The DESTA (Dare Every Soul To Achieve) Black Youth Network has been hosted by the Padua Center in Little Burgundy since its inception. It is an outreach initiative created to address the specific needs of black youth/adults between the ages of 18 and 25 in the South Western section of the Greater Montreal area.
It started in 2008-09 and was based upon a successful trial programme the year before that attempted to help re-integrate disenfranchised youth into the mainstream of Montreal society. DESTA has created a multi-pronged approach to address the needs of its clientele: an Employment Training Programme; a Personal Development Programme; a DESTA – NATION Community Programme; and an Educational Programme.
The Cole Foundation helped DESTA get started in 2008 a grant for its educational programme. Since that time, DESTA has been experiencing several years of major growth. One initiative was the establishment of a distance education and tutorial programme (Lion Wolf School) in partnership with the Eastern Townships School Board. The curriculum followed is a Quebec Ministry of Education approved course of studies for adult education. The school started with 3 students and has expanded to 19 students with 10 volunteer teachers/tutors offering academic support to the students on a weekly basis. Most of the students have not been in school for a number of years and so study habits and examination taking are foreign experiences for them.
To complement the formal education programme, DESTA provides career and post secondary educational counselling. Students shadow professionals in fields in which they are interested, and attend workshops and related informational sessions.
DESTA has set up an Educational Fund to offer bursaries for CEGEP, university studies, trade programmes, workshops, and specialized certificates for the participants.
The Cole Foundation is continuing to support this very worthwhile community program. For more information, see the DESTA web site at: http://www.destabyn.org/