Publication:

Journal Pioneer - 2021-11-24

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Home sweet home

Prince County

MEOSHE THOMPSON meoshe.thompson@saltwire.com

SUMMERSIDE - Standing at the front of an empty room, Barb Broome knew it was the new beginning she had hoped for. After months of preparation and searching for fundraising, the executive director was finally satisfied the East Prince Youth Development Centre (EPYDC) had a place to call home. For three years, Broome and her staff searched for a location for the revamped centre, which caters to youth looking for employment. Located in Holland College's Summerside Waterfront Campus at 98 Water Street, the centre is open and filled with all the tools needed to start career and employment opportunities. EPYDC now offers access to three computers, three learning centres (classrooms), a board room, six offices for staff to meet individually with youth and a space for children whose parents are meeting with staff. Broome said the new centre provides EPYDC with the freedom it has long needed. “It allows us to be more of what we want East Prince Development Centre to be.” “We really outgrew our space and had more clients than staff and needed a place to host them,” Broome added. The resilience of Broome and her staff has also landed the centre provincial and federal funding under the Employment Assistant Services (EAS) program for three years. The provincial government provides funding for core staffing, and the federal government attains and assesses proposals for program funding from Broome. “When showed how determined we were and what the need was, it worked for us in the long run that we were able to convince everyone that the centre is needed,” Broome said. Currently, funding supports two career practitioners who offer one-on-one support to 115 clients in the Prince County area. With new staff, funding and a larger space, the centre offers a Solutions to Employment Program (STEP). The STEP program allows attendees to spend 10 weeks in the classroom, learning how to present themselves, building resumes and cover letters, among other things. Upon finishing the program, participants have the opportunity to head out for a 15-week work experience. The classroom component will end on Dec. 3, with another intake beginning the first week in March. Jenna Gallant, who has been a regular with EPYDC, said she has learned new things since starting the STEP program. “I’m learning different stuff and how to properly get a job and how to dress. We have experienced different courses like first aid and CPR, which I know will definitely help our community.” “Since I started, I’m a very different person. I’ve grown a lot,” Gallant added. Gallant said the new space has made it more enjoyable for her. “I feel it is a much more comfortable environment now that it is a bigger space,” she said. The team at EPYDC hopes the reopening will help them explore and venture into newer programs within the province.

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