Twelve years after opening its flagship centre downtown, the Youth Stars Foundation has a new location in D.D.O. (although programming is temporarily being offered online because of the pandemic).
Founded in April 2008, this non-profit organization provides leadership and empowerment programs to help kids and teenagers build life skills and boost self-esteem.
Programs aim to help build life skills
Youth Stars was created, says Director Malik Shaheed, to offer programs that will help kids later in life. For example, it offers a March break and summer camp, where the kids play sports, learn to code and about financial literacy, and do arts and science-based activities.
Youth Stars also has the Anti-Bullying Tour, where kids in school are taught how to identify and help a victim of bullying, and how to encourage the bully to change his or her habits and attitudes. There is also a Black History Tour, which is about breaking stereotypes and helping the public learn about the contributions blacks have made to society outside of the sports and entertainment fields. All of its programs, except for the camps, are free.
The programs are open to kids from all over Montreal
Though its flagship centre is located downtown, Shaheed says that the West Island became the primary market over the years because many of its programs took place at Riverdale High School in Pierrefonds. When Riverdale closed in 2019, it left a void so Shaheed found a new location in D.D.O this fall.
Some of the programs that will be offered at the new location include the Youth Leadership Empowerment Program for kids ages 5 to 12, where they will be taught financial literacy and coding for example; the Homework Club for elementary school students, where the students are tutored in anything they may be having trouble; and the Multimedia Program for teenagers 13-17 who will learn social media responsibility, video editing as well as journalism skills, such as how to be a reporter, create podcasts, make video-blogs etc.
Different programs and activities will be added every week so parents and kids are encouraged to check the website for updates. Programs are offered to kids all over Montreal. Registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The new location is at the Lutheran church, 57 Westpark Blvd. For more information about programs currently being offered, visit youthstarsfoundation.org.