A former Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI) participant is the recipient of Victim Services Toronto (VST) 2021 Sandy Cappadocia Volunteer of the Year Award.
Iten Menecy, a T.E.A.R (Teens Ending Abusive Relationships) leader was honoured at the organization’s virtual annual general meeting last month.
The Grade 12 student joined the program two years ago shortly after completing the YIPI program.
Menecy was inspired to join the youth leadership program after watching a T.E.A.R workshop during a YIPI training session.
VST Program Director Sarah Rogers said she has been an outstanding volunteer inspiring her peers to make a change by raising awareness of gender-based violence, cyber bullying and healthy relationships by developing and participating in innovative social media engagement initiatives such as #TEARtalk.
“Iten enthusiastically joined our agency and made a commitment to be part of the change,” said Rogers. “She has been committed to making the change and raising awareness about abusive relationships in person and online ever since. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
“When she first joined the program we were in the office and she came to every meeting eager to learn and contribute, challenging herself outside her comfort zone. She was instrumental in developing new creative ideas for the youth leader program and social media initiatives. When the pandemic hit and we moved the program online, Iten just rolled with it, never skipping a beat and bringing as much enthusiasm to our virtual world as she had in person.”
Menecy also participates in VST’s weekly social media chat, TEARtalk, bringing awareness to gender-based violence, healthy relationships and digital leadership issues.
“Iten’s exceptional communication skills were demonstrated when she presented, with her peers, to the Ministry of Education last summer about trends and challenges youths were experiencing online,” added Rogers. “During the meeting, she provided recommendations to the Ministry on how adults and the education system can work as allies with students to address cyber bullying and cyber violence in schools, using the T.E.A.R model as example of how to create positive change. This was a huge milestone and accomplishment.”
Menecy plans to pursue a nursing career.
Cappadocia was a 10-year VST volunteer who succumbed to brain cancer in December 2005 at age 33.
VST provides crisis response, trauma and support services to victims of crime and sudden tragic circumstances 24 hours a day.
Supervised by crisis counsellors, volunteers provide crisis intervention and referrals, assist on the telephone or attend the scene as requested, and also help with fundraising and other community outreach initiatives.
Last year, VST provided crisis response and case management services to over 21,000 victims of crime and sudden tragedy in 42 different languages.