Risky Business: Building a Future Together – The Old East Village Grocer

Risky Business: Building a Future Together by Paul Seale

It always takes hard work, but building a better life sometimes requires a leap of faith, too. Just ask Jaydn Turner of the Old East Village Grocer or the folks at ATN Access who operate the social enterprise grocer in the London Food Incubator.

Out of school by age fourteen, living on the streets and using drugs, Jaydn was the epitome of at-risk youth. After surviving an overdose, Jaydn decided to make the most of his second chance at life. He began working toward his high school diploma and, in search of a tutor, learned of ATN Access for Persons with Disabilities where he received help from a learning disabilities specialist. From there, he joined ATN’s YES program, part of the federal Youth Employment Strategy which, since 2006, has helped thousands of young Canadians develop job skills. Jaydn received full compensation for five weeks of skills training in the classroom at ATN and an additional paid ten weeks employment placement. In the meantime, ATN was taking its own leap of faith in a brand-new social enterprise grocery store where clients could get job skills training in a “live classroom.” Jaydn was hired on to help ready the store and stayed on as a member of the opening staff. His bright smile beaming over his beard net, you can still find him there today, a favourite of the store’s customers and an excellent mentor to its clients, young and old.

Hard work, and a bit of a gamble on both sides, but Jaydn and ATN are looking forward to a better future, together.