RBC provides cash infusion for County Care Kits program

KIT CARE- (Back, From left) Youth Council member Porchia Zabaneh , County Care Kits coordinator Christian Everall, Council member Kayla Zachariah, (Front, From left) County Foundation President Brian Beiles and Cynthia Surette and Stephanie O'Brien of Royal Bank of Canada celebrate a $15,000 grant to continue the County Care Kits program. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



The Royal Bank of Canada is ensuring a local, youth driven initiative designed to support young community members continues.

The Prince Edward County Youth Centre was the setting last week as RBC announced they were providing a grant of $15,000 to the ROC’s Youth Advisory Committee to allow the local youth empowerment organization to continue its County Care Kits program.

The funding comes by way of a national youth empowerment investment strategy called RBC Future Launch that seeks to support key youth milestones such as gaining work experience, growing networks, skills development and supporting mental well-being. The grant is formally part of  RBC’s Future Launch Community Challenge, in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada and the funds are dispersed through local community foundations-in this case, The County Foundation.

County Care Kits lead organizer Christian Everall explained the main focus of this project is to decrease accessibility barriers local youth face around accessing basic needs (hygiene, education, winter supplies) and information of existing supports (food bank hours, Deseronto transit schedules, etc). The kits are ordered on line, and confidentiality is assured through an anonymous numbering system.

“Since November, we  have been planning and executing  this project to minimize barriers by providing customized County Care Kits to those who place an order (Over 90 have been distributed in two rounds of dispersals), and, moving forward, we will keep stock of the most needed essentials which will be made available to other service providers in the area,” Everall said.

The grant announcement event at the ROC Youth Centre was held in part to celebrate the successful launch of the County Care Kit project as well as accept the Future Launch funding. Everall said the project is 99 per cent youth-led from  inception to the writing of the grant application to follow-through with the project deliverables.
“It has been lots of fun so far and we are so grateful to be able to offer this much needed care and support to youth and their families in Prince Edward County,” Everall added. “Shifting power into the hands of young people is an important way to make sure we are prepared for the future.”

The project was spurred by a vital conversation last year where the Youth Advisory Committee gathered at the ROC Youth Centre with representatives of RBC  and The County Foundation  to talk about issues affecting young commuinity members in the with the goal to address one of the issues by innovating a youth-led project.

“We met again to discuss our priorities and narrowed all of the ideas into specific projects that include increasing access to educational resources, basic needs products related to winter, hygiene and education, and knowledge of existing services within PEC,” said Committee member Kayla Zachariah.

“When I first heard about this opportunity, I was excited to finally be able to make a difference in the community and now seeing it come to life is an incredible thing. It wasn’t easy at first because none of bus have ever done anything like this but once the ball started rolling, not only my passion but others in the committee as well came through,” added fellow Committee member Porchia Zabaneh.  “Every meeting I’m excited to come and get more work done for this project. There have been ups and downs, like with anything in life but the end result is a truly great thing that I’m so grateful to be apart of. ”

For more information, please visit theroc.ca