Written by: Isobel Ramcharran, Grade 11 student
In the town of Newmarket, situated in a warehouse nestled between auto repair and detailing businesses, lies The Shop: Youth Unlimited. My class at St. Luke North took a trip there to spend two days working on small engines and electrical circuits, car lifts and tire machines, and to connect with the amiable workers there. A collection of trained youth workers and seasoned mechanics, they split us into groups to rotate and learn as much as we could, talking, joking, and teaching all the while. Harry, an expert in small engines, showed us how to take apart and put back together the engines of lawn mowers and weed-whackers, detailing what each part was as he held it in his hands. Mark operated the hydraulic car lift, explaining safety locks and showing us how to place the lift pads, flicking levers with a practiced ease. Dean explained each component of an electrical circuit, showing us how to strip wires and create a circuit of our own that turned on by the end of the day. Kayla opened the hood of one of our teacher’s cars and worked with us to change the oil and wrangle out the oil filter and replace it. Bonnie, the coordinator and the one who contacted us to come there, worked at each station and introduced us to opportunities for work and volunteer hours through both them and their other contacts, making sure each of us had the resources available to succeed.
During break time, where they fed us Timbits, muffins, and homemade delights. Dean leaned against the counter and talked to us. Over the two days he told us stories about God and the choices we make in our lives, imparting guidance and wisdom gained through his years as pastor and mechanic in this program. He spoke about truth and what it means in our daily lives, and how our beliefs shape everything we experience and who we become. At the end of the day, we exchanged warm goodbyes and promises to return and bundled into the cabs, full of knowledge and Timbits. The Shop brought us new experiences, new skills, and most importantly they became a new support in our community to help us succeed.
The staff and students at St. Luke North attended The Shop on September 26 and 27th. Since then, a number of students have voluntarily returned to complete hours of community service and have even been selected to participate in the coveted “work week”. We are so thankful for our partners at The Shop!