Kenneth Slater

2017 Innovation Award - Greater Toronto

Manager, Youth Programs

Dixon Hall

Nominator Comments:

During his 25-year tenure at Dixon Hall, Kenneth has shown repeatedly that he is a true champion for youth. In response to gun violence in Regent Park in 2016, he created an innovative youth program—the Summer Experience Project—for young men who were deemed to be at particularly high risk.

As part of this program, and thanks to the trust he’s earned during his time at the agency, Kenneth convinced the young people’s families and guardians to take them to St. Vincent, the place where he grew up, to do a three-week international community development project. These youth also spent a week in Algonquin Park, performed community work and received job placements in Toronto.

Kenneth never wavers in his belief that all young people have an abundance of potential, just waiting to be tapped with the right services and supports. What he started as a crisis response has become an opportunity to rethink how we engage with youth. In fact, York University researchers are now using Kenneth’s Summer Experience Project to build case studies for other youth-focused organizations to learn from.

To quote his nominators: “The 2016 Summer Experience Project is the most recent example of Kenneth’s innovation and creativity when it comes to connecting with youth in the Regent Park community. Throughout his career, Kenneth has consistently been a support, and oftentimes a lifeline, for many young people.”

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