The East End Boys Club Society works primarily with marginalized youth between the ages of 13 - 19. We also have an Alumni Group who continues to participate in our weekly meetings and provides mentorship to younger members. Our goal is to provide life-skills training, socio-emotional support, and post secondary guidance to pursue higher education in both academic and trades skills. The EEBC also provides a variety of bursaries and scholarships to qualified members. EEBC members further learn from guest speakers, mentors and donors, who share their stories of adversity and resilience, and who help mentor our youth to become people of integrity.
The truth for today’s youth is that the temptations of street and gang life, coupled with the very real lack of a support system for many, means that issues with addiction, mental health and poor life choices can present innumerable roadblocks. For some, parental guidance, good role models and the right mentors are either compromised or do not exist at all. Sergeant Kevin Torvak of the VPD offered this: “This program works. Young men who were destined for the gang life were literally saved!” That is why the EEBC sees as its primary mission to provide the support that will develop strong, empathetic, compassionate young men who will not only learn to respect all aspects of their lives, but to also appreciate and engage with art and culture, in effect, becoming lifelong learners.
To that end, the EEBC is determined to help our members keep from becoming the statistics that seem to dominate the news cycles. Boys are more susceptible to suicide, boys are more likely to drop out of school, boys are more often diagnosed with mental health issues, boys are more often bullied and boys are more often the bullies. This cycle alienates and marginalizes, leaving behind a trail of personal and sometimes physical destruction. The EEBC was created with the generous support of donors, many mentors, and concerned parents, to counteract the slide into immobility. One of our founding donors, Francesco Aquilini, stated, “I’ve personally witnessed the positive impact this program has had on so many young men!” Our approach is one that engages, that looks at our members as individuals, that assesses their lives and peer group. At the EEBC, self-realization, recognizing potential, being of value are mantras, and we endeavour to be the organization that provides that “hand up”, that thoughtful word and someone our youth can turn to when needed.
Other organizations with similar missions work hard within their spheres to address common issues affecting our youth, particularly boys. They provide similar services but the EEBC goes further because our approach is highly individualized and looks at the complete person, not just the problem.
Self-actualization, self-realization, along with learning to be dependable and accountable for one's actions are the bedrocks of the EEBC. We look at each individual's particular circumstances and work with the member to not only recognize their potential but to also reach it. From free counselling from a registered professional, to ongoing mentorship from successful men in our communities, to leadership seminars, to ongoing programs and even financial aid when needed, the EEBC saves one individual at a time. For those interested in post secondary pursuits and trades skills training, we offer a variety of bursary options to support their endeavours.
The founder of the EEBC, James (Jim) Crescenzo has been working with theatre, movie and television productions for forty years and has established a relationship with that community that has enabled our boys to learn film-making, writing, technical applications, stagecraft and innumerable other skills. This has translated into a set of the best confidence builders anywhere as they learn real job skills, while growing mentally, ethically and academically. This whole aspect of the EEBC is highlighted every year after our summer camps when the organization puts on a gala evening of entertainment, all highlighting members' work. The affirmation of the hard work, dedication and time the boys put in over the summer brings them recognition that is positive, genuine and unquestionably, character-building. In short...a unique approach.
Our programs encompass diverse subjects such as academics, athletics, self-protection, personal health, personal finance, career exploration, entertainment and a plethora of other life-skills needed, particularly in today's world.