BY JELANI GRANT
Toronto’s first creole festival, scheduled for August 13th to August 14th, is offering 200 jobs to youth in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Toronto Creole Festival Planning Committee President Erwin Richardson is inviting all youth in the GTA to apply for volunteer positions and paid employment for the upcoming festival. “People responded from everywhere but we are keeping it GTA”. Applications began to be accepted June 1st and will continue to be processed until the 2nd week of August.
After providing a valid email address and government issued identification, youth in the GTA will be eligible to apply for a summer position assisting the festival by distributing hundreds of wristbands, filling raffle entries and documenting photos and video for the purpose of social media, all to fundraise the festival. The fundraising profits will all directly contribute to the festival’s many vendors and amenities. After a brief interview and job application submission process, youth will have the opportunity to acquire work experience as letters of reference will be given upon completion of the summer job fundraising campaign. Every week, kids already employed are rewarded gift baskets for completing a fifty page raffle book.
Richardson understands a significant number of youth may be taking summer school, which usually ends at 3:00 pm and will offer position shifts that begin at 3:30 pm if employees are in summer school. “The youth need any given opportunity to develop communication skills to place themselves in a formal job”.
“We’re encouraging youth to stand outside subways, supermarkets, department stores, major intersections and attend other festivals together,” said Richardson. However, in consideration of worker safety, there will be no “door to door soliciting or canvassing and all distribution will conclude at 8:00 pm”, said Richardson, “we want our youth to be safe”.
Richardson said he believes job opportunities will lead to a lower number of unfortunate events such as the tragic shooting death of fourteen year old Lecent Ross. There have already been 256 shooting victims in Toronto this year according to the Toronto Police Service statistics and the alarming youth unemployment rate may be connected, considering the two people charged in the killing of Ross were under the age of twenty.
Toronto’s youth unemployment rate stood at 22%, according to a report released by the Bank of Montreal in February. Richardson said the economy is another factor affecting youth unemployment. “Around grade nine to twelve is when kids apply for their first jobs. If they’ve never worked before you cannot hire them without the experience.”
“I don’t believe employers don’t want to hire, but the demand is not there.”
The Caribbean festival committee is also looking for vendors, models and performers. For more information, applicants can visit their Facebook page, contact Richardson at 647-289-9645, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.