The Matching Initiative: Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment

BY Susan Hamilton |
Jul 15, 2021 |
Young martial artists showcasing their skills on stage

Named after the Honourable Jean Augustine, the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the House of Commons, the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment was established in 2014 to provide programs for girls aged 7 to 17 to support their mental, physical and social well-being. Based in Etobicoke, Ontario, the Jean Augustine Centre provides programs, camps and workshops to empower young women and girls by building their self-confidence and positively influencing their overall outlook on life.

Through The Prosperity Project’s Matching Initiative, the Jean Augustine Centre was connected with three professionals who came together to leverage their expertise in human resources (HR), finance and strategy. After a project plan and a clear goal were set for each Volunteer, the match began.

The Jean Augustine Centre needed to refine their operational processes and build capacity. However, their small team focused on the day-to-day operations and did not have the time nor the resources to address these shortcomings.

“We were so focused on the day-to-day operations and making sure our programs were helping to build the self-worth and self-esteem of young women and girls that we lost sight of the bigger picture,” commented Emma Asiedu-Akrofi, Executive Director of the Jean Augustine Centre. “The Matching Initiative Volunteers helped bring the bigger picture back into focus.”

The Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work by reviewing and revising HR policies and procedures, developing a strategic roadmap and establishing financial controls for the Jean Augustine Centre.

“Beyond their professional experience, the Volunteers cared. They cared about the success of the match, and they cared about our mission to empower young women and girls,” Emma told The Prosperity Project. “They stayed longer than we had expected to make sure the projects were done properly.”

Although the Volunteers are close to completing their respective mandates and the Board of Directors has approved the financial controls and the HR strategy, the story is far from being over. With the guidance they have received, the Jean Augustine Centre is now well equipped to continue serving young women and girls for years to come. This will allow them to better empower and support the next generation.

“For organizations like ours, with small teams and smaller budgets that were impacted by the pandemic, the Matching Initiative is a blessing,” said Emma. “We will certainly be taking part again.”