The pandemic won’t stop a fundraising Walk-A-Thon from happening for this organization. The East scarborough Boys and Girls Club (ESBGC) is raising funds for their Be Boundless: Soles and Steps campaign, which will go towards the many programs and services they offer for families within the Galloway community in Scarborough.
The fundraising goal is $10,000 dollars. They hope to continue their work surrounding diversity and equity, providing services to over 5,000 children and youth.
The marathon will begin online on Saturday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants are encouraged to take photos or film themselves walking in a space, socially distancing from others, and post on their social media platforms.
Ashley Abdul is the Communications Assistant for the EsBGC.
“We serve people from age 0, all the way into their early twenties. The Boys and Girls club is a space for people to just come through and participate in programming. We have breakfast, we have after school programming, and summer camp,” said Abdul.
Kingston-Galloway is a diverse neighbourhood in Scarborough Village with a population of 23,427 people. The community has a high percentage of low income families at 33 per cent (compared to the Toronto average of 19 per cent) with a high concentration of these families living in the immediate Kingston-Galloway area. 70 per cent of the community is a visible minority, with a quarter identifying as Black.
32.5 per cent of families with children are single-parent families. Kingston-Galloway has the highest density of Toronto Community Housing units in Toronto. Gang violence and criminal activity has also scarred the neighbourhood. Less than half of the youth complete post-secondary education.
“I think one of the most important things is that we provide a safe space. Youth do not have to worry about where they are going to go after school. We do not want kids wandering around the streets which could propel them into unsafe activities,” said Abdul. “At Esbgc, they can relax, they can feel safe, they can feel understood and just talk.”
In 2019, Be Boundless consisted of an international exchange to Ghana that provided 10 youth the opportunity to travel. They were exposed to cultural traditions that were celebrated within the African communities, developed environmentally sustainable practices, and explored historical moments.
The trip was meant to install in these ten youth confidence within themselves that they can bring valuable change within their own communities. It was a huge opportunity for them to see the world outside their neighbourhood, build relationships and experience new things.
“We had a GoFundMe, we had a gala, and we did a lot of cool things to raise money to send the youth to Ghana. We weren’t able to continue the whole idea of the cultural exchange because of the pandemic, but what we wanted to do was keep that experience alive,” said Abdul.