A local father has created a new app for youth.
Greg Kusyk came up with the idea when his son Josh first became interested in music. The boy wanted to save up and buy a guitar, so Kusyk helped him find snow removal jobs to earn some money. Through this, they formed strong relationships with neighbours around their community.
"I saw that there were two things — there was a need for people to get some help shovelling driveways and doing these odd tasks, and there are a lot of youth in the community that want to earn money for themselves, be productive and buy the things they want with their own money," said Kusyk.
With help from some friends who have experience with software development, Kusyk created Heydan, which was first released in May. The app was then updated in the late fall once it reached a point where Kusyk was satisfied with its functionality.
Heydan is a free app designed to help youth from ages 12 to 17 connect with neighbours and find age-appropriate jobs, such as snow removal, babysitting or walking dogs. The app also helps youth give back to the community by allowing them to donate some of their earnings to a local sports team or charity.
"It's just a good way of helping youth become active, get to know their neighbours in their community, earn their own money and also contribute back however they want."
As the app is targeted towards youth, safety features have been put in place. The app withholds any payment until the job is confirmed to be finished, and the youth's email and address are kept private. Parents also must have a linked account and give their confirmation when a child signs up for a job, so they can monitor the process.
Kusyk said hundreds of users have signed up for the app and the numbers are increasing every day.
"The response has been unbelievable," he added. "It's very touching that a lot of kids are looking at contributing to Santa's Anonymous, diabetes foundations, helping their families out, taking responsibility for their own interests and costs for sports equipment. That's very heartwarming and it's good to see."
The app is available on Apple and Android devices.