The COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves across the world, affecting everything and everyone it touched. For Growing Young Movers (G.Y.M.), it meant a forced cancellation of their after-school wellness programs for the foreseeable future. And for Youth Mentor Tyrell Crowe, it meant a loss of community connection and income.
“G.Y.M. has been a big part of my life, and it’s a part of the kids’ lives as well,” says Crowe. “I felt pretty sad that the kids didn’t have anywhere to go after school.”
Crowe first started with G.Y.M. in fall 2019 when he took the leadership pathway course at Scott Collegiate. From that course, he was offered a position as a Youth Mentor with G.Y.M. and given the opportunity to connect with youth in his community while earning a living wage.
“I get to see kids everyday and I get to learn their stories and hear how they’re brought up,” says Crowe. “I can help them improve on things and I can also help them look at their ideas about life.”
Crowe says, since COVID-19 shut the doors on the after-school programs, he’s missed working with the kids and being active in the community.
“I miss teaching kids how to play sports and just seeing them and asking them how their day was,” says Crowe.
Luckily, he wasn’t out of work for long before G.Y.M. expanded on their partnership with the City of Regina. Crowe and other G.Y.M. Youth Mentors are now working alongside city employees at the city’s PlayEscapes summer program at the mâmawêyatitân centre.
Like the G.Y.M. program, the PlayEscapes program is a community engagement initiative aimed at youth throughout the city. It focuses on self-directed play as a way to promote an active lifestyle and foster life skills.
When Crowe was offered a position in the new partnership, he jumped at the chance.
“I felt really excited,” says Crowe. “I was so glad to hear I had a job opportunity again and could get back to being with the kids.”
G.Y.M. and the City of Regina are planning to continue this partnership well past COVID-19 restrictions as they work to build a paid internship program for the G.Y.M. Youth Mentors.
But for now, Crowe is hopeful he’ll be back in the gym shooting hoops with the kids again soon.
“I’m most excited to see the kids again,” says Crowe. “My favourite part of the program is teaching them basketball.”
G.Y.M. after-school programs are scheduled to begin again in September 2020.