Back in the summer of 2022, Renaldo had been feeling it was time for a career change. He had been praying that he’d be delivered to such a change when a friend sent him a YSM job posting seeking a Director of Street-Involved Services.
The role required an established leader who would help advance the many programs and services at our YSM Evergreen Centre for Street-Involved Youth, including drop-in, food services, Health Centre and HOPE – Helping Offenders on Probation Excel – program.
Unbeknownst to Renaldo, YSM staff had also been praying for several months to find the right candidate for the position. Based on his extensive experience as Director of Children and Youth Ministries at Scott Mission, and as Director of Community Services at Fern Youth Services, he felt confident that he would succeed in the role and soon applied.
In October 2022, Renaldo officially joined the YSM family and we couldn’t be happier. Although Ronaldo had long been familiar with Yonge Street Mission, he would only learn about the full scope of our programs and partnerships during his onboarding. He found this discovery deeply encouraging, to say the least.
“It’s a one-stop shop for anyone that’s in need,” Renaldo said. “And so I think that’s really kind of opened my eyes to a lot of the possibilities of how we can actually help to be an answer to chronic poverty.
Renaldo was immediately struck by the “high level of acceptance” at YSM, which he said isn’t always the case at faith-based organizations.
“Anybody who walks through the doors… will be served and treated with dignity, respect, and quality service,” he said. “There’s no judgment or discrimination. There’s just constant compassion and support.”
Renaldo has a strong vision for Evergreen Centre which he and his team hope to achieve through three ambitious goals. First, he would like Evergreen to expand its outreach efforts to ensure more youth are able to access the space and its myriad of services.
Second, he wants to ensure that YSM guides all youth who come to Evergreen through a transformational journey through different programs and support. Third, he would like Evergreen to ultimately increase its advocacy efforts.
“A lot of the youth that we work with need a voice and they sometimes don’t feel like they have one,” Renaldo said. “The ability to advocate on their behalf, to see systemic change, could benefit them.”
Feeling inspired? We’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.