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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Youth turns his life around

Damian Wollenberg was a young man with no job and no place to live just a few short months ago.

He approached the North York YMCA Employment and Community Services on the advice of his brother-in-law, who had worked with the staff there in finding full-time employment at Class Act Carstar Auto Collision Repair.

Wollenberg, who had always dreamed of working with cars, met with YMCA job developer Matan Zelver, and eventually joined his brother-in-law at the same employer in February 2004.

In fact, the YMCA Employment Services has been a consistent method of recruiting youth into the employment sector at Class Act Carstar Collision Repair.

Trina Mawer, who along with her husband Danny owns Class Act Carstar, reports that skilled tradespeople are becoming more difficult to acquire these days.

"The auto collision repair industry has been suffering from lack of qualified help over the past decade," Trina says.

"Damian is certainly a personal testimony ... (He's) only 18 years old ... and left to roam through his youth ... and now he has become an important member of the 'Class Act' team! Damian has learned many responsibilities and his self confidence grows every day," Trina says.

"I used to spend a lot of time with my friends getting into trouble rather than finishing high school. Now, since I work really hard every day and then participate in community services on Saturday evenings, I have little time left for those friends ... I really am thankful for this opportunity," Wollenberg says.

Wollenberg's future plans include learning all he can and he hopes to eventually co-own and operate his own collision repair facility with his brother-in-law.

Contact the YMCA Employment and Community Services, located in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough at

To identify your neighbourhood youth employment centre visit


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