mary Lafontaine, managing director.

Many live in The Grassways, Toronto Community Housing townhouses scheduled to be torn down, sending them to another side of Jane Street, where they won’t feel welcome.

PEACH shows them everybody can turn their lives around. It’s given them somewhere to go, someone to talk to. Or a place where they can be left alone.

“A lot of them don’t share what’s banging around in their heads, and here they do, at least some of it,” Lafontaine says.

PEACH’s music program has been steady for 10 years. Terrence Penny started coming at 16. He’s now 22, and working four jobs, but still coming.

Penny recorded an EP here, then performed at the Sony Centre. “Every song I’ve ever made has come out of PEACH,” he says.

“The support here of everybody is crazy.”

Youth come from as far as Rexdale or Scarborough to learn music, says Dave Clarke, mentor and chef here, who DJs CIUT’s The Masterplan.

“Kids respect you when they see you grab a broom,” he adds.

But programs get funded, not the $12,000 a month PEACH needs to stay open. “Right now, we’re in more than a pickle as far as that’s concerned,” Clarke says.

Lafontaine says PEACH, which needs creative ways to cover costs, gets few donations. What could they use?

“Anything,” she says.

Reach Edges columnist Mike Adler at madler@insidetoronto.com

EDGES OF TORONTO: At Jane-Finch, Peach keeps showing youth they matter

Opinion Jun 16, 2017 by Mike Adler North York Mirror

Community agencies change programs, change purposes, if they pay attention to the people they serve.

They lose funding, but the best hang in, because not to have them is unthinkable.

That’s true of PEACH, a Jane-Finch centre which has filled many roles over a quarter-century, and just went through the heartache of losing one.

Its School Away from School education program, after 10 years, was cut because PEACH couldn’t afford one worker the public school board thought it needed.

But PEACH – Promoting Education And Community Health – re-purposed its classrooms and is moving forward. Like the young people who come to its Eddystone Avenue building, it’s resilient.

Most people don’t expect much of these youth. Outside PEACH, they don’t often get asked what they want to be, or do, says Mary Lafontaine, managing director.

Many live in The Grassways, Toronto Community Housing townhouses scheduled to be torn down, sending them to another side of Jane Street, where they won’t feel welcome.

PEACH shows them everybody can turn their lives around. It’s given them somewhere to go, someone to talk to. Or a place where they can be left alone.

“A lot of them don’t share what’s banging around in their heads, and here they do, at least some of it,” Lafontaine says.

PEACH’s music program has been steady for 10 years. Terrence Penny started coming at 16. He’s now 22, and working four jobs, but still coming.

Penny recorded an EP here, then performed at the Sony Centre. “Every song I’ve ever made has come out of PEACH,” he says.

“The support here of everybody is crazy.”

Youth come from as far as Rexdale or Scarborough to learn music, says Dave Clarke, mentor and chef here, who DJs CIUT’s The Masterplan.

“Kids respect you when they see you grab a broom,” he adds.

But programs get funded, not the $12,000 a month PEACH needs to stay open. “Right now, we’re in more than a pickle as far as that’s concerned,” Clarke says.

Lafontaine says PEACH, which needs creative ways to cover costs, gets few donations. What could they use?

“Anything,” she says.

Reach Edges columnist Mike Adler at madler@insidetoronto.com