Eva's Print Shop Is Ready To End Youth Homelessness

All Eva’s Print Shop profits go toward providing youth with shelter, programs, a sense of community and belonging, and transitional housing in hopes of ultimately ending youth homelessness. Through their print shop, they provide the youth with experience necessary for employment, simple life skills, counselling, and education. We spoke with Jonathan Gault, Eva’s Print Shop Manager, about the success of their company and future goals.

What is unique about your business?

Eva’s Print Shop is a full-service digital printer that reduces youth homelessness. When you print with us, you help prepare youth experiencing homelessness for employment in the graphics and print sector.

We reinvest every dollar of profit into shelter, food, caring support, and basic needs for homeless youth at Eva’s.

Our shop is located at Eva’s Phoenix, a transitional housing and employment training facility in downtown Toronto run by Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth. We are a “profit to propose business”, and in the shop space, we deliver a Graphic Communications and Print Training Program for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to help prepare them for employment.

How do you measure success?

Eva’s Print Shop measures our success not only through business outcomes and financial returns on investment, but we also look at social measures: how well are we preparing young people in our graphic communications and print training program for employment? How are young people exploring their talents and developing a passion for being creators? How will the workplace practice they get in the program and internship in the shop help prepare them for a job, housing, and, ultimately, living in the community independently?

What’s next for social innovation?

We’re exploring what it would take to support young people experiencing homelessness who strive to become entrepreneurs using a diverse set of skills and digital capacities. We have a lot of talent in our midst and so many young people are entrepreneurial and tech-savvy. They could blossom in these dreams if they were supported in meaningful ways to do it.

How is Eva’s making the world a better place?

Over 70% of our training program students get full-time work, and we provide follow-up support to help them sustain employment. On top of that, profit helps us run Eva’s emergency shelters and transitional housing facilities that provide short-term supports for young people to survive today and long-term interventions to help them thrive tomorrow and build futures free of homelessness.

Helping these young people at this critical phase in their lives is incredibly impactful because we’re “cutting the pipeline” to adult chronic homelessness and preventing the devastating human, social, and community toll homelessness takes in a country like Canada. 

What drives you to get out of bed in the morning?

Coffee.... Seriously though, I enjoy what I do, not that hard to get out of bed and out to work.

A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

"Print for Good" or "I'll take two banner stands"!

What inspires you?

The team of individuals I work with at Eva's. I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by a very talented group of writers, artists, academics, therapists, and craftspeople. They could all all choose to work in any field that they want, but they choose to provide support, mentorship, and guidance for young people.

A lot of people doing social good feel like they’re sacrificing the ability to make money - do you feel this way, why or why not?

Everyone has their own motivations when it comes to the work that they do. But in my experience, I haven't found that many people doing social good feel like they are sacrificing the ability to make money. For them, the benefits are very meaningful in their lives. This of course doesn't mean that we shouldn't invest in social good and social change efforts like that of Eva's Print Shop ... it actually means that the returns on investment are so powerful because everyone involved are so passionate about it!

What’s the last thing that left you stumped?

Matching Purple C on a grey linen stock.

What does the future of your business look like? 

We want to continue to grow and build. Commercial success and social success are intertwined. A larger customer base and more investments into our model will lead to more work opportunities for young people who come through our program. 

By 2020, we would love to double our customers and supporters to multiply our social impact because there are so many business who would print for good if they knew of us!

Discover Eva’s Print Shop online!

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Merishka Pillay