WHO WE ARE

Precious Gems Project is a grass roots community organization that offers opportunities for young people through sponsorship and programming to attend and experience self-expression through the arts. We believe that exposing youth to creative situations allows them to build their self-esteem, define their voice and develop skills they will use throughout their lives.  Established in 2005, Precious Gems has been part of the Kingston/Galloway / Orton Park community in Scarborough and expanded to St. Jamestown community in 2014. We continue gaining access to youth through collaboration with many organizations including, the City of Toronto, Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, City Hope, Mariposa in the Schools and  Shoot with This

A recent report stated that Toronto had the highest child poverty rate of any major city in Canada –The Hidden Epidemic A report on Child and Family Poverty in Toronto Nov 2014.

This means we need to find ways for young people to have access to activities that will help them build self esteem and create additional paths through education and inspiration to explore their passions and creativity.

Over the years we have built relationships and developed a strong reputation in the community. Additional schools and organizations continue to contact us to collaborate or request sponsorship  for their students to attend our programs. Each year we receive notes from our ‘gems’ expressing their love of learning, interest in art,  desire to learn more, and to make new friends. Their wish is to have the same Amazing experience as those who have previously attended our sponsored programs.

Our continued focus is to collaborate, develop and offer sponsorships and programs to young people where they would otherwise not have had the access or opportunity to learn through artistic expression. Our goal is to increase the number of children /schools sponsored by Precious Gems through partnership and collaboration with companies, corporations and other non profit organizations to expand to as many communities as possible.

FUNDING

Our fundraising to date has been a series of fundraising events and individual donations. This strategy, while engaging, isn’t as comprehensive as we require to provide the scope and level of funding we need to extend our sponsorship program to additional children and neighbourhoods. Precious Gems is applying for charitable designation status to give us greater access to grants, sponsorships and tax incentivized donations. This will allow a broader reach throughout the Greater Toronto area and province and help fulfill our mission to help the youth of today find their voice, through education, empowerment and self expression.

FOUNDER

“Look for an area in your community where you don’t currently have a presence and look to do something about it.”

AILEEN HILL

Aileen Hill
Always interested in creative expression, Aileen Hill started Precious Gems Project as a class assignment. That was the beginning of realizing a dream of creating positive and artistic experiences for young people. After graduating from York University with a degree in Psychology, Aileen worked for a hotel company for over 20 years managing people and developing training programs. She was part of the corporate United Way committee for over 10 years holding various positions on the council including two years as co-chair. Aileen has received certification in Fundraising Management from George Brown College. With her focus more and more on raising money to send children to art camps, she left her full time position in hospitality in 2012 and now concentrates on building and growing Precious Gems Project.
“I believe that imagination and creativity create amazing memories that are great building blocks to nurturing the self-expression and confidence that young people need for the rest of their lives.  I want to facilitate these experiences for youth everywhere.”

AILEEN HILL