Zach began a program in his community as a way to combat some of the challenges that the youth faced. He wanted to create a community where youth could begin to feel safe and avoid being harassed for loitering, or pressured into joining gangs or using drugs.
Although Zach grew up in a single parent family, he always had the support of his mother and sister, and recognizes that other youth do not necessarily have that support system.
Still, Zach found it challenging to grow up with a single mom with no male figure to look up to. He was the male of the household and although he had to make many hard choices, he believes that these choices led him to who he is today.
In 2006, Zach discovered the MicroSkills' Youth Exchange Program. In this program, with the help of staff, he channeled all his energy towards more positive development and personal growth. He assisted with the Dixon Youth Day fair and with the Youth Exchange between Newfoundland and Toronto youth. The program taught him a lot about himself - how to focus and how to become the kind of individual who could lead his peers along the right path - in short, a role model who could provide leadership and guidance to his peers. He credits his success today to his mentors Dave Clarke and Norman DaCosta from the Youth Centre.
Zach has been very active in advocating for services in his neighbourhood. In partnership with school staff, community agencies and City divisions, Zach spearheaded a summer basketball project for youth in the Dixon/Kipling area. The purpose of the project was to increase positive participation of the Dixon/Kipling area youth and build a positive relationship with the Toronto Police Services. He also mobilized community members to provide a library book mobile service, skill building workshops and hiring of youth leaders.
Zach is currently enrolled in a post secondary program. He sees the many choices available to him and knows that he can no longer limit himself.