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Low-profile mentoring program gets results

The Toronto Star writes on Toronto's Centre for Youth Development and Mentoring Services, a non-profit mentoring program that works with youth vulnerable to gangs and drugs. Started by four friends -- Alihashi, Abdifatah Warsame, Ali Sheikh and Abdi Qami -- in 2006, the program has had tremendous success. None of the 300 teens who participated have dropped out of school and many have gone on to higher education.

"The program has carried on quietly for five years, keeping a low profile; but its results have been miraculous. None of the 300-odd teens who participated in the program have dropped out of school. Their grades have gone from low C's and D's to high B's and, in some cases, A's. And many have gone on to college and university."

"But most of all, the teens have stayed out of trouble ó away from the street crime that has plagued the community."

It's a well-documented fact that children from Somali, Arab, Iranian, Portuguese and Vietnamese communities have a dropout rate two to three times greater than the national average.The four Somali-Canadian friends, in their 30s, could never wrap their heads around those numbers. Back in 2006, they chatted about how they could help teens in their community."

"They (teens) faced the same problems as we did," says Alihashi. "Poor neighbourhoods, low-income families. We made it through school and based on our experiences, we wanted to help other kids."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star
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