Shelly Bordensky is the JCC Inclusion Services support worker for PRISM. (photo from JCCGV)
A new program at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver aims to equip 13-to-17-year-olds with leadership skills, personal insights and paid work experience. Funded by a grant from the Diamond Foundation, the Pre-employment Program for At-Risk Youth within an Inclusive Supportive Modality (PRISM) is seeking referrals of young people who could benefit from this supportive introduction to the world of work. The workshops begin March 23 and meet weekly on Thursdays, 3:30-7 p.m. The referral deadline is March 9.
“Our definition for youth who may benefit from this program is intentionally broad,” said JCC Inclusion Services support worker Shelly Bordensky. “The goal of the program is to limit risk factors for youth, such as social exclusion – youth who may live in lone-parent homes; are recent immigrants or refugees; are living with mental health challenges or diverse abilities; are historically underserved; or are otherwise marginalized – by building skills, networks of support, and exposure to possible future career paths in Jewish communal work.”
“When you care about a teenager, whether as a parent or other trusted adult, you are keenly aware that raising a child includes preparing them for life out in the real world,” added JCC social worker Lisa Cohen Quay. “The amazing part of the PRISM program is that it isn’t just about a first job. Sessions include learning about what jobs exist in Jewish agencies, meeting with a vocational counselor, writing a resumé, taking care of your mental well-being, and so much more – not the least of which is the opportunity to try working in an area of interest at the JCC.”
Quay further explained that this paid work opportunity also gives teens an adult employer to serve as a vital future reference. “It will be wonderful if this program excites teens to come be part of the work force with those of us serving in Jewish agencies, or in another community centre,” she said. “The relationships and insights they develop in PRISM can set them on that course.”
PRISM is an offering of JCC Inclusion Services, under the direction of Leamore Cohen. For more information and accessibility supports, Cohen can be contacted at [email protected] or 604-638-7288.
– Courtesy Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver