After-school program lets youth help their parents learn

WATCH: A free program in Regent Park is helping children teach their parents in newcomer families. Susan Hay reports.

TORONTO- Youth Empowering Parents (YEP) is a free after-school program that enables youth to educate adults.

“Youth Empowering Parents is a pretty unique educational program that leverages an existing household dynamic,” said Agazi Afewerki, co-founder of the program. “In a lot of immigrant families, kids often teach their own parents a lot of English and computers skills. The program had an idea of, let’s bring that into a classroom.”

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Rather than a traditional classroom with an instructor, the program trains youth with the skills to act as effective volunteer tutors for parents and adults in the community. 

“As principal of Nelson Mandela Park Public School, I feel it’s really important that we embody this idea that school is the heart of the community,” said Jason Kandankery. “To have children build their communication skills, build their confidence and have parents learn how to better use technology right here in this school.”  

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Classes run for ninety minutes over the course of twelve weeks, focusing on either conversational English or basic computer skills.

“I come in and I’m always inspired by the students,” said Sally Hakim, facilitator of Youth Empowering Parents. “They start off in the program and they say, I don’t know if I can be a leader; if I can tutor someone who’s older than me. And then they sit down and they flourish in that atmosphere.”

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