The L.I.T. program is, well, LIT.
L.I.T., short for Leaders in Training, is a 6-week summer program created for youth age 13-15 to explore their identities and create a path that the youth can follow in order to reach their goals. The program began the first week of July and has been happening every day since then.
Marcia, Coordinator of L.I.T. for 2019, has split up the programming into a series of topics over the next 6 weeks, which include;
- Basic Nutrition and the environment Environment
- Internet Addictions/Time Management
- Self Esteem and Body Image
- Community Living
They will end the program with an overnight camping trip.
An essential part of L.I.T. is uncovering the answer to “Who am I?” Being at an age of self-discovery and constant changes, a lot of youth can feel uncomfortable and out of place; not understanding what it means to be you. They will grasp individuality and create an overall outline of their goals. It will help them think about their likes, interests, and where they see themselves in the future, long and short term. Most importantly, it will increase their self-esteem, and give them the confidence they need to succeed. All of the topics will include trips and activities that correspond to the overall theme. They will participate in events all over the city in order to get familiar with their communities.
So far, the youth have been on trips to rock climbing centres, they have cleared up garbage in community parks, and have also been to the movies and swimming.
We asked Marcia about the organization of the summer program and she shared;
“Even if we have the whole schedule, we can throw it out – we tell the kids, ‘tell us what you want to do’ – we are willing to expand our hours!”
L.I.T. encourages youth to have a voice and to be confident in decision-making. The program supports youth in speaking up and being heard.
Within the program, there are two young girls who have traveled from Ghana a very short time ago, as neither of them has been in Canada for more than a year. L.I.T. has allowed them to explore and get to know what the City of Toronto has to offer. They are able to bond with youth in the community, explore, and ask questions. Throughout the weeks passing, you can see that the girls are becoming more comfortable, and breaking out of their shells.
“I can relate to them because I also wasn’t born in Canada. Getting used to my accent was difficult throughout high school. It is easy for me to share what I learned when I came up here, with them. Things like supporting one another through the change, and embracing your accent. I teach them to love who they are and love where they came from.”
L.I.T. is a necessity to youth in the community. We are able to get in touch with what our youth are facing in all aspects of life. L.I.T. promotes growth and strengthens youth to love who they are, and feel comfortable with their journey.