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What We Did

YCF approved $42.5 million for allocation to 111 unique, youth-led, youth-driven initiatives across Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods.

All YCF-funded initiatives use the YCF approach to address specific needs of Afro-Diasporic young people in one or more of the city’s priority neighbourhoods. Each one is unique, but what they all have in common is:

  • A focus on building the capacity of young people by involving them in development, leadership, and decision-making processes.
  • A focus on building the capacity of adult allies within existing community organizations and public institutions to serve and support youth not by doing work for them in isolation, but by working with them to achieve common goals, forming relationships as peers and co-mentors.

ROUND 1-4: PLANTING SEEDS

From October 2006 to December 2007, YCF provided ‘seed’ funding to 94 initiatives to develop ideas and implement programs, services and/or develop youth-designated spaces within a three-year timeframe or less. These initiatives received funding under three grant streams: Building Great Ideas, Creating Youth Spaces & Investing in Youth.

None of these initiatives were meant to be sustained by YCF beyond a three-year timeframe, though some have formed collaborative partnerships with other organizations, allowing them to continue operating. In addition, many initiative leaders and participants have gone on to influence and lead the development of the 17 YCF Legacy initiatives and many other community-based organizations and institutions.

The larger purpose of this ‘seed’ funding was to determine the key factors involved in effectively practicing a sustainable, youth-led approach to community development. This process informed the development of the Legacy investments.

ROUND 5-8: GROWING A LEGACY

After two years of supporting and partnering with youth-led initiatives, YCF identified seven key areas of focus:

  • Youth space
  • Educational attainment
  • Youth justice
  • Social enterprise
  • Arts & culture
  • Male & female specific
  • Organizational leadership & capacity building

YCF staff worked with select initiatives funded in Rounds 1-4 to develop 17 Legacy initiatives with greater emphasis on sustainable, collaborative partnerships. In addition, 13 of these initiatives included significant capital investments.

POST-FUNDING: CULTIVATING LEADERSHIP

Once all funding was allocated in 2009, YCF’s focus shifted purposefully toward working with funded initiatives and their partners in the community to enable systemic transformation within existing organizations and institutions across the city.

This work takes time, and it requires dedicated, sustained efforts from key partners across various sectors – government, education, corporate, social service, youth-led, and more – to have real, lasting impact.

Partnership Steering Committee
partnership_steering_committee

The original YCF Board fulfilled its commitment in March 2009. YCF is continuing its work under a new governance model with a Partnership Steering Committee (PSC), a committee whose primary role is to provide oversight and ensure that the work of funded initiatives continues under the YCF mandate through 2013. The PSC is co-chaired by Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and Stefany Hanson. There remains representation from the Province, City, UWT and members from the original YCF Board.

YCF Partnership Steering Committee Members

Co-Chair: Michael 'Pinball' Clemons
Founder, Michael 'Pinball' Clemons Foundation

Co-Chair: Stefany Hanson
Youth representative

Representing the City of Toronto: Denise Campbell
Director, Community Resources, City of Toronto

Zanana Akande
Community representative

Paul Barnett
Community representative

Peter Sloly
Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service

Tim Penner
Former President, Procter & Gamble Inc.

Board
board

From February 2006 to March 2009, YCF was governed by a community Board made up of a broad cross-section of community leaders, including representatives from the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto and United Way Toronto. Led by Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, the Board reviewed proposed community initiatives and made investments on behalf of the fund.

Former YCF Board Members

Chairman of the Board: Michael 'Pinball' Clemons
Founder, Michael 'Pinball' Clemons Foundation

Deputy Chair: Richard Morris
Better Business Partnerships, City of Toronto

Representing the Province of Ontario: Robin Cardozo
CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Representing the Youth Challenge Fund Trustee (United Way Toronto): Francesca Shaw
Former Senior Vice-President & Chief Accountant, CIBC

Representing the City of Toronto: Chris Brillinger
Former Director, Community Resources, City of Toronto

Zanana Akande
Community representative

Gary Anandasangaree
Barrister & Solicitor, Law office of Gary Anandasangaree

Rahel Appiagyei
Community representative

Helen Burstyn
Chair of the Board of Directors, Ontario Trillium Foundation

Keith Forde
Former Deputy Chief, Toronto Police Service

Verlyn Francis
Barrister & Solicitor, Law office of Verlyn F. Francis

Lew Golding
Manager, Substance Abuse Program, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

Carl James
Director, Graduate Program in Sociology, York University

Tonika Morgan
Co-Director, Medina Collective

Faduma Mohamed
Executive Director, Labour Community Services of Toronto

Scott Mullin
Vice-President, Government & Community Relations, TD Bank Financial Group

Keiko Nakamura
Former Chief Operating Officer, Toronto Community Housing

Anil Patel
Executive Director, Framework Foundation

Tim Penner
Former President, Procter & Gamble Inc.

Karen Pitre
President, The Lonsdale Group Inc.

Ronald Tsang
Project Manager, Sapient Corporation

Institutional Partners
institutional_partners

                                        

 

                                        

 

                                                  

 

                                                  

 

                                        

 

                    

Roy McMurty Youth Centre

Community Partners
community_partners
TRUSTEES
trustees

                                        

 

                                                  

 

                                        

 

                                                          

 

                                              

 

                                        

 

        

Donors
donors

A Message of Thanks 

YCF donors have played an integral leadership role in our collective journey to challenge systems, break down barriers, and create new practices. This proves much more than their spirit of generosity. It also demonstrates their passion for youth and community development. 

Our donors were willing to take the path less travelled. To step outside what's comfortable and safe in order to truly address issues. To acknowledge that real change takes time and collaboration. 

It has been both inspiring and humbling to have them accompany us as we work to ensure the voices of youth in our city's most under-served communities are heard, valued, and respected. 

On behalf of all of us who have been, and will continue to be, part of the YCF journey, we thank our donors for their trailblazing generosity. 

The Staff

Former Staff Roles

Pamela Grant, Executive Director

Nation Cheong, Director of Community Engagement & Grants

Danavan Samuels, Senior Community Grants Developer

Michelle Fraser, Assistant to the Executive Director

Okeima Lawrence, Community Grants Developer

Omar Yassin Omar, Community Grants Developer

Nisha Nagaratnam, Community Grants Developer

Helen Tewolde, Community Grants Developer

Keisa Campbell, Community Grants Developer

Kennedy Baker, Communications Specialist

Alica Hall, Initiative Stewardship & Communications Liaison

Luis Granados Ceja, Intern

Leslie-Ann Valley, Administrative Coordinator

The Impact

YCF-funded initiatives build the leadership capacity of youth, while simultaneously building the capacity of the adult allies and community organizations they partner with. While youth leaders learn how to develop effective, sustainable programs and build skills in advocacy, partnership development and decision-making, their adult allies learn how to work with young people rather than for them. This is leading to changes at the systemic level, ensuring that barriers facing Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth are reduced.

Watch the YCF story unfold in this video documentary about how YCF was launched, produced by Dameion Royes & Joel Gordon in 2008. Then, check out the follow-up story (also produced by Royes & Gordon), released in 2012.

YCF has achieved the following as a result of implementing and practicing a youth-led, collaborative, community-based approach:

  • Committed $42.5 million to 111 youth-led initiatives across Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods
  • Enabled over 1,000 young people to play direct leadership roles in developing and implementing initiatives
  • Ensured an additional 12,000 youth have learned new skills and been engaged in their community through new programs, services, supports and mentorship
  • Helped create 25 youth-designated spaces across the priority neighbourhoods, with 6 more currently in development
  • Facilitated hundreds of collaborative partnerships between young people, community-based organizations and public institutions
  • Mobilized the private and public sectors to come together to support a common cause

The YCF approach is becoming a part of the strategic frameworks of the many organizations we’ve partnered with since our inception in 2006. This “ripple effect” is developing leadership capacity of Afro-Diasporic youth across the city and, in doing so, changing the face of Toronto’s current leadership and paving the way for a future where diverse leaders at all levels is the norm. That transformation will be the true legacy of YCF.

Our Approach

YCF’s approach is geared towards supporting, engaging and building the capacity of Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth living in Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods.

Our approach to youth development is grounded on four pillars:

YCF-funded initiatives are youth-led.

This doesn’t mean young people have to do everything on their own. It means the key principles are informed and driven by youth with valued lived experiences, in partnership with adult allies, community agencies and public institutions.

YCF-funded initiatives are collaborative.

By forming collaborative relationships with other youth, various youth-serving organizations and institutions across the city, initiative leaders and their community and institutional partners share ideas, space, resources and expertise, promoting a new, more effective way of working together to achieve collective goals.

YCF-funded initiatives are indigenous to the community.

In order to ensure relevant, sustainable solutions to existing challenges, initiatives must be informed by and led by members of the communities they serve – both geographically and culturally.

YCF-funded initiatives work to create systemic transformation.

When the first three pillars are effectively combined, the ultimate result is transformations at the systemic level. Not only does this change enable relevant, meaningful and sustainable opportunities for Afro-Diasporic youth, it also translates into more diverse, inclusive and effective program and service delivery by established organizations and institutions across Toronto.

How We Started

Youth Challenge Fund 

The Youth Challenge Fund (YCF) is a partnership between the Government of Ontario and United Way Toronto. It was established by Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2006, following a summer marked by an increase in gun violence in Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods

YCF was created as a pilot project to develop and cincubate a new approach to funding and facilitating youth development - one that puts young people in the driver's seat. The 2005 'summer of the gun' highlighted the challenges facing many African Diasporic youth living in the city’s most underserviced communities:

  • Poverty
  • Precarious employment
  • Limited access to education; affordable housing; safe space within the community; and to relevant, engaging community programs

All of these challenges are rooted in systemic issues that persist within the city’s underserviced, under-resourced neighbourhoods. These areas were also targeted for investment by the City of Toronto and United Way Toronto following the Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force in 2005.

In 2006, the Province invested an initial $15 million in YCF, calling on the private sector and individuals to match the amount in donations. As YCF’s trustee, United Way raised $15.8 million in support of YCF, which was then matched dollar for dollar by the Province for a total $46.6 million investment.

Research has shown the increasing geographical concentration of poverty within the city’s inner suburbs. United Way’s January 2011 report, Poverty by Postal Code 2: Vertical Poverty, looks at the further concentration of poverty within high-rise buildings located in those communities – which are home to many of the youth YCF is mandated to serve. Many of the existing programs in these communities did not have the necessary capacity to engage and work with the youth who are the hardest to engage – the ones who need to be engaged the most.

YCF’s job was to create the optimal environment for these young people to gain agency. We asked them about their aspirations and began working together with them to make them happen.

In addition to engaging youth leaders, YCF also worked with adult and institutional allies to take a youth-driven approach. By creating learning and capacity-building opportunities for young people and established organizations that have been serving the community for years, we’ve laid the foundation for deeper community transformation. Both partners have to adapt to new ways of thinking and doing in order to effectively change the systems that have created barriers for many Afro-Diasporic youth across Toronto.

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Biography
YCF
Biography
Young and Potential Fathers
Young and Potential Fathers
Biography

The Need

Becoming a parent for the first time is an exhilarating and overwhelming process. There are many comprehensive programs and services available for young families and new mothers, but support for new fathers has been much harder to access. And specific supports relevant to young, Afro-Diasporic fathers living in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods have been practically non-existent. YCF Legacy initiative Young and Potential Fathers (YPF) is working to change that. YPF’s mandate is to provide young Afro-Diasporic fathers and expectant fathers with access to culturally appropriate programs and resources that support them in their transition to fatherhood.

The Initiative

All of YPF’s programming and resources are grounded in Afro-centric principles. The initiative provides programs and activities that develop the identity and cultural roles of young fathers – from cooking, budgeting and shopping to participating in roundtable discussions about current issues and arts programming with their children to encourage bonding. In order to create this type of unique opportunity, the programming must be housed in a safe space where young men feel comfortable visiting with their children. It has to be held in a place where they feel they belong. A space designated for young Afro-Diasporic fathers. Therefore, YPF also identified and created a beautiful youth- and child-friendly space within a Toronto Community Housing building in the Weston-Mt. Dennis community. In June 2011, YPF opened its doors with a traditional naming ceremony, where the space was named “Ujima House.”

Ujima House is open daily. Some youth come in to access resources such as computers or workspace. Others come to check the initiative’s Job Board or Housing Binder. YPF staff offer advice and help them connect to other services, sometimes advocating on their behalf or accompanying them to appointments. Staff have also shifted their focus from program delivery to individualized case management, working one on one with young men to identify and access the specific supports they need, such as completing a GED.

The Approach

Upon their first visit to the YPF space, young men complete a questionnaire where they are asked about the challenges they are facing and the barriers in their lives that prevent them from addressing them. “This is important,” says Zakiya Tafari, Communication and Outreach Specialist at YPF. “We can guess what their challenges are and create supports around them, but it means more when the young men identify them for us. This way, they drive and reinforce the supports we provide.”

For example, one young man came to YPF asking for advice on his taxes. YPF staff did some initial research, and then decided to bring in a financial consultant to run a workshop on how to file taxes. Others were interested in small business and entrepreneurship, so YPF approached a small business expert who is now running an ongoing entrepreneurship workshop at the space. “What sets YPF apart from other community programs is that we really listen to and respond to the needs of the young men. This makes a big difference – it lets them know they have a say, and it gives them the confidence to speak up in other situations in their lives,” says Zakiya.

The Challenges

As is common in the social service sector, one of YPF’s key challenges has been securing enough staff to deliver quality programs and supports while still conducting community outreach, networking and developing partnerships. As the initiative has grown, they have been able to hire a Program Manager and several other staff to help manage programming within the space. This extra support has allowed Zakiya and YPF’s Executive Director, Noah Boakye-Yiadom, to continue focusing on outreach and strategic planning.

The Impact

During any given month, about 165 Afro-Diasporic young men visit the YPF space. There is a core group of about 25 who come in to access programming and supports on a regular basis. YPF provides a space for these young men to be comfortable and, at times, vulnerable. They talk with staff and their peers about the realities they’re facing in life.

“Other programs exist, but the young men tell us they don’t feel comfortable there to open up about things like needing a place to stay or help to see their kids,” says Zakiya. A young person himself, Zakiya speaks about the impact YPF has had on his own life. “Working with YPF has given me the opportunity to use my lived experiences over the years to support young men in my community. My story is personal and the young men who visit the space can relate to me. They encourage me to keep growing and developing. I’ve got to “walk my talk” so I can lead by example and help others.”

YPF is also having a significant impact by developing collaborative partnerships. The YMCA Employment Centre in Rexdale runs a satellite program at YPF, offering one-on-one consultations and group seminars. Young men who would otherwise not have access to these services can attend while their children are supervised in the play area. Youth Employment Services offers a subsidized training program to young men from YPF. Once they complete the training, they may do a 3-4 month work placement at YPF, helping to facilitate programming, conduct outreach and support administrative tasks. Two youth have completed placements thus far, one of whom has since decided to pursue a career in the social service sector.

YPF has also inspired systemic transformation within the community. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society recognizes YPF as a supervisor for visits between parents and their children. This demonstrates that a long-standing institution understands that, given YPF’s specific focus and approach, it may be a more appropriate space for these young men to visit than other centres.

The Insights

  • Have a realistic plan. Take the time to find out how best you can do your work without getting burnt out.
  • Don’t take on more than you can handle.
  • Accept support and advice from elders. YPF Board members help us with challenges and share their wisdom, but also consider our input.
  • Work with trustees and partners who can help support your mission, and who understand and believe in what you’re trying to do.
Photos
Contact Information
1901 Weston Rd. (Weston-Mt. Dennis)
resources
Manual
Front Line Workers Initiative
Front Line Workers Initiative
Biography

The Need

Many young people living in the 13 priority neighbourhoods have a passion for helping their peers and their communities, and want to pursue a career in community development. Their first work or volunteer experience is often in a frontline position, where they help deliver programs or services at a local non-profit organization. Through youth consultations, YCF and the Front Line Worker Training initiative (FLW) learned that frontline youth workers need more support. Even though they are passionate about their work, they often do not have the skills or capacity to address the complex challenges Afro-Diasporic young people face. The direct result is employee burnout and high turnover in the sector. FLW believes that if youth workers were better equipped, they could become true agents of change.

The Initiative

FLW is developing a training certification program and delivery model for frontline and direct service youth workers. The initiative will build the capacity of these workers – many of whom are Afro-Diasporic youth themselves – to better engage and serve young people. They will learn about effective practices while developing the skills to address systemic issues that impact youth in the priority neighbourhoods, such as racism, ageism and gender inequality.

The Approach

FLW is engaging youth leaders, in partnership with institutional allies such as Toronto Community Housing, and community allies such as the YMCA Academy and East Metro Youth Services, to work collaboratively to make decisions, develop curriculum and implement the program. FLW conducted a citywide youth workers assessment, using focus groups, interviews and electronic surveys, in order to better understand their needs. “We didn’t assume we knew the needs of youth workers; we asked them,” says Fabio Crespin, FLW’s former Project Coordinator.

The initiative also created a curriculum development team, which includes one formal educational institution as well as organizations and individuals serving the community at a grassroots level. This diverse team will ensure the training program emphasizes both the academic frameworks as well as the grassroots knowledge and experiences necessary to work effectively as a frontline youth worker in the priority neighbourhoods. 

The Challenges

When FLW began approaching community organizations and institutions about the initiative, there was no resistance to the concept. Their partners have agreed from the beginning that there is a need for a program like FLW. What the initiative has found challenging is working to meet timelines. The process of bringing partners together and creating a common understanding, homogenous concepts and a methodology for multiple partners while being resourceful and advancing the initiative’s goals have been FLW’s biggest challenges to date.

The Impact

Although still in the developmental phase, FLW has already brought to light the need to create capacity building alternatives for youth workers that are different from those offered in college and university programs. It has also built awareness of the need to better prepare graduates from college and university social service programs for the systemic issues facing Afro-Diasporic youth living in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods, such as poverty, mental health, unemployment, substance abuse, disengagement from the school system, lack of access to affordable housing, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

FLW’s certification program will result in greater consistency in service delivery across the youth social service sector. Beyond that, it will provide access to opportunities for youth who have valuable volunteer and lived experiences but lack the educational background to be hired in a meaningful community development role.

FLW is also building the capacity of youth workers to advocate for themselves and connect as a collective to identify issues they face in their work and address them together. Some of these issues include: lack of job security, limited resources, burnout, lack of support system from superiors/organizations, lack of integrated, multi-faceted interventions for youth participants, and lack of mental health supports for youth workers themselves.

At the systemic level, FLW is establishing a new concept of developing a formal training curriculum that emphasizes both academic frameworks and grassroots experiences. FLW is also challenging the system by focusing on youth workers serving Afro-Diasporic youth populations and the systemic issues they are dealing with.

The Insights 

  • Be humble when approaching potential partners. 
  • Professionalism is key.  
  • Don’t be afraid to make cold calls and “new” proposals; one may be surprised with the welcoming replies. 
  • The system is prepared to be challenged, but one should be very prepared in order to do so; be organized and set very clear goals from the beginning.
Contact Information
989 Danforth Ave. Toronto, ON M4B 2T8
416 645-6000 ext. 2221
fcrespin@frontlineworkers.org
Educational Attainment West
Educational Attainment West
Biography

The Need

Schools in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods report the highest high school dropout rates in the city. They are also home to the largest populations of Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth.

There are a number of alternative education initiatives working to address the complex issues of disengagement from the school system, but in order to have a real, sustainable impact, there must be more collaboration, particularly with local schools, the city’s school boards and community organizations.

Educational Attainment West (EAW) is one of two YCF Legacy initiatives focused on developing and implementing a coordinated, community-based approach to educational attainment for Afro-Diasporic youth. EAW focuses on creating supports in the west-end priority neighbourhoods of Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis, Lawrence Heights, Rexdale and Westminster-Branson.

The Initiative

EAW’s role is to work collaboratively with educational service providers in the five West-end priority neighbourhoods to maximize program resources and provide relevant opportunities for Afro-Diasporic youth ages 17 to 24 to stay engaged or re-engage in the education system. The initiative works to identify barriers to educational attainment facing these young people and support service delivery organizations to meet those needs through service coordination and advocacy.

EAW’s staff team works hard to achieve these objectives. The Community Liaison focuses on all internal and external communications, including management of the EAW website, and represents the initiative at community tables, networks and events. The Executive Director connects with Toronto school boards, trustees, administrators and teachers to observe teaching practices and continue EAW’s advocacy efforts.

EAW also works with other YCF Legacy initiatives, such as Nia, FYI and YPF, to develop and implement a more holistic approach to educational attainment and delivery across the community.

The Approach

EAW has promoted the importance of education throughout the west-end priority neighbourhoods in two key ways: 1) Redefining what education means and looks like, and 2) Acknowledging and challenging the inequities that currently exist for specific demographics of youth. 

By offering an innovative 3-month pilot program for 10 “hard to reach” youth, EAW created a context wherein they could advocate for youth who have not been successful in the traditional school setting.  Education was approached in the context of the students’ lives, hence making the program relevant to their needs and interests. 

EAW has met with Toronto school boards and the Ontario Ministry of Education to advocate for youth who have dropped out, been pushed out, or are otherwise disengaged from school. “Our approach has created awareness of oppressive and discriminatory practices that have contributed to these outcomes, such as streaming racialized youth into special education programs or lowering expectations of their academic achievement, particularly of black male students,” says Natasha Burford, Executive Director of EAW from August 2010 to August 2012. 

The Challenges

One of the key challenges EAW has faced is how to define sustainability for itself. The initiative is exploring different ways to embed its work within the community to ensure it remains active and relevant, and how to do so without established organizational infrastructure, comprehensive administrative supports and consistent, long-term core funding. “We have found that documenting the work along the way and building credibility as to its importance is crucial to this process,” says Burford.

The Impact

Through its pilot project, EAW has highlighted the importance of working with community organizations in partnership with institutions, to support service coordination so that Afro-Diasporic youth have improved access to educational supports through a wraparound model.

EAW is supporting the important work of various youth-serving agencies helping young people succeed in school by building partnerships that are both politically conscious and indigenous to the community.

The Insights

  • Stay focused on your mandate and always include the authentic voice of youth and any other community stakeholders. 

  • Engage a youth advisory committee and parent council (if it is relevant to your work), so that you are working at both ends of creating change and not just focused on the systems level.

  • Engage community organizations as partners, guides and/or supports.

  • Familiarize yourself with institutional policies and challenge existing inequitable practices/policies.

For Youth Initiative
For Youth Initiative
Biography

The Need

For Youth Initiative (FYI) began as a project in the former City of York to respond to the crucial and pressing issues of youth disengagement, violence, crime, poverty and alienation among at-risk youth in the area. Local youth identified that one of the key factors contributing to disengagement was the lack of youth-safe and youth-friendly space in the neighbourhood for recreation and other activities.

FYI has grown substantially since its inception, increasing and improving its programs and developing internal systems and structures. As a youth-led organization itself, FYI understood the challenges youth-led groups face in terms of growth and development. It is difficult to become sustainable because of the general lack of core funding, consistent staffing, and experience and knowledge of organizational management and development. Youth-led groups also face limited access to networks and resources, most of which are not geared towards their needs and unique circumstances.

The Initiative

In 2006, FYI received a Round 1 Building Great Ideas grant of $50,000 from YCF to conduct a feasibility study for expanding the existing space at 1652 Keele Street. In June 2008, YCF invested an additional $1.38 million in Legacy funding to support construction of the space as well as development of an Agency Mentorship Program intended to build the capacity of other grassroots, youth-led groups in Toronto. FYI also received funding for the space from the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunities Legacy (POL) fund.

Through the Agency Mentorship Program, FYI provides capacity building supports such as training in outcomes-based program models, financial management and HR policies. Youth-led groups also receive one-on-one mentoring, various resources and templates, and support in building partnerships. These supports help strengthen the youth-led organizations FYI works with, and as a result, the youth-led social service sector as a whole – the youth-led groups that FYI mentors are better equipped to deliver effective programming and services to their participants.

The program formally involves three youth-led groups serving youth in Toronto; in addition to the three “mentee” organizations, another 8-10 youth-led organizations receive capacity building supports by attending FYI trainings, receiving FYI’s tools and templates, and having access to FYI’s network of contacts.

The Approach

The youth space, which includes a computer lab, recording studio, dance space, community kitchen and workspaces, was planned, designed and built by and for young people in the community. In addition to leading the development phase with partners at the City and YCF, FYI also ensured that 10 youth from Weston-Mt. Dennis secured employment as part of the construction team.

In regards to the Agency Mentorship Program, FYI seeks input from other youth-led groups, in particular the ones they serve directly through the program, to learn what they should be offering and how the services should be presented. This ensures that the information provided is relevant to the groups and applicable to their work in the community.

The Challenges

When FYI began implementing the Agency Mentorship Program, they realized that organizations not formally involved in the program were in great need but unable to access and implement the resources provided through the program. FYI therefore increased informal supports to these organizations, but faced difficulties sustaining this level of supports with just one staff. FYI was able to secure additional funding through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration Partnership Grants Program to add two pieces to complement AMP. The Power of One Program and Shared Learning Project of Agency Mentorship Program will increase the accessibility of AMP materials and additional volunteer supports to help youth-led groups implement their learning and enhance their impact in their community.

The Impact

As former Mayor David Miller helped cut the ribbon to officially open FYI’s space in April 2010, he said the practice of hiring local youth to build future spaces in their communities will become standard policy following the successful model implemented by FYI. This important milestone demonstrates the ability of strong partnerships amongst youth, community and institutions, facilitated by YCF, to create sustainable opportunities for Afro-Diasporic youth in Toronto.

100 youth per week are now participating in 12 programs within the new space, such as life-skills, culture and media arts programs. The Agency Mentorship Coordinator is currently working with three grassroots youth-led initiatives to build their capacity and infrastructure. One of them, Young Diplomats received YCF funding in Rounds 1-4.

The Insights

  • Make sure you have a clear direction, mission, purpose, and outcomes before you move forward.
  • Think strategically and develop comprehensive program plans, using Theory of Change and logic models. This will ensure that all your hard work is helping you achieve an end goal.
Photos
Contact Information
Community Empowering Enterprises
Community Empowering Enterprises
Biography

The Community Empowering Enterprises (CEE) initiative works in collaboration with youth, community groups and business to address employment barriers faced by Black youth living in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods.

CEE’s mission is to increase economic opportunities for Black youth living in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods, supporting them in the areas of employability, social enterprise and entrepreneurship. 

After a year of citywide community-based research, CEE was able to develop a concrete programmatic structure focused on providing supports youth identified as lacking in their communities. Through CEE, youth will have opportunities to explore new approaches to community economic development that are indigenous to and owned by them

Over the course of the upcoming year, the goal for CEE’s employment program will be to create a holistic approach to employment that supports youth in gaining the technical and social skills needed to thrive in a job and positively influence employers to create more opportunities for community hiring. The entrepreneurship program will focus on giving tangible skills, professional networks and experience in order to increase young entrepreneur’s ability to significantly grow their businesses.

Partnership expansion will be an ongoing activity, both with non-profits in programmatic, organizational and social enterprise contexts and with local businesses. The initiative is currently working with other YCF Legacy initiatives Nia Centre for the Arts (NIA) and Young and Potential Fathers (YPF) to develop a joint evaluation system to measure the impact of their work in the community.

CEE is located at Black Creek Community Health Centre in Yorkgate Mall near Jane St. & Finch Ave. For more information, please contact info@ceetoronto.com

Contact Information
Black Creek Community Health Centre Yorkgate Mall Jane St. & Finch Ave.
416-246-2388 ext. 3249
info@ceetoronto.com
Young Womyn Empowered
Young Womyn Empowered
Biography

*Womyn: as a reclaimation; non-standard spelling of "women", women as a non-subcatagory of men; self-defined.

The Need

Toronto’s communities are made up of individuals, grassroots groups and organizations passionate about supporting young Afro-Diasporic womyn to succeed. But oftentimes, they are working in isolation, focusing on a specific type of program or service, while many of their participants and even they as service providers require multiple types of support in order to thrive. 

In addition, young Afro-Diasporic womyn are dealing with a lack of opportunities and spaces where they can heal, build meaningful intergenerational relationships and openly discuss and bring awareness to gender specific issues such as identity, sexuality, family dynamics in the Afro-Diasporic household and mental, physical and emotional health.

Imagine the impact on the young Afro-Diasporic female community if they had access to wraparound supports and opportunities that nurtured their ability to thrive? Young womyn would be fully supported in all aspects of their lives and have the ability to lend their voice to placing an Afro-Diasporic lens on gender-specific systemic issues. 

The Initiative

Young Womyn Empowered (YWE) is a movement of awareness whereby young womyn are empowered and recognized for their greatness. YWE works to promote the positioning of young womyn as their own advocates and the narrators of their own stories.  Through the creation of opportunities for young womyn to discuss and collectively address the diverse needs and the challenges they face, YWE supports personal healing and relationship building among young womyn.  Furthermore, YWE works with young womyn to develop and support the maintenance of needed social infrastructure and higher standards of practices for supporting young womyn. 

With a specific focus on the Afro-Diasporic community, YWE serves young Afro-Diasporic womyn with a focus on Toronto’s neighbourhood improvement areas.

The Approach

YWE has embedded each of YCF’s four pillars into their work. In working to coordinate services across the 13 priority neighbourhoods, and in bringing together a small group of Afro-Diasporic womyn to act as “Thinking Partners” who support the strategic vision of the initiative, YWE is indigenous to the community.

In recruiting young womyn to be members of that group, as well as engaging youth to identify topics for and play leadership roles at summits and other events, YWE is youth-led.

As they partner with other YCF Legacy initiatives, grassroots groups and individuals doing similar work, and as they develop relationships with organizations and institutions to coordinate services for young womyn, YWE is collaborative.

And in focusing purposefully and specifically on supporting and recognizing Afro-Diasporic young females, providing space where they can come together and feel safe, comfortable and supported, YWE is creating transformation at the systemic level.

The Challenges

YWE’s biggest challenge is in figuring how to embed sustainability within the groups and organizations they are working with, so that the initiative’s work continues to have an impact after it fulfills its mandate. A key factor of this work will be to ensure service coordination is in place, supporting groups and individuals to remain connected to each other without having YWE as the ‘go-between’ resource.  

YWE will also focus on building the capacity of Afro-Diasporic young females to keep engaging, partnering, and advocating for themselves and their peers. “We want to instill in young womyn how necessary it is for them to keep using their voices to empower each other and advocate for change,” says La Toya Morgan, Executive Director.

The Impact

YWE’s goal is to support, recognize and empower Afro-Diasporic young womyn. They’ve started a movement, amongst youth themselves and the city as a whole, to increase awareness of the successes and challenges facing Afro-Diasporic young womyn. “Young womyn are coming together to support this work – sharing their stories, their needs, their challenges, their solutions, and building their own capacity to advocate for themselves in the process,” says La Toya.

YWE is also creating opportunities for young women to come together to learn, share, heal, and grow through a number of initiative activities, such as an annual gala in celebration of womyn and themed summit. They are working to create a Rites of Passage process to support womyn as they enter new phases of life that, instead of using the traditional approach of passing knowledge from the older generation to the younger, will develop an intergenerational “sharing of knowledge” that focuses on self-discovery at any age, and building meaningful relationships across generations.

In creating online tools and materials to support existing community organizations and institutions, YWE is not simply helping to centralize information and coordinate community services. They are also sharing learnings from other youth-led initiatives, describing the systemic issues that impact Afro-Diasporic young womyn, and encouraging organizations to connect with other groups doing gender-based work in their communities. As a result, YWE is helping to generate higher standards of practice in programming and service delivery across the social service sector.

The Insights

  • Take your time to build a strong foundation and develop a comprehensive plan.
  • Have a clear understanding of your purpose and what you want to achieve.
  • Build a strong and supportive network of individuals who believe in your vision.
  • Don’t be afraid to slow down when you need to.
Contact Information
ywe@ywempowered.com
Boys & Girls Club of East Scaborough
Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough
Biography

 

The Need

The Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough (BGCES) is a youth-serving organization in the Kingston-Galloway priority neighbourhood, an area identified by YCF through community and youth consultations as lacking in safe, youth-friendly spaces. BGCES received funding from YCF for an expansion of the existing building, allowing for increased variety of, and space for, youth programming.

As part of the initiative, BGCES established the Kingston Galloway Program Governance Committee, whose role is to ensure that a wide range of community organizations have the opportunity to bring their independent programs to the new space. This unique approach is giving young people the chance to access many desired – and required – services within one space.

The Initiative

BGCES received YCF Legacy funding to develop and implement a collaborative, youth-led approach to completing a 9,000 sq. ft. expansion to the organization’s existing space, one of the few available to serve the large Afro-Diasporic youth population in the Kingston-Galloway community. In collaboration with the Kingston-Galloway Program Governance Committee, BGCES launched the space in August 2011 after three years of planning, design and construction. With a strategy to involve youth in the entire planning process alongside adult allies, this new space is enabling a programmatic focus on building the capacity of young people and community organizations to provide supports for underserved youth in the Kingston-Galloway neighbourhood.

The Approach

BGCES utilized a youth engagement model to design the Building Expansion Project, which led to the implementation of this model in all of the programming within the new space.  Youth engagement has become an important ongoing priority in many areas of the Club’s day-to-day business. For example, there are now designated youth positions on the BGCES Board of Directors (as representatives from the Youth Council) and young people participate on interview committees during hiring processes.

The Kingston Galloway Program Governance Committee was established at the outset of the building expansion project to ensure the community could contribute to the space design process.  This committee’s role is now to develop and oversee a collaborative approach to programming so that the new space is used to its maximum benefit for youth and the surrounding community.

BGCES also serves as the trustee organization for another YCF Legacy initiative: Youth LEAPS (Youth Leadership in Educational Attainment with Partners in Scarborough). After working closely with Youth LEAPS, BGCES is shifting from its “youth-focused” approach to a more “youth-led” one. Their involvement with this youth-driven initiative from its infancy has helped BGCES understand the importance of engaging young people in the design, development and implementation phases in order for it to be successful, relevant and sustainable. This is systemic transformation in action.

The Challenges

The addition of space and increased programming has dramatically increased the numbers of youth accessing programs at BGCES.  They are very excited by the programs, but indicate that they would love to be able to access all the new program areas more frequently.  Given this high demand, sometimes youth have to wait for the spaces they are interested in.  Staff are consistently using creative methods for programming to ensure everyone has the opportunity to utilize the spaces and programs they are interested in.

The Impact

The BGCES initiative has created a space youth can be proud of and take ownership of.  They are more enthusiastic about the programs and are actively “recruiting” other youth in the community to participate.  The Kingston-Galloway community has also shown increased interest and participation in the Club events.  The community is more actively utilizing the space for independent programs, thus allowing a broader choice of activities for BGCES members.  This provides young people with a daily exposure to a greater diversity of experiences, people, and community groups.

The Insights

It is important to have patience during a construction process, as there can be long periods of waiting for certain processes to occur.  It is also incredibly important to have flexibility while remaining true to the vision of the project.

From the perspective of youth mentoring during the design and construction phase, it is critical to advocate for the inclusion of youth in the process.  Supporting youth to learn how to insert themselves in the decision-making processes is also key to ensuring the vision of the project is truly youth-led.

Photos
Contact Information
100 Galloway Road Toronto, ON M1E 1W7
416-281-0262
Youth LEAPS
Youth LEAPS
Biography

 

The Need

Schools in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods report the highest high school dropout rates in the city. They are also home to the largest populations of Afro-Diasporic youth.

When addressing barriers to educational attainment, there is a tendency to make assumptions about a non-inclusive curriculum or institutional racism. These ideas, though important, are too broad and simplistic. Learning doesn’t stop when you step outside the classroom. And a variety of factors impact a student’s ability to succeed, from family income and housing to employment and criminalization.

The Initiative

Youth LEAPS (Leadership in Educational Attainment with Partners in Scarborough) received YCF Legacy funding to first identify what Afro-Diasporic youth need from educational institutions and community service providers in order to succeed in school, then shape a deliberate approach that encourages collaboration amongst the wider community.

Youth LEAPS is one of two YCF Legacy initiatives focused on developing and implementing a coordinated, community-based approach to educational attainment for Afro-Diasporic youth. Youth LEAPS focuses on creating supports in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Steeles-L’Amoreaux, Dorset Park and Kingston-Galloway.

Youth LEAPS is not interested in creating a new educational attainment program. Instead, the initiative is partnering up with those already working in the sector, Not only does this approach allow Youth LEAPS to target resources in order to have the greatest impact, it also creates a sense of ownership of Youth LEAPS’ work – and a vested interest in seeing it succeed – across the sector. Using this model of shared responsibility, the stability and vitality of the initiative lies not with one organization, but with five or six.

The Approach

Those working in community and educational attainment have traditionally started by asking: ‘how do we respond to the problem?’ Youth LEAPS started by asking: ‘how do we understand the problem?’ Proper definition of the issues at hand is critical in order for efforts to truly meet needs. This requires us to challenge our assumptions by reaching out to the right people and asking the tough questions.

Though just one component of the initiative, the Youth LEAPS’ academic tutoring program demonstrates this shared responsibility model beautifully. After gathering anecdotal and statistical data, Youth LEAPS saw that the traditional practice of teachers assigning homework was causing many Afro-Diasporic students to fall behind.

The assumption in this practice is that parents have enough time and knowledge to support their children if they need help. However, amongst the Afro-Diasporic student population in Toronto, only five per cent of parents were born in Canada. Many have never encountered the Ontario school curriculum first hand. Furthermore, 60 per cent of Afro-Diasporic students come from low-income families who are unlikely to be able to afford tutoring supports. As a result, these students are often on their own to complete homework assignments and at a greater risk of falling behind.

Youth LEAPS reached out to community partners for support. They approached OISE and York University to recruit students in teachers’ college to volunteer as tutors. They approached Pathways to Education & Youth LINK, whose model of educational attainment is based on volunteer supports, to train the tutors. They approached Toronto Community Housing (TCH) to engage tenants, many of whom are parents of students in this demographic, to build awareness of the program. They approached the City of Toronto to access space to house the program in Dorset Park. And they approached the Toronto District School Board to include the opportunity in its Student Success Program.

The young people who are supported through this tutoring program are students of the TDSB, tenants of TCH, and citizens of Toronto. They have many different roles that make them relevant to each partner involved. This is what sets the shared responsibility model apart – it’s collaborative, youth-driven, and indigenous to the community. It’s also a great example of systemic transformation – Youth LEAPS has brought all of these community groups together to achieve their mutual goals of seeing young people succeed.

The Challenges

- Being recognized as a capable collaborator and a valued partner. The grassroots, youth-led approach is not often validated in the education sector, so it requires that the initiative find the right partners who believe in a new approach.

- Redefining what progress means, and resisting the reflex to replicate ‘models’ that already exist.

- Lack of capacity and infrastructure; finding people to provide supports (research, finance, etc.) who also have relevant lived experiences; developing the organizational infrastructure required to implement Youth LEAPS’ programs and ideas.

The Impact

Youth LEAPS’ mandate is to collect, analyze and disseminate data, information, knowledge on educational attainment. The initiative is collecting anecdotal information from the community, statistical data and literature from the TDSB. They are analyzing the information to identify trends and challenges. And they are disseminating the information back to those who provided it, presented in a way that is flexible enough to support their own mandates.

By focusing on research and evaluation, Youth LEAPS will be able to measure the impact the TDSB and other service providers are having on Afro-Diasporic youth living in the east-end priority neighbourhoods. This work will help create space for greater collaboration. It will support the entire community to become faster at identifying issues and better at responding to them.

The Insights

- Strong relationships with institutions translates into greater impact in the future.

 

 

Youth Justice Education Program
Youth Justice Education Program
Biography

 

The Need

The Youth Justice Education Program (YJEP) received YCF Legacy funding to develop a collaborative, youth-led approach to inform and advocate for the improvement of equity and anti-racism/anti-oppression practices within organizations that engage and support Afro-Diasporic youth.

The Initiative

YJEP is training and empowering Afro-Diasporic youth to develop and deliver training modules designed to transform and animate inclusion policies within mainstream organizations and service providers. Youth staff will lead outreach, facilitate training, and advocate for institutions to incorporate training modules into their operations.

Under the leadership of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC), YJEP has also developed youth-designated space at Don Montgomery Community Recreation Centre (DMCRC) in the Eglinton East/Kennedy Park neighbourhood to house the training program. The space is shared with youth-led entities in the Dorset Park community and the City of Toronto's Parks Forestry & Recreation (PF&R) department.

YJEP provides intensive support programs and services that are tailored to each young person they work with. The initiative addresses the specific needs of youth participants by engaging them in identifying and implementing solutions.

The Impact

YJEP’s success in engaging the specific constituency of youth that YCF was mandated to serve has led them to gain a real understanding of the challenges these young people face. For example, many of the youth participants have educational attainment needs, so in response, YJEP is reaching out to collaborate with other YCF Legacy initiatives that address these needs, such as Youth LEAPS and RRS.

YJEP’s unique relationship with ACLC has allowed for many exciting leadership opportunities for the youth participants. They have been actively involved in various institutional tables and community forums, such as: Ontario Ministry of Children & Youth Services’ release of the Stepping Stones report, ACLC’s ‘Organizing the Diaspora, the 6th Region of the African Union,’ and Toronto’s Trinidad & Tobago 50th anniversary celebrations.

These youth are now community activists, giving back to their community as a result of their involvement in the program. They were guests on a radio show on G98.7 to talk about the scope of their work, how YJEP has impacted their lives as well as other youth YJEP is engaging. YJEP is using mainstream media to showcase the work they are doing while developing the skills of these youth leaders to speak publicly.

Photos
CITY Leaders
CITY Leaders
Biography

 

The Need

Many young people who have grown up in the priority neighbourhoods are proud of their communities and work to make them great places to live. When they see a need for programs or services, they work – or volunteer – at grassroots organizations to address those needs. Sometimes, there are other, larger organizations also working toward similar goals. Traditionally, young people and existing organizations haven’t connected, but rather do their work in silos, achieving less than what they could do together. CITY Leaders was created to help bridge that gap by supporting young leaders to build careers in the social service sector.

The Initiative

Established by United Way Toronto’s Organizational Capacity Building Unit (OCB), CITY Leaders is a partnership of youth-led organizations, academic institutions, funders and non-profit agencies that provides an eight-month leadership training and mentorship program for young people interested in a career in the social service sector.

CITY Leaders’ mandate is to support young leaders in the sector, but after their first training cohort, it was identified that they were missing a key demographic. With YCF Legacy funding, the initiative extended the opportunity to those youth who were harder to reach – Afro-Diasporic youth living in the 13 priority neighbourhoods.

Participants graduate with a certificate in leadership from United Way Toronto and the University of Toronto’s Social Work Department.

The Approach

From the initial orientation session through to the closing retreat, youth shape their own learning experiences. They identify existing issues in their communities, and then complete projects to address them. In addition to the core leadership-based courses, participants select three job-specific electives – such as financial management, social enterprise development or fundraising – according to their interests and needs.

Throughout the program, youth participate in full-day training sessions twice per month, as well as online forums and experiential learning. There are several opportunities for reflection, feedback, peer engagement and support throughout the program. They also select mentors – from CEOs to provincial ministers – who support them for six months following graduation.

In addition, CITY Leaders is enabling systemic transformation by working with partners and existing organizations in the social service sector to build their capacity to engage young leaders.

The Challenges

Capacity building of the social service sector itself has been a challenge for CITY Leaders. When youth graduate, they are ready to change the sector, the community, and the city. They recognize that they have a voice, and they want meaningful opportunities. This is sometimes met with resistance, as it requires true collaboration and transformation at the systemic level. The initiative is working with partners and existing organizations, building their capacity to engage young leaders in their work.

The Impact

CITY Leaders is enhancing the capacity of young people to lead systemic transformation. To date, CITY Leaders has graduated over 100 youth, 50 of whom took part in YCF-funded cohorts. Several graduates have gone on to enroll in graduate studies, while others are now in leadership positions at YCF Legacy initiatives.

Graduates are now working in the social service sector with the ability to mobilize and advocate. They are participating in opportunities they wouldn’t have had access to before CITY Leaders. They recognize their influence within organizations and on advisory boards, working with colleagues and community partners to better understand and implement youth-led approaches.

The Insights

Use a “bottom-up” approach. Youth should influence all components of the program to ensure it is meaningful.

Mutually beneficial partnerships are important. CITY Leaders’ connection with the University of Toronto increases the training certificate’s credibility.

Evaluation is important. It should be thought of as a process to be planned for at the beginning. Measure impact on a regular basis, document stories and promote successes.

Contact Information
26 Wellington St. E Toronto, ON M5E 1W9
416-777-2001
Nia Centre for the Arts
Nia Centre for the Arts
Biography

 

The Need

The concept for the Nia Centre initiative was developed by a group of young African-Canadian artists. Their vision was to fill the existing gap in arts-based programming for African diasporic youth by creating a holistic arts centre dedicated to supporting young people to develop healthy cultural identities.

During its research and development phase, Nia Centre held community focus groups to hear directly from youth about their needs and priorities. What did they care about? Access to creative, youth-friendly, and culturally relevant spaces. Access to arts training that specifically addresses their experiences as Afro-Diasporic youth. Access to a broader holistic support system that is invested in the development of healthy Afro-Diasporic communities.

The Initiative

With YCF Legacy funding, Nia Centre is developing a collaborative, youth-led approach to providing accessible arts-based programming to Afro-Diasporic young people. The initiative is working with youth-led and community-based organizations using various artistic disciplines to create programs focused on equipping young people with the tools to understand and address poverty and other forms of oppression. Programs such as the Art of Facilitation and the Business of Our Art provide youth with critical facilitation skills and business acumen that speak directly to issues such as poverty reduction, social equity, access and inclusivity.

The Approach

Nia Centre has built strong partnerships with other YCF-funded Legacy initiatives, community organizations and arts-based institutions across Toronto. These partnerships serve to position Nia Centre as a key service provider in the youth and cultural arts sectors, using arts-based programming, or the Nia Centre “experience model,” as a vehicle to engage Afro-Diasporic youth in mainstream programming. This five step model involves working closely with partnering agencies to provide historical, cultural, and career points of entry and consideration for youth to better develop a holistic and comprehensive understanding of their art in the world.

The Challenges

One of Nia Centre’s key challenges is in working with large institutions to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of culturally specific arts training and engagement. By working within an Afro-Diasporic context, young people are better able to relate to and connect with the programming on a personal level. As a result, they are more likely to stay involved and grow as both individuals and artists.

Given that Nia reaches out to youth who are often stigmatized, the initiative must sometimes challenge and debunk stereotypes when building partnerships with institutional allies. The complicated bureaucracy of institutional partners can also create barriers to developing equitable and inclusive relationships. 

The Impact

Nia Centre’s work includes creating transformation at the individual, community and systemic levels. Over 300 young people have taken part in arts programming and over 25 have played leadership roles within the initiative. Through Nia, youth not only receive professional artistic development opportunities, but also connection to the necessary holistic supports to help them overcome barriers to success in Toronto’s artistic community. Nia programs aren’t just about helping young people develop and grow as artists – they’re also about supporting them to build strong leadership skills, healthy identities, and a sense of resilience.

The Insights

  • Relationships are of critical importance.
  • Documented organizational learnings are critical to building sustainable infrastructure.
  • Not all African Canadian youth require the same supports.
  • Afro-Diasporic youth surveyed by Nia Centre want professional arts development rather than ‘busy time’ arts and crafts.
  • Ethnicity, immigration status, family structures and religion are but some of the ways that Afro-Diasporic youth differ in their culture and their needs.
  • Partnerships between institutions and smaller non-profits are often uneven relationships that require an equitable, adjustable approach to compensate for the relatively limited resources and capacity of the smaller non-profits. These relationships are necessary for organizational development within small non-profits.
  • The impact of negative self-identity reverberates throughout generations, workplaces, art, politics and geopolitical encounters.
  • Nurturing creative and community space can create a sense of belonging that begins to heal the impact of anti-black racism.

 

Power In Numbers
Power In Numbers
Biography

The Power in Numbers (PiN) initiative received YCF Legacy funding to address the lack of community infrastructure in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Scarborough to support emerging, culturally specific, youth-led initiatives. Youth-led initiatives in these communities have the ideas and drive to engage their peers in healthy and creative programming. However, they often lack the organizational infrastructure to deliver relevant services and access resources.

Using a collaborative, youth-led approach, PiN addresses these needs, supporting these groups by facilitating training in areas such as accounting, human resources, advocacy, networking, governance, and program development/delivery and mental health supports.

Because of PiN, emerging youth-led initiatives have a greater understanding of the youth sector, greater local networks and collaborations, and are better equipped to support underserved youth in the east-end priority neighbourhoods.

PiN has supported several grassroots, youth-led initiatives, such as Beyond the Lyrics, Glendower Demanding Change, Creating Leaders in Chester Le, BITSY and Rise Above. PiN conducts needs assessments with each member organization to identify key areas of focus. Then, they work together to develop and implement a strategy to address needs and meet objectives.

PiN has taken initiative to connect with other Legacy initiatives by organizing several networking events. At these sessions, youth leaders and their adult allies develop relationships, share knowledge and opportunities with others who are navigating similar challenges within their own initiatives. In playing this convening role within their peer groups, PiN is helping to mobilize what is becoming a movement of youth organizing and youth leadership across the city’s priority neighbourhoods.

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Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre
Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre
Biography

The Need:

Flemo City Media (FCM) is a youth-led, grassroots organization that first received YCF funding in 2006 to develop its Flemo City Radio Broadcast program. The initial proposal was developed by eight young men from Flemingdon Park, none of whom had any prior experience in the social service sector. They saw a need to create something positive that would encourage a sense of engagement and pride in the community for the next generation of youth.

The Initiative:

FCM uses media arts as a youth engagement tool for building capacity and community development. Through FCM’s programming, young people develop skills in broadcasting and music production & recording, receiving hands-on experience by operating and hosting live discussions on FCM’s local radio show.   Young people also have an opportunity to participate in leadership training through the FCM Youth Engagement Leaders (YEL) – a youth advisory group.

In 2008, FCM received additional Legacy funding from YCF to develop additional youth-designated space and create a youth service “hub” at their existing location at Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre. This new space will house a wide variety of programs and services that youth have identified a need for – from education in sexual health and legal rights to housing supports to fathering programs – in collaboration with other organizations in the community.

The Approach:

In order to ensure the new space is truly youth-led, FCM formed a youth advisory group called the Youth Engagement Leaders (YEL). The YEL, which consists of 14 Afro-Diasporic young people from the Flemingdon Park-Victoria Village community, works with FCM, its trustee, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) and institutional partners at the City of Toronto to inform space priorities, design and programming.

FCM acts as a champion for youth at the community’s Youth Service Network table. The young people inform what resources and services are needed in the community, and FCM in turn reaches out to other organizations to meet those needs. Through this two-tiered approach, the right programs and services reach the right young people.

FCM has also been a champion for systemic transformation in the Flemingdon Park-Victoria Village community, challenging existing organizations to shift how they work and adopt a youth-centred framework.

As Executive Director Ayesha Rowe puts it: “We work under a three-tiered system: we engage a specific youth demographic to help us identify needs. We then identify partners to help us meet those needs. And we also work with public institutions, with an ultimate goal to run the FCM space in a seamless delivery of service where there is no competition for resources, where we practice a truly collaborative approach, where we leverage each other’s resources and optimize the potential of young people.”

The Challenges:

From the beginning, FCM had an intense sense of loyalty and connection to the community. Everyone involved in the initiative was dedicated and passionate about maintaining the vision. This energy ultimately manifested in a fear or unwillingness to ask for help – it becomes “us” vs. “them”, and we don’t know what “their” motives will be. This mentality prevented opportunities for FCM to grow and develop through collaboration with others.

In addition, FCM staff have experienced burn out. “When you’re not an expert on all the things youth are asking for, it can be overwhelming, especially when you’re on your own,” says Ayesha. To overcome this challenge, she stresses the importance of meeting these needs to her colleagues within the community. “I’ve not only built strong relationships with youth, but also the existing organizations in the community. You need that relationship to exist before you can convince them why they need to work in a youth-centred way and support this particular demographic of Afro-Diasporic youth, and how it will benefit them and the community as a whole.” With both of these unique relationships in place, Ayesha is in a place where she can now connect young people and organizations with each other – taking some of the load off her shoulders.

For the first few years of their existence, FCM was doing a lot of work on the ground, running programming. But they weren’t building the organizational infrastructure that would help keep them sustainable in the long term. Now, a lot of their work is focused on developing the governance structures and staff capacity to establish FCM as a sustainable, independent community organization.

The Impact:

“Flemo City Media is effective because we are socially and emotionally invested in the community,” says Ayesha. “All eight Board members were born and raised here in Flemingdon Park – we’re literally a part of it. We want the young people here to have access to opportunities, a chance to be successful, and to feel pride in themselves and this community.”

The young leaders of FCM have built their individual capacity to run a non-profit organization, inform decision-making processes and advocate for themselves and their peers. They have built the skills and community connection of the young people participating in programming. And they have inspired others and instilled hope in a community where many people face systemic barriers to success without confidence that a better life is attainable.

FCM provides media arts as an engagement tool. When they first started running programming there could be 50-60 youth at the space on any given night, but only two or three recording music or running a broadcast. The others were there for the sense that they belong, feel comfortable and safe – not just safe from violence or harassment, but safe in the sense they won’t be made to feel unwelcome or like they’re doing something wrong.

Now many youth are coming to actively participate in programming and accessing counseling services/supports. Violence in the community has a ripple effect – when a young person dies, their family and friends grieve, and it causes stress and strain on their relationships with friends, family, and partners. FCM provides the supports necessary to deal with that ripple effect.

FCM is also paving the way for systemic transformation at the municipal government level through its progress in space negotiations at the City-owned DRTRC. The City’s proposed five- and ten-year shared space agreements include a governance model including FCM and the City. This represents a shift from the City’s traditional permit, lease and license documents, which is significant not only because it grants the initiative long-term access to the space, but also because City staff will be directly involved as partners in the space development.

The Insights:

Ask for help and accept it when it’s offered.

Stand and assess what’s needed, don’t try to “make do” with what you have. Don’t settle with just “getting things done.”

Prioritize needs at the beginning and reach out for support to meet those needs.

Make sure everyone is clear on the vision, and what their individual roles and responsibilities are from the beginning.

 

2900 Midland
2900 Midland
Biography

 

The 2900 Midland Space initiative was funded to engage the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) to work with youth and community organizations to support the educational attainment of Afro-Diasporic young people who have been disconnected from the school system.

The initiative is using a youth-led, collaborative approach to create an additional 4,800 sq. ft. of youth-designated space at Monsignor Fraser Campus, located in a gang-neutral location at 2900 Midland Avenue. It is expanding on the work of HOODLINC, an organization that received YCF funding from 2007-2010. 

There will be two primary uses of the space:

  • Academic supports in a classroom environment for youth ages 18-21 during school hours
  • Holistic community programming to complement academic supports for youth ages 16-24, after school and on weekends

This initiative is creating a culture of collaboration wherein TCDSB is engaging YCF Legacy initiatives to access and utilize school space, with Redemption Reintegration Services (RRS) playing a lead role. Other Legacy initiatives, including Nia, Power In Numbers (PiN) and Youth LEAPS, will run programming within the new space when it is completed. 

Redemption Reintegration Services
Redemption Reintegration Services
Biography

The Need

There is no question that people who have been involved in the criminal justice system encounter challenges when they reintegrate into society. They must navigate their way through various barriers to find employment, a place to live, a place to belong. For Afro-Diasporic youth from the priority neighbourhoods, this process can be even more difficult given the lack of culturally appropriate supports available to them.

Imagine returning to school after being incarcerated. This is challenging in and of itself. Add on other issues to deal with – such as your new school not having records of the courses you completed previously – and it becomes a challenge too complex for a young person to navigate on their own.

As a result, youth often struggle to make change in their lives and often end up back in the system. That’s where Redemption Reintegration Services (RRS) comes in.

The Initiative

With YCF Legacy funding, RRS has established the first youth-led, Afro-centric, reintegration service for incarcerated youth in Canada. The initiative is developing culturally relevant, coordinated supports for Afro-Diasporic youth within the criminal justice system and for those reintegrating into Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods.

Through its “in-house, wrap-around” service delivery model, RRS aims to support individual needs for successful reintegration – education, housing, employment, family reintegration, recreation, mentorship, and supports to address mental health issues, substance abuse issues and/or legal issues.

The Approach

RRS is a youth-led organization with staff that are close in age to, and culturally reflective of, the youth they serve. Staff are able to understand and relate to youth as they have faced similar challenges in their lives.

RRS’ flexible, individualized approach to service delivery allows staff to adapt strategies to ensure they are addressing each clients’ unique and changing needs. On a day-to-day basis, RRS staff attend one-on-one meetings with candidates to ensure they stay on task to complete short and long-terms goals.

The staff team uses a holistic approach to reintegration by connecting youth to local resources, and increasing their knowledge and understanding of their ancestry and history in relation to their current position in society. RRS staff also facilitate regular workshops and sessions on-site at their TDSB/RRS Transitional school, provide various afternoon & evening workshops, and off-site supports at various open-custody facilities on employment, education, housing, and health, all from an Afro-Diasporic perspective.

RRS has developed a number of collaborative partnerships within the community and with public institutions to address gaps in the correctional and education systems, as well as increase access to mental health and wellness supports.

For example, through a partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), RRS has established an alternative learning school where the educational attainment needs of criminalized Afro-Diasporic youth are taken into consideration.

To address the lack of relevant, meaningful, culturally appropriate programming within institutions, RRS has developed partnerships with open-custody facilities and detention centres to provide onsite programming. In doing so, RRS staff have also developed relationships with detention centre staff and probation officers, which has allowed them to build relationships with RRS candidates and set goals with them prior to their release.

The Challenges

There are a number of systemic barriers and politics embedded within the criminal justice system and beyond. Rather than lose focus, RRS ensures it doesn’t lose sight of its purpose by reflecting on the work that has helped bring the Afro-Diasporic community to where it is today.

Another challenge is the amount of time required to make the changes that are desperately needed in order to better meet the needs of Afro-Diasporic youth in the criminal justice system. The process of breaking down barriers that have been in place for years can be a slow one, and RRS understands that change does not happen overnight. Instead, the organization focuses on the many small steps they have made with their youth clients and institutional partners that indicate progress.  

The Impact

Through its programming, RRS has supported almost 300 Afro-Diasporic youth who are either incarcerated or reintegrating into the community. RRS has also created a number of opportunities for young people to build their capacity and lead within the organization itself – there are 10 youth staff, 5 youth Board members and 8 youth in volunteer positions.

As an organization that is working to create systemic transformation within some of the city’s largest institutions, RRS recognizes the importance of having allies in the community who support and are willing to advocate for their work. “When youth-led initiatives work together and support one another, they build a unified network that can articulate systemic barriers, directly advocate for change and address the needs of Afro-Diasporic young people,” says Jody Dunn, RRS Program Director.

The Insights

“Use the resources that are available to you. Seek out advice from your community. Look to youth for their voice on what the issues are in their eyes, and how you can better support them as they work through challenges. Seek out elders and professionals in the community who can share advice, resources and speak to various approaches in the work that you do.”

“Direct your energy and time where it can best be utilized for ongoing positive change. Be mindful of the committees, working groups and overall meetings that you are involved in to ensure the meetings you attend are for the direct benefit of the clientele you serve and for the betterment of the community. This will help you stay focused and able to directly service the community in a meaningful way.”

Photos
SLAM Youth Hub
SLAM Youth Hub
Biography

The priority neighbourhood of Steeles-L’Amoreaux is home to a diverse youth population that tends to live in isolation from one another, in smaller communities divided by strict turf boundaries.

To address the issues of segregation, isolation, lack of access to youth space and lack of youth involvement in decision-making on space in this community, YCF funded a collective of youth-led entities to spearhead the development of the Steeles-L’Amoreaux (S’LAM) Youth Hub.

The SLAM Youth Hub Legacy initiative is a collaboration that includes youth leaders of the YCF-funded initiative Gashanti UNITY and the Bay Mills Youth Council. With mentorship and support from YCF and institutional partners such as Toronto Community Housing (TCH), these youth are renovating a formerly underused space within a TCH residence into a space where youth feel like they belong – like they are at home. For some of the youth involved, the building is their home.

This initiative is developing a youth-led governance model to incorporate youth and community needs into a total 4,000 sq.ft. space at 365 Bay Mills Blvd., a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) space.

SLAM’s vision is for young people in Steeles-L'Amoreaux to have the tools to create opportunities for themselves and their community through collaborative programming and services.

SLAM’s mission is to create opportunities for youth and other members of the community, break down barriers between different neighbourhoods in the community, and develop and improve a coordinated programs and services delivery model.

SLAM’s mission as a “hub” is not to be the new recreation centre in Steeles-L'Amoreaux, but rather to be a space where young people can create a real future for themselves, be exposed to new learning through workshops, mentorships and networking and be given the space to use their creative genius to sustainably create the needed change in this community.

The SLAM Youth Hub received YCF Legacy funding to create the youth-designated space at 365 Bay Mills Blvd., but it has leveraged partnerships with two previously funded YCF initiatives, Creating Leaders in Chester Le (CLIC) and Glendower Demanding Change (GDC), to access a total of three spaces that span across the Steeles-L'Amoreaux community. The Youth Hub spaces will consist of rooms that can accommodate a diverse range of programs and services. Program development will be led by youth and geared to the needs of youth in Steeles-L’Amoreaux. The main elements of the space include a dance and recording studio, youth lounge, offices for staff, hot desk space, storage for youth-led groups, board room/multipurpose space, community kitchen, and programming space. 

The mark of SLAM’s success will be in the community taking full advantage of the services available to them (indicators i.e. higher participation). The end result will be a marked improvement in the overall health of the Steeles-L’Amoreaux community and a more coordinated approach to addressing service gaps, evidenced by greater collaborations and more stakeholders, including young people, at the decision making table. 

Photos
The S.P.O.T.
The S.P.O.T.
Biography

The Need

Malvern is a priority neighbourhood within Scarborough that, like many other neighbourhoods in the city’s east end, sorely lacks relevant resources and safe spaces for Afro-Diasporic young people. There are a number of organizations serving the community, but they tend to work in isolation.

The Initiative

The S.P.O.T. is a jointly funded initiative of YCF and the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunity Leadership (POL) Fund, in partnership with the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Libraries. It was funded to bring together grassroots youth-led organizations and established community organizations to combine resources and create a youth-designated, youth-governed space in Malvern. This space will create opportunities for marginalized, racialized, and criminalized young people to come together, build leadership skills, receive mentorship, and access arts programming.

In developing this space, The S.P.O.T. is providing much more than a place for young people to hang out. It is providing opportunities for collaboration between organizations that have historically worked alone. It is encouraging people in the community to build relationships, share information and resources with each other. It is bringing people together to discuss collaborative solutions to supporting marginalized, racialized, and criminalized youth.

The Approach

The first step The S.P.O.T. took in developing their unique approach was to define it for themselves as a YCF Legacy initiative building a youth-designated space in the Malvern community.

This meant bringing in over 40 youth living in the community to help inform, lead, and participate in consultations to define what the space needed to look like. It meant forming a youth-led steering committee and Board of Directors. It meant building real, meaningful relationships with community partners – and helping them understand that this in itself is an important outcome of the initiative.

The S.P.O.T.’s approach allows them to work differently with all of their partners. A good example of this is the initiative’s partnership with Urbanology, whom they engaged to help design their logo and website. They used it as a capacity building opportunity for youth in the community by holding a logo design contest. Urbanology also consulted with youth on the design of the website and created a resource manual so they could manage it themselves.

The S.P.O.T. talks about the importance of “modeling” or practicing this approach. They work to create systemic transformation by demonstrating it on a daily basis. They strive to work in a collaborative way that is indigenous to the community so that their partners may better understand how to make changes within their own organizations.

The initiative also uses documentation as a key strategy in creating systemic transformation. They build relationship outcomes – from information and resource sharing to dispute resolution – directly into their partnership policies and procedures. 

The Challenges

One of The S.P.O.T.’s ongoing challenges is in meaningful partnership development. While the initiative has had success in this area with mid-level management and their staff, relationships with upper-level management have been slower to develop. Part of The S.P.O.T.’s work is to remind partners to acknowledge and address the tendency to revert back to the ‘traditional way’ of working when a challenge arises.

In addition, when it comes to outcomes, partners often think only in terms of space development. The S.P.O.T. is continually talking about relationship development and systemic transformation to ensure these are not forgotten as key outcomes of the initiative’s work.

The Impact

The youth involved with The S.P.O.T. have had tremendous opportunities for capacity building. They sit on steering committees and the Board of Directors, make decisions, provide feedback and help clarify the direction of the initiative. Many of the youth involved in writing the funding proposal and implementing the development phase in 2008 have stayed connected to The S.P.O.T. and continue to access resources for housing, employment, school, and/or criminal justice. They are comfortable reaching out for support.

The S.P.O.T. has developed strong partnerships with the TDSB and TCDSB and, as a result, is recognized as a high school co-op placement. Students volunteer at The S.P.O.T. for 20-25 hours per week and receive credits toward their diploma. Staff work with the students to tailor their co-op experience to their needs and interests, doing anything from administrative support and research to partner outreach and even development of an HR policy manual.

The S.P.O.T. has built real, meaningful relationships with its partners. Staff spend a lot of time working with all partners, getting to know them, building trust, and documenting what the relationship should look like.

One unique relationship in particular that stands out is The S.P.O.T.’s partnership with TAIBU Community Health Centre. The organization was new to Malvern when The S.P.O.T. was creating its funding proposal. They shared a common focus on Afro-Diasporic youth. They were building their own capacity and experiencing similar challenges, yet still took the time to support The S.P.O.T.’s youth with community consultations. They continue to offer resources and even office space to The S.P.O.T. staff. And the knowledge transfer goes both ways – when TAIBU staff need access to resources or information, they often turn to The S.P.O.T.

The SPOT has also had a huge impact on the initiative coordinator – an Afro-Diasporic young woman named Femi James. She has grown as a leader and learned a lot – about working in the community, building strategic relationships and also about herself. “This experience has taught me that I need time to process and reflect. It’s taught me how to be strategic while still remaining true to who I am and what I stand for.” 

The Insights

  • Maintain your integrity. Understand what you’re doing and maintain the integrity of the work and of yourself as an individual
  • Commit to learning. Be purposeful and intentional about learning. Look at everything as a knowledge transfer and an opportunity to learn.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Know there is support and use it. Let people in and build trusting relationships with them.
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WackyWave Test Account
Biography
media
Success Beyond Limits

Success Beyond Limits (formerly Jane-Finch's Caring Village) Promoting Excellence initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to implement an alternative education model that brought together community organizations and educational institutions to support youth to achieve academic success while developing their leadership capacity. It established a highly successful year-round support system for high school age youth in Jane-Finch to help them reach their academic and social potential. A partnership with the Toronto District School Board and York University, youth entering grade 9 earned a full credit towards their OSSD by completing a 6-week summer program as well as taking part in a General Learning Skills (GLS) homework club through the school year. It focused on improving literacy and numeracy skills and providing recreation and enrichment activities. Older high school age youth also built leadership and mentorship skills with part-time employment as Peer Mentors in the program.

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Centennial College: HYPE Program

Centennial College received an Investing in Youth grant for the HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Education) Program, which provides educational opportunities for disengaged youth to build skills through a combination of classroom-based learning and hands-on training. HYPE is customized and tailored to the needs of those youth who experience various barriers to education.Approx. 300 students graduated from HYPE's six-week summer program from 2007-2009, when YCF was funding it. HYPE has since become a part of Centennial's core operating budget, ensuring its sustainbility. The program, in addition to course curriculum, includes resume and cover letter writing workshops, resiliency training, employer recruitment workshops and interview preparation. The program provides an introduction to the post-secondary experience, with courses ranging from mechanics to computer training to esthetics. Of those 300 graduates, 150 went on to enrol in post-secondary programs, 50 of which have received tuition bursaries to help overcome financial barriers. Centennial College continues to create opportunities for youth to access experiential and alternative educational opportunities as a partner in two YCF Legacy initiatives, The S.P.O.T and Youth LEAPS. 


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The Jewil Project

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage high school aged youth from Dorset Park, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park, and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village in learning to use post-production equipment for audio, graphic arts, video and animation. The practical experience combined with education training gave youth an opportunity to advance their skills and explore their interest in media arts as a career. The Jewil Project also developed a partnership with TDSB schools which allowed students to receive a co-op credit for their participation, supporting them to complete their high school diploma. YCF funding supported approx. 50 youth to graduate from the program. Participants improved their school attendance and homework completion, and one graduate went on to enrol in the audio arts program at Centennial College.

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JVS Toronto: YouthED

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to support educational attainment for youth in Jane-Finch facing transition to education, employment or apprenticeships without basic literacy skills or high school equivalency qualification. The program consisted of 3 components: 1) Assessment: before enrolling in the GED program, youth took part in an assessment to determine their learning style, academic strengths, and areas to improve; 2) GED Attainment Prep: an 8-week course where youth received training and support in math and language skills from Frontier College and York University student tutors; 3) Classroom Instruction: a 9-week course taught by York University professors in a structured learning environment, focused on language arts, social studies, math and science, supporting youth as they prepared to take the GED exam. YCF funding supported over 200 youth to complete the GED program. The initiative also established a Youth Advisory Committee of youth, student tutors, TDSB staff, JVS employment counsellors, and Frontier College staff. The committee focused on student retention, addressing barriers such as poverty, lack of child-care, lack of housing, and legal issues. 

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Recognize the Real

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage 60 youth in a weekly basketball and literacy program. The program was focused solely on basketball in the past, but with YCF funding it was able to expand to introduce a literacy component and Reading Circle. Within the Reading Circle program, young people created a graphic novel and discussed problems and issues facing the Jane-Finch community. 

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Lawrence Heights CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Lawrence Heights. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. Close to 200 students from 12 local schools registered for the program, which began in 2008. A complement of 45 volunteers supported the youth, in addition to engaging parents by holding community forums and information sessions.

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Rexdale Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Jamestown would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Six local youth were trained to conduct interviews and explain the program to members of the community. 106 youth and 28 parents were interviewed, five information sessions for parents were held, and two school staff presentations were made. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Jamestown community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood.

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Rexdale CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Rexdale Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Jamestown. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. In 2007/08, 77 grade 9 students registered. In 2008/09, 165 students in grades 9 and 10 registered. 34 mentors and 31 tutors have supported youth in the program.

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Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto: S.T.Y.L.E

The Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto (LDAT) received an Investing in Youth grant to establish the S.T.Y.L.E initiative (Skills Training for Youth through Learning and Education). This initiative supported Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth with learning disabilities in Jane-Finch and Westminster-Branson. LDAT partnered with C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Jane-Finch and Domenico Diluca Collegiate Institute in Westminster-Branson to run an after-school drop-in program where youth received homework support and took part in workshops geared toward educational attainment and life skills development. The initiative also ran an 8-week summer program for youth to take educational day trips and participate in workshops and outdoor activities. 

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Lost Lyrics

Lost Lyrics received an Investing in Youth grant to run an alternative educational initiative that used hip-hop to engage youth from Jane-Finch and Malvern. Youth participated in sessions twice per week, discussing self-identity, sexuality, hood politics, ideas of success and healthy relationships.  Participants were also connected to other projects, such as a 3-day camps in music video production and photography training. Participants have played a strong role in determining curriculum, supports and special projects. The initiative created a safe space for youth from different neighbourhoods to work, train and perform together while building positive identities as Afro-Diasporic young people. The organization received additional funding from the Laidlaw Foundation, thus building the capacity of Lost Lyrics as a sustainable youth-led initiative. 

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East Metro Youth Services: Say Word

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage youth in a 36-week multimedia internship program. Over three terms, 30 youth were supported to take a lead role in the initiative, publishing newsletters and magazines and gaining employable skills such as writing, editing, broadcasting and photojournalism. The initiative also provided youth with an opportunity to experience university life through a one-week summer camp at Ryerson University. Youth stayed in residence, took classes and got a feel for what post-secondary education would be like for them. Ryerson students also worked with youth participants and mentored them at the EMYS Scarborough space throughout the course of the initiative. The initiative has helped remove barriers to employment and education for some of the most hard-to-reach youth in the community. Through YCF investment, community organizations and educational institutions have collaborated to create opportunities for youth from the east-end priority neighbourhoods to have a university experience. Teaching staff and graduate students from Ryerson have attested to the systemic changes that made this opportunity possible. 

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Educational Attainment West

EAW’s role is to work collaboratively with educational service providers in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis to maximize program resources and provide relevant opportunities for Afro-Diasporic youth ages 17 to 24 to stay engaged or re-engage in the education system. The initiative works to identify barriers to educational attainment these young people are facing and support service delivery organizations to meet those needs through service coordination and advocacy.

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Nia Upgrade Program

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide literacy supports to 80 youth from the Lawrence Heights community who faced barriers to education and employment due to a lack of basic literacy skills. A partnership with Frontier College, the program offered one-on-one support and group tutoring to upgrade skills in literacy, math, social studies and science for youth who were out of school to gain their high school equivalency or GED. It is a strong example of a community-driven, community-led initiative, where parents, volunteers, and community agencies played a key role in its success. Youth were involved in evaluating the program upon completion, informing how it was run and creating supports where needed. Upon completion, youth reported better test results, felt more confident, had increased work prospects and a more positive mindset to the possibility of higher education.

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Young Diplomats

This culturally-specific initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run weekly academic tutoring and mentorship programming out of the Oakridge Community Centre in Crescent Town. The sessions were facilitated by Ethiopian and Eritrean university student volunteers. Youth participants were connected to career mentors, role models and life mentors. Monthly social events offered enrichment activities, such as organizing youth to attend university fairs and participate in a film program called Blitz Camp. The greatest accomplishment of Young Diplomats has been creating a strong social network of Ethiopian youth across the GTA.

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Ontario Science Centre: Flemingdon Park After-School Robotics Club

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage 10 youth ages 11-18 in a six-week training program in robotics. Using a "train-the-trainer" model, Ontario Science Centre (OSC) staff taught youth how to deliver and facilitate workshops in science and technology to their peers. YCF funding enabled OSC to provide tool-kits and equipment for the youth to bring to their own workshops. Upon completion of the training program, the youth leaders then led an 8-week workshop in three local schools in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village, engaging an additional 80 young people and their parents. Youth went on to lead after-school robotics programs in their own schools as a continuation of the workshops they originally ran as part of the initiative. Youth were introduced to a more hands-on experience of science and technology that engages them more effectively than traditional classroom methods have. 

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PEACH: School Away From School

PEACH received an Investing in Youth grant for its School Away From School initiative, which supported youth from the Jane-Finch community who were disengaged from the education system and/or involved with the justice system and required intensive supports to obtain or recover credits. Youth aged 12-17 participated in life skills, arts-based, culinary, academic and leadership activities to recover incomplete credits. Students worked at their own pace, giving them a sense of accomplishment and ultimately building their confidence in learning abilities. The initiative is an example of educational institutions working with community organizations in support of student success. With YCF funding, PEACH supported close to 50 youth to recover credits over four school terms. An ongoing partnership with York University enables PEACH to evaluate their work and remain committed to their vision. As a partner in the YCF Legacy Education Attainment West initiative, PEACH continues to contribute to strengthening community capacity to provide educational supports for disengaged youth.

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Youth LEAPS

 

Youth LEAPS (Leadership in Educational Attainment with Partners in Scarborough) received YCF Legacy funding to identify what Afro-Diasporic youth need from educational institutions and community service providers in order to succeed in school, then shape a deliberate approach that encourages collaboration amongst the wider community. Youth LEAPS is one of two YCF Legacy initiatives focused on developing and implementing a coordinated, community-based approach to educational attainment for Afro-Diasporic youth. Youth LEAPS focuses on creating supports in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Steeles-L’Amoreaux, Dorset Park and Kingston-Galloway.

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HOODLINC: ROSE Project

HOODLINC received an Investing in Youth grant for its ROSE (Real Opportunities for Success in Education) project, which focused on providing academic, educational, and familial support to youth at risk of dropping out of school or missing credits to graduate.  The initiative engaged over 70 youth to attend an alternative school to complete course credits. Additional support included: wake-up calls to youth to ensure they got to school on time, advocacy to keep youth in school and intervening when youth became involved with the justice system. Youth were able to connect with staff who could identify with their lived experiences and understand their challenges. This fostered a sense of trust that enabled staff to provide mentorship and support youth to make positive choices. HOODLINC is a partner in the 2900 Midland Space YCF Legacy initiative with Toronto Catholic District School Board and other community organizations, securing youth-designated programming space within Monsignor Fraser School.

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Braeburn Neighbourhood Services

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run "Lunch and Learn," a peer tutoring and mentorship program where youth connected twice a week over the lunch break at West Humber Collegiate Institute in Jamestown. Approx. 250 students were supported with homework and exam preparation by older students who built positive relationships with them. Over 70 students were hired part-time as peer tutors. Many participants were newcomers or first-generation Canadians, so the program included further supports for reintegration into the community. The initiative also developed partnerships with community agencies such as Pathways to Education, MicroSkills Community Development Centre and Rexdale Women's Centre, which visited the program to run workshops on goal setting and career planning. The initiative was so effective at engaging youth and building their skill sets that 10 participants went on to lead a mentorship/tutoring program at a local junior middle school.

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Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Lawrence Heights would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Local youth were trained to conduct interviews and focus groups using a youth-led model to ensure they understood and were able to inform the community engagement process. They used their skills and learnings to explain the Pathways program to members of the community. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Lawrence Heights community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood. 171 students from Lawrence Heights schools registered in the first co-hort. Youth involved in the community engagement phase enjoyed learning more about their community and developed skills in research, program design and outreach.

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Ontario Justice Education Network

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage over 100 youth and community organizations in justice education activities, addressing perceptions youth have about the justice system, and helping to minimize the impact of youth in priority neighbourhoods becoming involved with the criminal justice system. In Dorset Park, Malvern, Steeles-L'Amoreaux and Jamestown, the initiative partnered with organizations such as Toronto Community Housing and the Jamaican Canadian Association, local schools, lawyers, judges, police officers and youth to hold justice education programs including workshops, discussions, mock trials, and role playing. Youth coordinators built strong leadership skills through program planning and implementation. By soliciting youth perspectives and conveying them to the Department of Justice as well as presenting ideas on issues to adult audiences, these young people also improved communication, presentation and critical thinking skills. 

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Lawrence Heights Awareness Program

The African Canadian Legal Clinic received a Building Great Ideas grant to develop this initiative, which focused on equipping young African Canadians with the knowledge and skills to advocate for themselves within society. Five youth leaders from Lawrence Heights completed the program in 2008. They were hired and received extensive training to create a series of educational, youth-driven workshops. In addition, they delivered these workshops, which engaged an additional 65 youth within Lawrence Heights and several other priority neighbourhoods. 

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Redemption Reintegration Services

With YCF Legacy funding, RRS has established the first youth-led, Afro-centric, reintegration service for incarcerated youth in Canada. The initiative is developing culturally relevant, coordinated supports for Afro-Diasporic youth within the criminal justice system and for those reintegrating into Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods. Through its “in-house, wrap-around” service delivery model, RRS aims to support individual needs for successful reintegration – education, housing, employment, family reintegration, recreation, mentorship, and supports to address mental health issues, substance abuse issues and/or legal issues. 

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Youth Justice Education Program

The Youth Justice Education Program (YJEP) received YCF Legacy funding to develop a collaborative, youth-led approach to inform and advocate for the improvement of equity and anti-racism/anti-oppression practices within organizations that engage and support Afro-Diasporic youth. YJEP is training and empowering Afro-Diasporic youth to develop and deliver training modules designed to transform and animate inclusion policies within mainstream organizations and service providers. Youth staff will lead outreach, facilitate training, and advocate for institutions to incorporate training modules into their operations. 

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Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples: Hispanic Youth Alive

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to bring together hundreds of youth from the Latino community to learn about their culture, develop new skills and grow as future community leaders. Housed in a completely youth-led space, Hispanic Youth Alive's dynamic programming included a strong tutoring and mentorship program, intensive film workshops and breakdancing classes. They ran summer programming and launched a joint tutoring and gang-exit program. Having established a completely youth-led space in Jane-Finch, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples was able to effectively engage the significant population of Latino youth living in the area. Over 200 youth accessed the space to participate in various programs. 

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Firgrove Youth Program

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to renovate and furnish a portion of a Toronto Community Housing community space in Jane-Finch. Youth in the community supported the development of a youth-designated programming room and a soundproof studio to create music. 

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The Jewil Project

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to convert an under-utilized storage space in a film studio into a soundproof music lab, youth lounge and post-production audio work space. The space serves as the work site for the Jewil Project to provide media arts production training to high school youth. YCF funding was used to cover the costs related to renovation as well as to purchase pre- and post- film and music production equipment. Since completion, the initiative has been a safe space for high school youth to access media arts  and educational training. The site serves as a vital resource in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village area to access arts-based programming where affordable services are lacking.

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Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

 

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance the employability skills of local young men and train them through the renovation of the interior and exterior of the organization's facility. YCF funding also covered repairs and updates to facility equipment. Nine young men assisted with the renovations in the space and were matched up with a mentor from the community to support them with challenges. They each received additional supports from community organizations such as YCF- funded initiative Get in Gear, which provided free safety training and equipment for participants. This investment led to another partnership between Frontlines and Laidlaw Foundation.


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Glendower Demanding Change: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community of Steeles-L'Amoreaux to renovate a Toronto Community Housing unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space. The initiative received YCF funds to cover the hard and soft capital costs associated with renovating the unit. They also purchased equipment and furniture to use for programming. Young people can now access a designated youth space within their community. GDC continues to run programming within the space and partner with other community organizations, including YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
The Spot: Jane-Finch Community & Family Centre

The Spot is a youth-designated space in the Jane-Finch area. The initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to engage local youth to participate in the space development process. YCF funding went towards furnishing the space and equipment based on what youth identified as important elements for a youth-designated space, such as computers. The initiative was completed in summer 2008. The Spot now serves as a site for collaborative programming within the Jane-Finch community. YCF funded initiatives such as the Black Action Defense Committee and Project CANOE have since made use of The Spot to facilitate programming with local youth.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
O'Connor & Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Youth Media Project

This initiative sought to replicate the success of Regent Park Focus by creating a similar youth media arts facility in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village community. It received a Creating Youth Space grant to cover the costs to build and equip a digital media lab for the new site. Youth used to have to travel outside the community to Regent Park to access the program. The new site allows youth to access the training in their own community. The facility supports the media arts training that Regent Park Focus is delivering collaboratively in the Flemingdon community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
PEACH: Space Renovation

PEACH (Promoting Economic Action & Community Health) serves as an alternative educational space for youth who are disengaged from the education system in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. The organization received a Creating Youth Space grant to subdivide their existing location to make it more conducive to learning as well as welcoming to students in the School Away from School program. The renovations generated an open space for learning activities and presentations, an audiovisual and computer learning area, a kitchen and two offices for staff.  The organization and participants have benefitted from the renovations; students now have private space to study, upgraded computers and Internet, private spaces for meetings and a kitchen facility so they can complete their Food and Nutrition school credit. They demonstrate greater ownership of the facility, working together to ensure it remains in top condition.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association: Youth 'N Charge Studio & Lounge

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance its existing recording studio with upgraded equipment, renovate existing space to make it more conducive to reading and writing, as well as create a youth lounge with a resource centre. Several youth leaders led the development of the youth lounge and studio. The space is operated by youth and has been of vital importance to youth and youth-led organizations in the community. The initiative has collaborated with another YCF-funded group, The Spot, encouraging positive interactions amongst youth within the Jane-Finch community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
St. Alban's Boys & Girls Club: Open The Doors

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to build its 'Lane Lounge,' renovating and expanding a garage at a Toronto Community Housing building in Jane-Finch. The Lounge includes a computer lab, an employment resource centre, a kitchen and a multi-purpose room. YCF funding covered costs to obtain building permits, undertake property inspections as well as to paint and make repairs to the foundation and building.  This investment provided local youth with the opportunity to participate in the planning, design and development of the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services: Dance Mahali

Tropicana Community Services received a Creating Youth Space grant to plan and establish a dance studio space in its Community Room. 10 young people were involved in designing and planning renovations for the dance studio, which is now used on a regular basis as a space where youth can get together and learn various dance techniques and styles. This initiative has improved accessibility to programming space for youth living in the east-end priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth Empowering Minds Council: The BASE

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to develop a safe, accessible space for youth that reflects the diversity of the Jamestown community. 13 Youth Advisory Council members led the development of the space, which is owned by the City and supported by City staff. YCF funding went towards purchasing equipment to support various activities identified by the youth driving the initiative. The completed space includes a furnished youth lounge with a projector, and a recording studio with brand-new multimedia software. As a result of the initiative, youth from different ethnocultural communities, specifically Caribbean and Somali, have built relationships. Through outreach at local schools and community events, the Youth Advisory Council has recruited new members and interacted with parents of Somali youth, bridging cultural barriers between the two communities.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Creating Leaders in Chester Le: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to design, renovate and furnish a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a suitable space for youth programming. Tropicana Community Services supported the design process, working with youth to facilitate a community assessment and feasibility study. The YCF grant was used for some construction costs, the purchase of furniture, salary for a coordinator and costs related to capacity building training for youth to lead the space development process. C.L.I.C. youth renovated the space and convened a community-based steering committee. With support from TCH and other organizations in the Steeles-L'Amoreaux community, such as YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub, the initiative continues to run programming in the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Be Real In Your Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant, in addition to public and private funding, to build two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre in Dorset Park - an outdoor sports pad for basketball/netball and an indoor youth priority space. A group of 15 youth led the space and community consultations, planning and design of the spaces, with support from their adult allies at the City of Toronto. The process of developing these spaces generated a lot of learnings that have informed YCF Legacy space developments.   

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
SLAM Youth Hub

The Steeles-L'Amoreaux (SLAM) Youth Hub Legacy initiative is a collaboration that includes youth leaders of the YCF-funded initiative Gashanti UNITY and the Bay Mills Youth Council. With mentorship and support from YCF and institutional partners such as Toronto Community Housing (TCH), these youth are renovating a formerly underused space within a TCH residence into a space where youth feel like they belong – like they are at home. 

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youth_space
Creating Leaders in Chester Le

Creating Leaders in Chester Le (CLIC) received YCF funding to empower youth in the Chester Le community of Steeles L'Amoreaux, offering leadership development programs and peer mentorship. CLIC received a second 'Creating Youth Space' grant from YCF to renovate and open a youth-designated space in a former Toronto Community Housing (TCH) residence. Led by four local youth, CLIC built a relationship with TCH and negotiated a 5-year lease agreement. Youth leaders built their capacity to advocate for, lead, and govern a youth-designated space. This space remains active and utilized by the community.

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youth_space
For Youth Initiative

In 2006, FYI received a Round 1 Building Great Ideas grant of $50,000 from YCF to conduct a feasibility study for expanding the existing space at 1652 Keele Street. In June 2008, YCF invested an additional $1.38 million in Legacy funding to support construction of the space as well as development of an Agency Mentorship Program intended to build the capacity of other grassroots, youth-led groups in Toronto. FYI also received funding for the space from the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunities Legacy (POL) fund.

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youth_space
The S.P.O.T.

The S.P.O.T. is a jointly funded initiative of YCF and the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunity Leadership (POL) Fund, in partnership with the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Libraries. It was funded to bring together grassroots youth-led organizations and established community organizations to combine resources and create a youth-designated, youth-governed space in Malvern. This space will create opportunities for marginalized, racialized, and criminalized young people to come together, build leadership skills, receive mentorship, and access arts programming. 

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youth_space
Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough

 

The Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough (BGCES) is a youth-serving organization in the Kingston-Galloway priority neighbourhood, an area identified by YCF through community and youth consultations as lacking in safe, youth-friendly spaces. BGCES received funding from YCF for an expansion of the existing building, allowing for increased variety of, and space for, youth programming. 

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youth_space
Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to renovate an existing space at Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre to make it more accessible to youth, particularly those with disabilities. YCF funding covered some construction costs as well as equipment. The space is youth-led, governed by a youth advisory council and community centre staff. Renovations to the space were completed in fall 2008. With over 200 youth members, numerous youth access the new space on a daily basis. The initiative has also developed partnerships with various agencies in Eglinton East/Kennedy Park to share this space, helping to address the existing issue of lack of space for young people in this community.

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youth_space
2900 Midland Ave. Space

 

The 2900 Midland Avenue Space initiative was funded to engage the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) to work with youth and community organizations to support the educational attainment of Afro-Diasporic young people who have been disconnected from the school system. The initiative is using a youth-led, collaborative approach to create an additional 4,800 sq. ft. of youth-designated space at the TCDSB's Monsignor Fraser Campus.

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youth_space
Elevated Grounds

Elevated Grounds (EG) is a youth-led, elder-mentored organization with a mission to utilize the performing arts to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly amongst Afro-Diasporic youth. The initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote mental health through the use of music, drama, dance and spoken word performances geared to youth. EG also advocates for appropriate mental health services and programs for youth through collaborations with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Across Boundaries. EG is a strong example of a youth-led social enterprise. They have established themselves - locally, provincially and nationally - as leaders in building awareness of mental health issues from an Afro-Diasporic perspective. What sets them apart is their emphasis on “talk-back” sessions that follow their performances, which they deliver through partnerships with school boards in Toronto, Durham Region, Peel Region and beyond. This component of their workshops has proven instrumental in engaging youth in meaningful dialogue around mental health and ensuring supports - from guidance counsellors to social workers - are available to them.

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social_enterprise , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Community Empowering Enterprises

 

The Community Empowering Enterprises (CEE) initiative will support the development of three unique social enterprise businesses in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. CEE’s mission is to use social enterprise as a vehicle to enhance the life opportunities of African diasporic and other racialized youth, leading to greater engagement of young people in the community and stronger collaboration between local businesses, institutions, and community.  Through CEE, residents of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods will have opportunities to explore new approaches to community economic development that are indigenous to and owned by them.

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social_enterprise
Black Action Defense Committee: Freedom Cipher Program

The Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) focuses on gang-exit, youth employment, community involvement and youth leadership in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. Completely youth-led and youth-driven, it engages youth who are out of school and out of work, teaching them how to take street skills and adapt them to workplaces through mentorship, workshops and a drop-in centre. It also promotes entrepreneurship, providing access to a studio space and hip-hop program where youth produce music and partner with CHRY, York University's radio station. Programming continually evolves according to the needs of participants. Originally, BADC received an Investing in Youth grant for its Freedom Cipher Program, which focused on reaching out to Afro-Diasporic young men involved in gangs and engage them through hip-hop and music production. They soon realized they were not responding to the needs of young women in the same neighbourhoods; the sisters, friends, and girlfriends of those young men. As a result, the Set It Off Girls Group developed, which focused on empowering Afro-Diasporic young women through critical discussions about workshops in identity and life skills.

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male_and_female_specific , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre: Selvy's Circle

Can TYD received an Investing in Youth grant for Selvy's Circle, an initiative that engaged young Tamil women to overcome isolation and connect with their community through a drop-in and mentorship program at two high schools in Dorset Park. The program provided young women with a safe space to discuss culturally-sensitive, gender-specific issues and challenges they were facing. The participants identified topics for workshops and a youth coordinator then facilitated dialogue within the group. Upon completion of the program, they mentored younger participants and continued to get together during the summer months. Selvy's Circle was a particularly relevant program during the political crisis and youth violence in the Tamil community, as significant discussion focused on helping the young women understand and deal with those issues during that time. The young women built strong relationships with each other and gained confidence in their abilities to advocate for and express themselves.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Lil' Ms: HERstory

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to deliver a female-centered summer leadership program, using culturally appropriate programming to build the leadership capacity and enrich the lives of young women, ages 13-16, living in five east-end priority neighbourhoods. Workshop topics included discussions on media and critical thinking, healthy relationships, the impact of crime on women, and money management. Field trips and recreational activities gave participants an opportunity to venture outside of their neighbourhood and broaden their understanding of community. Young women earned an honorarium for  their participation, providing those with economic barriers an opportunity to participate. The initiative engaged a total of 58 young women in five 8-week sessions.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
The Sisterhood

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that helped build positive relationships between African-Canadian and Caribbean young women aged 11-18 from the Crescent Town community. Participants took part in weekly workshops and activities with emphasis on positive female to female relationships. Workshops focused on a variety of themes related to life skills, personal hygiene, self-reflection, female violence, personal finance and community development. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Literature for Life: Yo' Mama Magazine

Literature for Life received an Investing in Youth grant to support the Yo' Mama magazine initiative, a health and lifestyle magazine written primarily by young single mothers living in the 13 priority neighbourhoods. Participants were employed, given training and experience on pitching, researching and writing stories. They were taken step-by-step through the editorial process and are paid for the articles they contribute; giving them an opportunity to share information and experiences as well as earn income. Yo' Mama's editor, also a young mother, developed a style manual to assist participants to maintain consistency in writing styles and deadlines.  Close to 40 young mothers were engaged as freelance writers. The initiative also reached out to young fathers to contribute their own column and capture male perspectives on parenting. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Flemingdon Health Centre: Strong Steps

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant wherein six young women ages 15-19 developed a strategic, strength-based leadership and mentorship program linking teen girls with adult women (Flemingdon foreign-trained professionals and locally employed professionals). The group also established an intergenerational mentoring program for females. 10 high school students were selected to participate, working with five mentors throughout the program. They focused on developing academic and social skills. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
SWING

The SWING (Sisters With Integrity Navigating Greatness) initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that built the self-confidence of young women, actively engaged them in recreational activities, and created a space for them to become leaders and mentors to others in their community. The young women developed ideas for challenging workshops (i.e. communication, patriarchy, spoken word) focused on building critical thinking skills. Through field trips and volunteer work, the group also developed networking skills and built relationships with others outside of the Jane-Finch community. They completed ongoing self-reflection activities to document their development throughout the program.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Mujer: Young Latinas in Leadership Roles

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant for its Young Latinas in Leadership Roles initiative, which provided opportunities for young Latina women to build leadership skills. They developed and ran workshops with their peers, which focused on creating awareness of gender issues. 31 Latina youth from Jane-Finch enrolled as "trainees", who facilitated 10 presentations at local schools on concepts such as patriarchy, feminism, gender, sex and oppression. Youth (including the trainees) were given an outlet to share personal struggles and conflicts, such as family pressures and expectations. Trainees built skills in leadership, public speaking, event coordination, planning, time management and organization. They built a stronger sense of confidence and a circle of friendships as a result of the initiative. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young men in Weston-Mt. Dennis, primarily young fathers, to engage community stakeholders in the renovation of the Frontlines facility. A hired coordinator trained youth to support the community engagement process. Participants received an honorarium for their participation. A core group of 9 young men benefitted from the strong relationships that developed between participants and the staff. The opportunity to engage with community partners gave participants an opportunity to build soft skills and positively contribute to their community.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Young and Potential Fathers

All of YPF’s programming and resources are grounded in Afro-centric principles. The initiative provides programs and activities that develop the identity and cultural roles of young fathers – from cooking, budgeting and shopping to participating in roundtable discussions about current issues and arts programming with their children to encourage bonding.

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male_and_female_specific
Elements

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run after-school workshops that made science and technology relevant to Afro-Diasporic young women living in the Jane-Finch community. In an informal, supportive group discussion atmosphere, three youth instructors and one volunteer led workshops on topics such as sexual health, nutrition, and the science of cosmetics. Beyond the workshops, they also held a variety of educational outings, such as rock-climbing and beach volleyball, to expose the girls to new experiences outside their neighbourhoods. Elements also ran an 8-week summer program, with half the day focused on academics, taught by two TDSB teachers, and half the day focused on social and recreational activities. The young women were not only engaged in science-based learning outside of the classroom, they also built strong relationships with each other.  

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Gashanti Unity

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young Somali women through retreats, workshops and training sessions. Six young female participants completed training on various skills related to starting a community initiative, including: visioning, strategic planning and organizational capacity building. They gained experience in networking, managing projects, planning retreats  and community outreach. All participants had leadership roles and took ownership of the initiative by being involved every step of the way. All participants went on to get involved in other initiatives such as the Toronto Youth Cabinet and Emerge. As a collective, Gashanti Unity also became a lead partner in the SLAM Youth Hub Legacy initiative.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Girls Addicted to Basketball

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant, using basketball as a form of engagement to address social issues that young women face and to equip them with tools to make healthy lifestyle choices. A total of 95 young women participated in two program components: two week-long basketball camps and one 10-week house league program. Both included life skills activities involving role-playing & group discussions on the following: team building, first impressions, self awareness, decision-making, conflict resolution and goal setting.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Young Womyn Empowered

Young Womyn Empowered (YWE) is a movement of awareness whereby young womyn are empowered and recognized for their greatness. YWE works to promote the positioning of young womyn as their own advocates and the narrators of their own stories. YWE works with young womyn to develop and support the maintenance of needed social infrastructure and higher standards of practices for supporting young womyn. With a specific focus on the Afro-Diasporic community, YWE serves young Afro-Diasporic womyn with a focus on Toronto’s neighbourhood improvement areas. 

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male_and_female_specific
Helping Adolescents Improve Their Reflections (HAIR)

 

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to support young women from the Jane-Finch neighbourhood in building self confidence and life skills. There was camaraderie amongst the young women after a couple of sessions and further development of intergenerational friendships, which led to active participation and opened up existing cliques. Two participants were hired as facilitators in the next cycle of the program. HAIR developed an evaluation process to help measure competencies for program development and as a tool of self-assessment for the program participants. Upon completion, HAIR held a graduation ceremony that honoured 16 graduates from its two program cycles, with support from a partnership with Toronto Community Housing (TCH). 


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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Greater Toronto Area Netball League: Girls Can Play

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote physical activity and leadership skills in Afro-Diasporic young women by increasing their participation in sports. It offered an 8-week netball skill-building program and a 6-week leadership development program. Participants had the opportunity to earn nationally recognized coaching certifications, helping them access meaningful employment opportunities in leadership and recreation. The initiative supported approx. 200 young women ages 11-24 in learning about and participating in the game of netball. GTANL also developed partnerships with six organizations (Netball Ontario, CanTYD, Girls Unlimited, City of Toronto, Heron Park Community Centre, Ellesmere Community Centre) to assist with outreach and recruitment, creating meaningful community partnerships and ensuring the program is accessed by hard-to-reach young women. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide youth from Glendower an opportunity to research, design and implement a music program where participants could explore musical composition, beat making, vocals, and recording. YCF funding supported a community consultation, led by one young person who engaged 6 other youth to conduct research and participate in planning and developing the program. Over 250 youth and community members completed a questionnaire developed by the youth to inform the design and implementation phase of the program, making this initiative truly driven by youth and the community. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Bangladeshi Canadian Community Services

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage Bangladeshi and South Asian youth in Crescent Town in addressing community challenges and building leadership skills and self-confidence. They formed a 49-member Youth Peer Cabinet with four sub-committees focused on the following activities: young women's program, mentorship program, creating a "Life in Bangla Town" documentary, and organizing the Multicultural Summer Fest event.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples: Hispanic Youth Alive

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to bring together hundreds of youth from the Latino community to learn about their culture, develop new skills and grow as future community leaders. Housed in a completely youth-led space, Hispanic Youth Alive's dynamic programming included a strong tutoring and mentorship program, intensive film workshops and breakdancing classes. They ran summer programming and launched a joint tutoring and gang-exit program. Having established a completely youth-led space in Jane-Finch, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples was able to effectively engage the significant population of Latino youth living in the area. Over 200 youth accessed the space to participate in various programs. 

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youth_space , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
UrbanArts Community Arts Council: beats.mind.movement

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to create and run a 12-week music production training program for youth living in the Weston-Mt. Dennis community. Over 100 youth learned the technical elements of music production through group lessons and one-on-one tutoring. Using mobile computers and production software, youth gained skills in computer technology. In addition to the workshops, youth were exposed to non-urban musical traditions by attending concerts and workshops by guest speakers.  At the end of each training program, the youth produced a compilation CD featuring their own compositions and performed in a community concert featuring local urban and non-urban musical artists. UrbanArts also partnered with other YCF-funded initiatives FYI, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples and Lost Lyrics, offering a "mobile" version of the beats.mind.movement program in other communities.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Community MicroSkills Development Centre

Community MicroSkills Development Centre received an Investing in Youth grant for its 'Youth Express' initiative. Under the tutelage of artist David Kabuuka, the initiative trained over 30 youth in Batik art instruction at four high schools in Jane-Finch & Jamestown. 14 youth completed a "Train the Trainer" program and went on to deliver summer workshops to 40 youth in local libraries and schools. Youth trainers learned to not only create Batik art, but also how to frame, package and market their work. 11 youth sat on the Project Advisory Committee with staff, representatives from Toronto Culture and an art teacher from Emery Collegiate Institute. The group framed 93 art pieces created in the workshops, created a calendar, and put on two exhibits, one at City Hall (November 2008) and one at Etobicoke Civic Centre (February 2009). Their artwork has helped educate the community, not just in the styles of Batik but in diversity, showcasing the beauty of different cultures and dispelling negative perceptions. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Somali Youth Association of Toronto

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to hire a local Somali youth to collaborate with 15 community organizations in the west-end priority neighbourhoods of Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis and Jamestown to help them better understand the needs of Somali youth when engaging them in community programs. Some of the partner organizations included: Toronto Community Housing, Toronto District & Catholic District School Boards, PEACH, MicroSkills, UrbanArts and the YMCA. Members of these organizations worked directly with SOYAT and the youth coordinator through consultations and training workshops, which helped them understand the specific needs of this ethnocultural group. The significant population of Somali families living in Jane-Finch were in need of additional support to become engaged in the larger community. Through this initiative, 266 youth were impacted, as these community agencies and institutions are now better equipped to support Somali youth participants in their respective programs.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Freelance Rhythm

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run two 10-day Arts, Environment & Community Beautification camps for youth in Jamestown and Jane Finch.  24 youth in total participated in workshops in African dance, drum, song and poetry. At the camps, youth also increased their awareness of environmental issues, such as how to run a recycling program, gardening and community beautification. During the camps, youth delivered a snack program, organized a community arts performance for parents as well as attended 8 experiential field trips, i.e. rock climbing, canoeing, Native centre, and AfroFest. Youth staff as well as participants developed skills in leadership, communication, public speaking, self expression, cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Toronto Tamil Basketball Association

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together 78 Tamil youth from across the city through a weekly basketball league in Steeles-L'Amoreaux. It encouraged teamwork and strong interaction amongst youth in the league regardless of the neighbourhood they live in or the school they attend. When youth were off the field between games, guest speakers from social service agencies delivered seminars as part of the leadership and mentorship component of the program. Youth engaged in discussions about issues that stem from their homeland, helping them understand and navigate through intergenerational challenges and differences between youth born in Canada and their peers who have immigrated here with their families.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto: Shkiniig Minaakewag

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto received an Investing in Youth grant to run an Aboriginal youth mentorship and leadership program. The initiative enabled youth of Aboriginal ancestry that face racism, poverty and a lack of cultural identity to cultivate leadership skills through active participation in traditional Aboriginal activities. Its mentorship program provided tangible skills to help prepare young people to become a much-needed future generation of influential elders, mentors, and community representatives on Aboriginal issues in Toronto. 15 youth attended weekly classes in traditional music, song, dance, drama and art from Aboriginal elders. They took part in traditional ceremonies such as the monthly full moon celebration, teaching circles and sweat lodges. These youth also mentored younger children in arts, drama and dance in after-school programs. Youth were hired to do outreach for the organization - a role previously assigned to elders. This is an example of how youth have been integrated into the organization in leadership roles.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Elevated Grounds

Elevated Grounds (EG) is a youth-led, elder-mentored organization with a mission to utilize the performing arts to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly amongst Afro-Diasporic youth. The initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote mental health through the use of music, drama, dance and spoken word performances geared to youth. EG also advocates for appropriate mental health services and programs for youth through collaborations with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Across Boundaries. EG is a strong example of a youth-led social enterprise. They have established themselves - locally, provincially and nationally - as leaders in building awareness of mental health issues from an Afro-Diasporic perspective. What sets them apart is their emphasis on “talk-back” sessions that follow their performances, which they deliver through partnerships with school boards in Toronto, Durham Region, Peel Region and beyond. This component of their workshops has proven instrumental in engaging youth in meaningful dialogue around mental health and ensuring supports - from guidance counsellors to social workers - are available to them.

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social_enterprise , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre

Flemo City Media (FCM) uses media arts as a youth engagement tool for building capacity and community development. Through FCM’s programming, young people develop skills in broadcasting and music production & recording, receiving hands-on experience by operating and hosting live discussions on FCM’s local radio show. In 2008, FCM received additional Legacy funding from YCF to develop additional youth-designated space and create a youth service “hub” at their existing location at Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre. This new space will house a wide variety of programs and services that youth have identified a need for – from education in sexual health and legal rights to housing supports to fathering programs – in collaboration with other organizations in the community. 

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arts_and_culture
Flemo City Media

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run a weekly radio drop-in program at a studio space in the Dennis R. Timbrell Community Centre (DRTRC) in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Youth took turns running broadcast talk shows on current events and relevant youth issues. YCF funding was used to purchase equipment and resources to improve the studio space, allowing young people to build skills in both broadcasting and production. Youth who led the program built capacity and skills, leveraging the experience to create new opportunities in the community through new partnerships with the Royal Conservatory of Music and CHRY radio station. They planned and took part in various community outreach events, such as the March Break Outreach Blitz, "Stop the Violence" BBQ, and Ontario Prospects Invitational basketball tournament. Flemo City Media (FCM) also received YCF Legacy funding to redevelop the DRTRC space into a more collaborative community "hub" space.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
B Current Performing Arts Corporation

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run rAiz'n Connections, a program to introduce young emerging artists to the roots and contemporary elements of Black theatre practice and the world of theatre. Youth, aged 14-19, learned skills in movement, voice, rhythm, acting, writing, various performance techniques, rehearsing and presenting to enhance their varying artistic disciplines. Participants were trained alongside ensemble members and professional artists/facilitators. Over 100 young artists have actively participated in the initiative, and hundreds more have benefitted from attending youth-led artistic workshops and performances. Youth and mentors alike have reported on the effectiveness of the initiative to equip youth with the tools to present their work to the wider artistic industry.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
OCAYA: Heal and Connect

The Oromo Coalition Against Youth Alienation (OCAYA) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Heal and Connect initiative, which facilitated learning and meaningful integration of Oromo youth in Lawrence Heights, Jane-Finch and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Over 120 youth took part in three programs: 1) Homework Club: a mentoring and tutoring program at a Lawrence Heights school throughout the school year; 2) Culture and Heritage Camp: a day camp that engaged youth in culturally-specific activities during the summer months; and 3) Soccer program - a recreational program that provided opportunities for youth in the Oromo community to play soccer, be a part of a team and learn healthy lifestyle habits. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Friends in Trouble

Friends in Trouble (FIT) is a youth-led organization that aims to improve leadership and employment skills of the hardest-to-reach youth in Jane-Finch. FIT received an Investing in Youth grant to support three programming components: FIT Studios, an interactive studio program for youth interested in entering the music industry; FIT Visions, a video and photography program that develops writing and media skills; and FITech, a program that teaches computer literacy, computer building and repair, web design and entrepreneurship. The initiative also offered counselling, mentoring and advocacy services, as well as workshops on relevant youth issues. The initiative supported over 150 youth with YCF funding. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Black Action Defense Committee: Freedom Cipher Program

The Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) focuses on gang-exit, youth employment, community involvement and youth leadership in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. Completely youth-led and youth-driven, it engages youth who are out of school and out of work, teaching them how to take street skills and adapt them to workplaces through mentorship, workshops and a drop-in centre. It also promotes entrepreneurship, providing access to a studio space and hip-hop program where youth produce music and partner with CHRY, York University's radio station. Programming continually evolves according to the needs of participants. Originally, BADC received an Investing in Youth grant for its Freedom Cipher Program, which focused on reaching out to Afro-Diasporic young men involved in gangs and engage them through hip-hop and music production. They soon realized they were not responding to the needs of young women in the same neighbourhoods; the sisters, friends, and girlfriends of those young men. As a result, the Set It Off Girls Group developed, which focused on empowering Afro-Diasporic young women through critical discussions about workshops in identity and life skills.

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male_and_female_specific , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Heritage Skills Development Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage youth in entrepreneurship, using the arts as a tool. Housed in a Toronto Community Housing space, the initiative led cultural programming such as drumming, dance and theatre, as well as workshops in graphic design and creative writing. The program also included a tutoring and mentorship component. A total of 24 youth participated in the one-year initiative, which ran twice a week. All activities promoted self-expression, while helping youth build leadership skills and hone their creative talents. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Nia Centre for the Arts

With YCF Legacy funding, Nia Centre is developing a collaborative, youth-led approach to providing accessible arts-based programming to Afro-Diasporic young people. The initiative is working with youth-led and community-based organizations using various artistic disciplines to create programs focused on equipping young people with the tools to understand and address poverty and other forms of oppression. 

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arts_and_culture
Royal Conservatory of Music: Sound Connections

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Sound Connections initiative. Through consultations with local youth and community members, the initiative developed and conducted year-round music programs for youth in Malvern and Jamestown. Programs included: hip hop, taiko drumming, singing, song writing, music production and deejaying. Local artists and performers instructed participants on CD production and marketing. Youth participated in various community events and concerts, and several groups recorded and produced CDs of their work. A core group of 10 youth took a lead role in working with RCM to plan programming, make decisions and conduct program outreach, research and evaluation as part of a summer internship program for emerging musicians. The initiative built strong relationships with Malvern Community Recreation Centre and Elmbank Community Centre, and other YCF initiatives Elevated Grounds and Flemo City Media, allowing the program to reach more youth in the Flemingdon-Park and Steeles-L'Amoreaux neighbourhoods. As a result of this initiative, RCM has begun to engage with the community in a different way, supporting community-based music initiatives.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Hispanic Development Council: HUELLAS

The Hispanic Development Council received an Investing in Youth grant to fund the HUELLAS: Latino Hispanic Youth Challenge initiative. HUELLAS provided a drop-in space where street-involved and newcomer Latino youth could access culturally-specific services and support. The initiative had two components: a gang-exit program, which provided street- and gang-involved youth with access to the necessary community resources to support them with the reintegration process. The initiative also offered grievance support through workshops called 'Road to Realness.' The second component of the initiative was an arts & multimedia program, wherein Latino youth documented the realities of their lives growing up in Toronto through video, photography and script-writing. Support from staff enabled youth to explore themes related to identity, migration and the immigrant experience in Canada. The initiative hosted an annual youth summit to showcase the young people's work and discuss relevant issues, as identified by participants. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Schools Without Borders: Emerge

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run the Emerge: Youth Leaders program, which supported young leaders from priority neighbourhoods by strengthening their capacity and advocacy skills, expanding their networks and promoting collaboration. The initiative targeted young leaders working within emerging community organizations, including other YCF-funded initiatives, to enhance their capacity to lead within their respective communities. Youth took part in weekly sessions facilitated by both guest speakers and the participants themselves to encourage peer mentorship. The initiative also included a culminating project wherein participants created their own initiative that engaged youth from their respective communities. Emerge has supported some of Toronto's brightest young leaders, including Arsema Berhane who went on to become the Co-Chair of Ontario Youth Matters, a coalition of organizations advocating for a coordinated youth strategy for the province of Ontario.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services/Lawrence Heights/Westminster Branson Youth Cabinet: Involve Youth

The Involve Youth initiative was designed to help young people build skills in civic engagement, leadership and community development. It received an Investing in Youth grant to hire a youth program coordinator to conduct outreach and workshops with 25 youth from the Lawrence Heights and Westminster-Branson communities. The workshops focused on building the leadership capacity of Afro-Diasporic young people and engaging them in community development. As part of the program, youth visited various institutions across the city (i.e. schools and museums) to support their understanding of the wider community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create employment and training opportunities for local youth to inform and lead the renovations of the San Romanoway facility in Jane-Finch. Four local youth were hired as programming staff and received training on anti-oppression, leadership and conflict resolution so as to effectively engage and support their peers. 38 youth participated in the renovations and subsequent programming. Youth made decisions on what equipment and resources were needed in the space which resulted in the construction of a music studio, resource centre and youth lounge. The renovations allowed up to 40 youth access to the space at once. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
WoodGreen Community Services: Our Voice

WoodGreen Community Services received an Investing in Youth grant for the Our Voice initiative, which provided intensive capacity building supports for a diverse group of 8 youth in Kingston-Galloway, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park and Scarborough Village. Three staff (two of whom were youth) supported the initiative, coordinating a series of workshops on community development. The participants received training five days a week for 8 months, in areas such as public speaking, proposal writing, and program evaluation. Youth then completed a one-month internship with a funding body (i.e. Trillium, Laidlaw Foundation), gaining practical experience in the non-profit sector. Finally, youth completed a one-month placement at a community-based agency, shadowing staff three days per week to learn the everyday tasks involved with community work. Youth learned new skills such as effective writing, research techniques, planning, project development and implementation. They also reported gaining a new respect for funders and agencies, while these organizations now have a greater awareness of youth in their community, continuing to work with youth after their placements ended. WoodGreen continues to strengthen the capacity of youth to advocate and support their peers as the Trustee organization of the YCF Frontline Workers Legacy initiative.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dream Now: NeighbourhoodOne

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create an online network for youth-led organizations to connect with each other and the young people they serve, even after their initiatives have been completed. Through focus groups, presentations and several neighbourhood meetings, the initiative reached 55 organizations and 143 youth members. Youth can visit NeighbourhoodOne.org to gain access to all kinds of information about programs, services and resources available at organizations across the 13 priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Diverse Youth Advisory Council

The Diverse Youth Advisory Council received an Investing in Youth grant for its DEFY Challenge Yourself initiative. Originally a partnership with City of Toronto's Parks Forestry and Recreation department, the initiative focused on engaging youth living in the Crescent Town community in non-traditional forms of recreation such as henna art, drumming and cricket. The initiative developed into a completely youth-led and youth-driven initiative. The group met once a week to plan workshops and events throughout the year, culminating in a larger DEFY Challenge Yourself annual event. The initiative embodied YCF's model of youth-led and youth-driven as the participants conceived of the idea, planned, promoted and coordinated events. As a result, they built numerous employable skills while engaging peers in their community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Power

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to work with young people living in Toronto Community Housing communities across the 13 priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to advocate for themselves. A core group of five youth leaders met with emerging youth groups, working with them to build organizational capacity and teaching them skills to effectively run community programming - from outreach and event planning to applying for funding and finding a suitable trustee. Youth leaders not only built the capacity of their peers to benefit the community, but also their own leadership capacity to act as mentors and facilitators. Youth in Power has supported over 50 young people and has partnered with various YCF-funded initiatives, providing support as well as participating in leadership programming.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Project LEARN

In addition to its Creating Youth Space grant, the Dorset Park Youth Council (DPYC) received an Investing in Youth grant to support the leadership and capacity development of the youth council members. The 15 core participants of DPYC met weekly to oversee the ongoing development of two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre - an outdoor sports pad for playing cricket, basketball, netball, and an indoor youth priority space. Youth participated in weekly sessions that improved their understanding of and capacity for community development. Youth led the community consultations, planning and design of the spaces. With support from adult allies, youth have improved their leadership and a number of other transferable skills, such as public relations, peer mediation and event planning. The initiative has developed a strong model for building the capacity of underserved youth to become civically engaged and advocate for themselves and their peers.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services & C.L.I.C. Youth Space Assessment

This initiative, a collaboration between Tropicana Community Services and Creating Leaders in Chester Le (C.L.I.C.), received a Building Great Ideas grant to support local youth in completing a feasibility project. This project explored the possibility of opening a youth-led storefront space in the Chester Le community. The initiative hired a youth coordinator and three youth animators who received training from staff at Tropicana Community Services in facilitation, community engagement and other components of completing a feasibility study.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
FYI: 1652 Keele Space Assessment & Planning

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received a Building Great Ideas grant to conduct a feasibility assessment of a potential expansion and renovation of FYI's existing space into a youth-friendly, community service hub. Two youth leaders from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community were hired to engage local youth to complete the feasibility study. The hired staff and local youth were directly involved in the process from start to finish, building relationships with staff at the City of Toronto and learning to advocate for themselves and their needs. As result of this initiative, FYI was able to solicit and secure additional funding for their 10,000 sq ft expansion at 1652 Keele St. from several funders, including YCF Legacy funding. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Young Urban Entertainment

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide mentorship and employment opportunities for youth in Scarborough while building connections between local residents and organizations through a series of neighbourhood festivals called "Unite The Neighbourhoods."  18 youth leaders (11 coordinators and 7 mentors) were hired and trained to build capacity in public speaking, event planning and media relations through a series of workshops. Next, they worked with United Way's Action for Neighbourhood Change staff to build skills in grant writing and secured additional funds and in-kind support. Youth coordinators were designated to specific leadership roles in stage production, artist management, event planning, communications and volunteer coordination. The group held three youth-led community festivals (one each in Kingston-Galloway, Scarborough Village and Eglinton East/Kennedy Park). 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
For Youth Initiative: VICTORY

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received an Investing in Youth grant for its VICTORY newsletter project, providing youth from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community with a platform to share their lived experiences through literary and artistic expression. The initiative engaged a core group of 14 youth, as well as contributing members, to outreach, promote, design, edit and write articles for the newsletter. Participants attended weekly meetings to brainstorm topics and plan the layout. The process of creating the newsletter has given youth an opportunity to build skills in writing, photography, graphic design, marketing and promotion. Facilitating community outreach sessions has also helped participants build skills in public speaking and community engagement. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Action

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage a group of 10 youth in Jane-Finch to lead several projects to benefit the community. The group created a documentary called 'Peace, Life, Struggle,' wherein they engaged their peers to talk about issues and address misconceptions in the community. Youth leaders compiled a comprehensive resource guide on youth services in Jane-Finch, which was distributed to organizations and schools in the neighbourhood for young people to access. Not only did the documentary provide youth with an opportunity to tell their stories and have their voices heard, the young people leading the production developed many transferable employment skills (research, auditioning, interviewing, editing, event planning) while engaging their community in a new way.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Glendower Demanding Change

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community to renovate a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space.  Youth were trained in governance, advocacy and program planning so they could manage the space. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Front Line Workers Initiative

FLW is developing a training certification program and delivery model for frontline and direct service youth workers. The initiative will build the capacity of these workers – many of whom are Afro-Diasporic youth themselves – to better engage and serve young people. They will learn about effective practices while developing the skills to address systemic issues that impact youth in the priority neighbourhoods, such as racism, ageism and gender inequality.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
CITY Leaders

 

Established by United Way Toronto’s Organizational Capacity Building Unit (OCB), CITY Leaders is a partnership of youth-led organizations, academic institutions, funders and non-profit agencies that provides an eight-month leadership training and mentorship program for young people interested in a career in the social service sector. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
Power In Numbers

 

The Power in Numbers (PiN) initiative received YCF Legacy funding to address the lack of community infrastructure in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Scarborough to support emerging, culturally specific, youth-led initiatives. Using a collaborative, youth-led approach, PiN supports these groups by facilitating training in areas such as accounting, human resources, advocacy, networking, governance, and program development/delivery and mental health supports.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide youth from Glendower an opportunity to research, design and implement a music program where participants could explore musical composition, beat making, vocals, and recording. YCF funding supported a community consultation, led by one young person who engaged 6 other youth to conduct research and participate in planning and developing the program. Over 250 youth and community members completed a questionnaire developed by the youth to inform the design and implementation phase of the program, making this initiative truly driven by youth and the community. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Bangladeshi Canadian Community Services

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage Bangladeshi and South Asian youth in Crescent Town in addressing community challenges and building leadership skills and self-confidence. They formed a 49-member Youth Peer Cabinet with four sub-committees focused on the following activities: young women's program, mentorship program, creating a "Life in Bangla Town" documentary, and organizing the Multicultural Summer Fest event.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples: Hispanic Youth Alive

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to bring together hundreds of youth from the Latino community to learn about their culture, develop new skills and grow as future community leaders. Housed in a completely youth-led space, Hispanic Youth Alive's dynamic programming included a strong tutoring and mentorship program, intensive film workshops and breakdancing classes. They ran summer programming and launched a joint tutoring and gang-exit program. Having established a completely youth-led space in Jane-Finch, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples was able to effectively engage the significant population of Latino youth living in the area. Over 200 youth accessed the space to participate in various programs. 

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youth_space , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
UrbanArts Community Arts Council: beats.mind.movement

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to create and run a 12-week music production training program for youth living in the Weston-Mt. Dennis community. Over 100 youth learned the technical elements of music production through group lessons and one-on-one tutoring. Using mobile computers and production software, youth gained skills in computer technology. In addition to the workshops, youth were exposed to non-urban musical traditions by attending concerts and workshops by guest speakers.  At the end of each training program, the youth produced a compilation CD featuring their own compositions and performed in a community concert featuring local urban and non-urban musical artists. UrbanArts also partnered with other YCF-funded initiatives FYI, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples and Lost Lyrics, offering a "mobile" version of the beats.mind.movement program in other communities.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Community MicroSkills Development Centre

Community MicroSkills Development Centre received an Investing in Youth grant for its 'Youth Express' initiative. Under the tutelage of artist David Kabuuka, the initiative trained over 30 youth in Batik art instruction at four high schools in Jane-Finch & Jamestown. 14 youth completed a "Train the Trainer" program and went on to deliver summer workshops to 40 youth in local libraries and schools. Youth trainers learned to not only create Batik art, but also how to frame, package and market their work. 11 youth sat on the Project Advisory Committee with staff, representatives from Toronto Culture and an art teacher from Emery Collegiate Institute. The group framed 93 art pieces created in the workshops, created a calendar, and put on two exhibits, one at City Hall (November 2008) and one at Etobicoke Civic Centre (February 2009). Their artwork has helped educate the community, not just in the styles of Batik but in diversity, showcasing the beauty of different cultures and dispelling negative perceptions. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Somali Youth Association of Toronto

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to hire a local Somali youth to collaborate with 15 community organizations in the west-end priority neighbourhoods of Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis and Jamestown to help them better understand the needs of Somali youth when engaging them in community programs. Some of the partner organizations included: Toronto Community Housing, Toronto District & Catholic District School Boards, PEACH, MicroSkills, UrbanArts and the YMCA. Members of these organizations worked directly with SOYAT and the youth coordinator through consultations and training workshops, which helped them understand the specific needs of this ethnocultural group. The significant population of Somali families living in Jane-Finch were in need of additional support to become engaged in the larger community. Through this initiative, 266 youth were impacted, as these community agencies and institutions are now better equipped to support Somali youth participants in their respective programs.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Freelance Rhythm

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run two 10-day Arts, Environment & Community Beautification camps for youth in Jamestown and Jane Finch.  24 youth in total participated in workshops in African dance, drum, song and poetry. At the camps, youth also increased their awareness of environmental issues, such as how to run a recycling program, gardening and community beautification. During the camps, youth delivered a snack program, organized a community arts performance for parents as well as attended 8 experiential field trips, i.e. rock climbing, canoeing, Native centre, and AfroFest. Youth staff as well as participants developed skills in leadership, communication, public speaking, self expression, cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Toronto Tamil Basketball Association

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together 78 Tamil youth from across the city through a weekly basketball league in Steeles-L'Amoreaux. It encouraged teamwork and strong interaction amongst youth in the league regardless of the neighbourhood they live in or the school they attend. When youth were off the field between games, guest speakers from social service agencies delivered seminars as part of the leadership and mentorship component of the program. Youth engaged in discussions about issues that stem from their homeland, helping them understand and navigate through intergenerational challenges and differences between youth born in Canada and their peers who have immigrated here with their families.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto: Shkiniig Minaakewag

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto received an Investing in Youth grant to run an Aboriginal youth mentorship and leadership program. The initiative enabled youth of Aboriginal ancestry that face racism, poverty and a lack of cultural identity to cultivate leadership skills through active participation in traditional Aboriginal activities. Its mentorship program provided tangible skills to help prepare young people to become a much-needed future generation of influential elders, mentors, and community representatives on Aboriginal issues in Toronto. 15 youth attended weekly classes in traditional music, song, dance, drama and art from Aboriginal elders. They took part in traditional ceremonies such as the monthly full moon celebration, teaching circles and sweat lodges. These youth also mentored younger children in arts, drama and dance in after-school programs. Youth were hired to do outreach for the organization - a role previously assigned to elders. This is an example of how youth have been integrated into the organization in leadership roles.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Elevated Grounds

Elevated Grounds (EG) is a youth-led, elder-mentored organization with a mission to utilize the performing arts to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly amongst Afro-Diasporic youth. The initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote mental health through the use of music, drama, dance and spoken word performances geared to youth. EG also advocates for appropriate mental health services and programs for youth through collaborations with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Across Boundaries. EG is a strong example of a youth-led social enterprise. They have established themselves - locally, provincially and nationally - as leaders in building awareness of mental health issues from an Afro-Diasporic perspective. What sets them apart is their emphasis on “talk-back” sessions that follow their performances, which they deliver through partnerships with school boards in Toronto, Durham Region, Peel Region and beyond. This component of their workshops has proven instrumental in engaging youth in meaningful dialogue around mental health and ensuring supports - from guidance counsellors to social workers - are available to them.

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social_enterprise , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Flemo City Media

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run a weekly radio drop-in program at a studio space in the Dennis R. Timbrell Community Centre (DRTRC) in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Youth took turns running broadcast talk shows on current events and relevant youth issues. YCF funding was used to purchase equipment and resources to improve the studio space, allowing young people to build skills in both broadcasting and production. Youth who led the program built capacity and skills, leveraging the experience to create new opportunities in the community through new partnerships with the Royal Conservatory of Music and CHRY radio station. They planned and took part in various community outreach events, such as the March Break Outreach Blitz, "Stop the Violence" BBQ, and Ontario Prospects Invitational basketball tournament. Flemo City Media (FCM) also received YCF Legacy funding to redevelop the DRTRC space into a more collaborative community "hub" space.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
B Current Performing Arts Corporation

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run rAiz'n Connections, a program to introduce young emerging artists to the roots and contemporary elements of Black theatre practice and the world of theatre. Youth, aged 14-19, learned skills in movement, voice, rhythm, acting, writing, various performance techniques, rehearsing and presenting to enhance their varying artistic disciplines. Participants were trained alongside ensemble members and professional artists/facilitators. Over 100 young artists have actively participated in the initiative, and hundreds more have benefitted from attending youth-led artistic workshops and performances. Youth and mentors alike have reported on the effectiveness of the initiative to equip youth with the tools to present their work to the wider artistic industry.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
OCAYA: Heal and Connect

The Oromo Coalition Against Youth Alienation (OCAYA) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Heal and Connect initiative, which facilitated learning and meaningful integration of Oromo youth in Lawrence Heights, Jane-Finch and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Over 120 youth took part in three programs: 1) Homework Club: a mentoring and tutoring program at a Lawrence Heights school throughout the school year; 2) Culture and Heritage Camp: a day camp that engaged youth in culturally-specific activities during the summer months; and 3) Soccer program - a recreational program that provided opportunities for youth in the Oromo community to play soccer, be a part of a team and learn healthy lifestyle habits. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Friends in Trouble

Friends in Trouble (FIT) is a youth-led organization that aims to improve leadership and employment skills of the hardest-to-reach youth in Jane-Finch. FIT received an Investing in Youth grant to support three programming components: FIT Studios, an interactive studio program for youth interested in entering the music industry; FIT Visions, a video and photography program that develops writing and media skills; and FITech, a program that teaches computer literacy, computer building and repair, web design and entrepreneurship. The initiative also offered counselling, mentoring and advocacy services, as well as workshops on relevant youth issues. The initiative supported over 150 youth with YCF funding. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Black Action Defense Committee: Freedom Cipher Program

The Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) focuses on gang-exit, youth employment, community involvement and youth leadership in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. Completely youth-led and youth-driven, it engages youth who are out of school and out of work, teaching them how to take street skills and adapt them to workplaces through mentorship, workshops and a drop-in centre. It also promotes entrepreneurship, providing access to a studio space and hip-hop program where youth produce music and partner with CHRY, York University's radio station. Programming continually evolves according to the needs of participants. Originally, BADC received an Investing in Youth grant for its Freedom Cipher Program, which focused on reaching out to Afro-Diasporic young men involved in gangs and engage them through hip-hop and music production. They soon realized they were not responding to the needs of young women in the same neighbourhoods; the sisters, friends, and girlfriends of those young men. As a result, the Set It Off Girls Group developed, which focused on empowering Afro-Diasporic young women through critical discussions about workshops in identity and life skills.

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male_and_female_specific , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Heritage Skills Development Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage youth in entrepreneurship, using the arts as a tool. Housed in a Toronto Community Housing space, the initiative led cultural programming such as drumming, dance and theatre, as well as workshops in graphic design and creative writing. The program also included a tutoring and mentorship component. A total of 24 youth participated in the one-year initiative, which ran twice a week. All activities promoted self-expression, while helping youth build leadership skills and hone their creative talents. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Royal Conservatory of Music: Sound Connections

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Sound Connections initiative. Through consultations with local youth and community members, the initiative developed and conducted year-round music programs for youth in Malvern and Jamestown. Programs included: hip hop, taiko drumming, singing, song writing, music production and deejaying. Local artists and performers instructed participants on CD production and marketing. Youth participated in various community events and concerts, and several groups recorded and produced CDs of their work. A core group of 10 youth took a lead role in working with RCM to plan programming, make decisions and conduct program outreach, research and evaluation as part of a summer internship program for emerging musicians. The initiative built strong relationships with Malvern Community Recreation Centre and Elmbank Community Centre, and other YCF initiatives Elevated Grounds and Flemo City Media, allowing the program to reach more youth in the Flemingdon-Park and Steeles-L'Amoreaux neighbourhoods. As a result of this initiative, RCM has begun to engage with the community in a different way, supporting community-based music initiatives.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Hispanic Development Council: HUELLAS

The Hispanic Development Council received an Investing in Youth grant to fund the HUELLAS: Latino Hispanic Youth Challenge initiative. HUELLAS provided a drop-in space where street-involved and newcomer Latino youth could access culturally-specific services and support. The initiative had two components: a gang-exit program, which provided street- and gang-involved youth with access to the necessary community resources to support them with the reintegration process. The initiative also offered grievance support through workshops called 'Road to Realness.' The second component of the initiative was an arts & multimedia program, wherein Latino youth documented the realities of their lives growing up in Toronto through video, photography and script-writing. Support from staff enabled youth to explore themes related to identity, migration and the immigrant experience in Canada. The initiative hosted an annual youth summit to showcase the young people's work and discuss relevant issues, as identified by participants. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Success Beyond Limits

Success Beyond Limits (formerly Jane-Finch's Caring Village) Promoting Excellence initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to implement an alternative education model that brought together community organizations and educational institutions to support youth to achieve academic success while developing their leadership capacity. It established a highly successful year-round support system for high school age youth in Jane-Finch to help them reach their academic and social potential. A partnership with the Toronto District School Board and York University, youth entering grade 9 earned a full credit towards their OSSD by completing a 6-week summer program as well as taking part in a General Learning Skills (GLS) homework club through the school year. It focused on improving literacy and numeracy skills and providing recreation and enrichment activities. Older high school age youth also built leadership and mentorship skills with part-time employment as Peer Mentors in the program.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Centennial College: HYPE Program

Centennial College received an Investing in Youth grant for the HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Education) Program, which provides educational opportunities for disengaged youth to build skills through a combination of classroom-based learning and hands-on training. HYPE is customized and tailored to the needs of those youth who experience various barriers to education.Approx. 300 students graduated from HYPE's six-week summer program from 2007-2009, when YCF was funding it. HYPE has since become a part of Centennial's core operating budget, ensuring its sustainbility. The program, in addition to course curriculum, includes resume and cover letter writing workshops, resiliency training, employer recruitment workshops and interview preparation. The program provides an introduction to the post-secondary experience, with courses ranging from mechanics to computer training to esthetics. Of those 300 graduates, 150 went on to enrol in post-secondary programs, 50 of which have received tuition bursaries to help overcome financial barriers. Centennial College continues to create opportunities for youth to access experiential and alternative educational opportunities as a partner in two YCF Legacy initiatives, The S.P.O.T and Youth LEAPS. 


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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
The Jewil Project

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage high school aged youth from Dorset Park, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park, and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village in learning to use post-production equipment for audio, graphic arts, video and animation. The practical experience combined with education training gave youth an opportunity to advance their skills and explore their interest in media arts as a career. The Jewil Project also developed a partnership with TDSB schools which allowed students to receive a co-op credit for their participation, supporting them to complete their high school diploma. YCF funding supported approx. 50 youth to graduate from the program. Participants improved their school attendance and homework completion, and one graduate went on to enrol in the audio arts program at Centennial College.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
JVS Toronto: YouthED

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to support educational attainment for youth in Jane-Finch facing transition to education, employment or apprenticeships without basic literacy skills or high school equivalency qualification. The program consisted of 3 components: 1) Assessment: before enrolling in the GED program, youth took part in an assessment to determine their learning style, academic strengths, and areas to improve; 2) GED Attainment Prep: an 8-week course where youth received training and support in math and language skills from Frontier College and York University student tutors; 3) Classroom Instruction: a 9-week course taught by York University professors in a structured learning environment, focused on language arts, social studies, math and science, supporting youth as they prepared to take the GED exam. YCF funding supported over 200 youth to complete the GED program. The initiative also established a Youth Advisory Committee of youth, student tutors, TDSB staff, JVS employment counsellors, and Frontier College staff. The committee focused on student retention, addressing barriers such as poverty, lack of child-care, lack of housing, and legal issues. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Recognize the Real

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage 60 youth in a weekly basketball and literacy program. The program was focused solely on basketball in the past, but with YCF funding it was able to expand to introduce a literacy component and Reading Circle. Within the Reading Circle program, young people created a graphic novel and discussed problems and issues facing the Jane-Finch community. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Lawrence Heights. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. Close to 200 students from 12 local schools registered for the program, which began in 2008. A complement of 45 volunteers supported the youth, in addition to engaging parents by holding community forums and information sessions.

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Rexdale Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Jamestown would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Six local youth were trained to conduct interviews and explain the program to members of the community. 106 youth and 28 parents were interviewed, five information sessions for parents were held, and two school staff presentations were made. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Jamestown community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Rexdale CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Rexdale Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Jamestown. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. In 2007/08, 77 grade 9 students registered. In 2008/09, 165 students in grades 9 and 10 registered. 34 mentors and 31 tutors have supported youth in the program.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto: S.T.Y.L.E

The Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto (LDAT) received an Investing in Youth grant to establish the S.T.Y.L.E initiative (Skills Training for Youth through Learning and Education). This initiative supported Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth with learning disabilities in Jane-Finch and Westminster-Branson. LDAT partnered with C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Jane-Finch and Domenico Diluca Collegiate Institute in Westminster-Branson to run an after-school drop-in program where youth received homework support and took part in workshops geared toward educational attainment and life skills development. The initiative also ran an 8-week summer program for youth to take educational day trips and participate in workshops and outdoor activities. 

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Lost Lyrics

Lost Lyrics received an Investing in Youth grant to run an alternative educational initiative that used hip-hop to engage youth from Jane-Finch and Malvern. Youth participated in sessions twice per week, discussing self-identity, sexuality, hood politics, ideas of success and healthy relationships.  Participants were also connected to other projects, such as a 3-day camps in music video production and photography training. Participants have played a strong role in determining curriculum, supports and special projects. The initiative created a safe space for youth from different neighbourhoods to work, train and perform together while building positive identities as Afro-Diasporic young people. The organization received additional funding from the Laidlaw Foundation, thus building the capacity of Lost Lyrics as a sustainable youth-led initiative. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
East Metro Youth Services: Say Word

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage youth in a 36-week multimedia internship program. Over three terms, 30 youth were supported to take a lead role in the initiative, publishing newsletters and magazines and gaining employable skills such as writing, editing, broadcasting and photojournalism. The initiative also provided youth with an opportunity to experience university life through a one-week summer camp at Ryerson University. Youth stayed in residence, took classes and got a feel for what post-secondary education would be like for them. Ryerson students also worked with youth participants and mentored them at the EMYS Scarborough space throughout the course of the initiative. The initiative has helped remove barriers to employment and education for some of the most hard-to-reach youth in the community. Through YCF investment, community organizations and educational institutions have collaborated to create opportunities for youth from the east-end priority neighbourhoods to have a university experience. Teaching staff and graduate students from Ryerson have attested to the systemic changes that made this opportunity possible. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Nia Upgrade Program

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide literacy supports to 80 youth from the Lawrence Heights community who faced barriers to education and employment due to a lack of basic literacy skills. A partnership with Frontier College, the program offered one-on-one support and group tutoring to upgrade skills in literacy, math, social studies and science for youth who were out of school to gain their high school equivalency or GED. It is a strong example of a community-driven, community-led initiative, where parents, volunteers, and community agencies played a key role in its success. Youth were involved in evaluating the program upon completion, informing how it was run and creating supports where needed. Upon completion, youth reported better test results, felt more confident, had increased work prospects and a more positive mindset to the possibility of higher education.

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Young Diplomats

This culturally-specific initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run weekly academic tutoring and mentorship programming out of the Oakridge Community Centre in Crescent Town. The sessions were facilitated by Ethiopian and Eritrean university student volunteers. Youth participants were connected to career mentors, role models and life mentors. Monthly social events offered enrichment activities, such as organizing youth to attend university fairs and participate in a film program called Blitz Camp. The greatest accomplishment of Young Diplomats has been creating a strong social network of Ethiopian youth across the GTA.

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Ontario Science Centre: Flemingdon Park After-School Robotics Club

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage 10 youth ages 11-18 in a six-week training program in robotics. Using a "train-the-trainer" model, Ontario Science Centre (OSC) staff taught youth how to deliver and facilitate workshops in science and technology to their peers. YCF funding enabled OSC to provide tool-kits and equipment for the youth to bring to their own workshops. Upon completion of the training program, the youth leaders then led an 8-week workshop in three local schools in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village, engaging an additional 80 young people and their parents. Youth went on to lead after-school robotics programs in their own schools as a continuation of the workshops they originally ran as part of the initiative. Youth were introduced to a more hands-on experience of science and technology that engages them more effectively than traditional classroom methods have. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
PEACH: School Away From School

PEACH received an Investing in Youth grant for its School Away From School initiative, which supported youth from the Jane-Finch community who were disengaged from the education system and/or involved with the justice system and required intensive supports to obtain or recover credits. Youth aged 12-17 participated in life skills, arts-based, culinary, academic and leadership activities to recover incomplete credits. Students worked at their own pace, giving them a sense of accomplishment and ultimately building their confidence in learning abilities. The initiative is an example of educational institutions working with community organizations in support of student success. With YCF funding, PEACH supported close to 50 youth to recover credits over four school terms. An ongoing partnership with York University enables PEACH to evaluate their work and remain committed to their vision. As a partner in the YCF Legacy Education Attainment West initiative, PEACH continues to contribute to strengthening community capacity to provide educational supports for disengaged youth.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
HOODLINC: ROSE Project

HOODLINC received an Investing in Youth grant for its ROSE (Real Opportunities for Success in Education) project, which focused on providing academic, educational, and familial support to youth at risk of dropping out of school or missing credits to graduate.  The initiative engaged over 70 youth to attend an alternative school to complete course credits. Additional support included: wake-up calls to youth to ensure they got to school on time, advocacy to keep youth in school and intervening when youth became involved with the justice system. Youth were able to connect with staff who could identify with their lived experiences and understand their challenges. This fostered a sense of trust that enabled staff to provide mentorship and support youth to make positive choices. HOODLINC is a partner in the 2900 Midland Space YCF Legacy initiative with Toronto Catholic District School Board and other community organizations, securing youth-designated programming space within Monsignor Fraser School.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Braeburn Neighbourhood Services

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run "Lunch and Learn," a peer tutoring and mentorship program where youth connected twice a week over the lunch break at West Humber Collegiate Institute in Jamestown. Approx. 250 students were supported with homework and exam preparation by older students who built positive relationships with them. Over 70 students were hired part-time as peer tutors. Many participants were newcomers or first-generation Canadians, so the program included further supports for reintegration into the community. The initiative also developed partnerships with community agencies such as Pathways to Education, MicroSkills Community Development Centre and Rexdale Women's Centre, which visited the program to run workshops on goal setting and career planning. The initiative was so effective at engaging youth and building their skill sets that 10 participants went on to lead a mentorship/tutoring program at a local junior middle school.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Lawrence Heights would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Local youth were trained to conduct interviews and focus groups using a youth-led model to ensure they understood and were able to inform the community engagement process. They used their skills and learnings to explain the Pathways program to members of the community. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Lawrence Heights community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood. 171 students from Lawrence Heights schools registered in the first co-hort. Youth involved in the community engagement phase enjoyed learning more about their community and developed skills in research, program design and outreach.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre: Selvy's Circle

Can TYD received an Investing in Youth grant for Selvy's Circle, an initiative that engaged young Tamil women to overcome isolation and connect with their community through a drop-in and mentorship program at two high schools in Dorset Park. The program provided young women with a safe space to discuss culturally-sensitive, gender-specific issues and challenges they were facing. The participants identified topics for workshops and a youth coordinator then facilitated dialogue within the group. Upon completion of the program, they mentored younger participants and continued to get together during the summer months. Selvy's Circle was a particularly relevant program during the political crisis and youth violence in the Tamil community, as significant discussion focused on helping the young women understand and deal with those issues during that time. The young women built strong relationships with each other and gained confidence in their abilities to advocate for and express themselves.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Lil' Ms: HERstory

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to deliver a female-centered summer leadership program, using culturally appropriate programming to build the leadership capacity and enrich the lives of young women, ages 13-16, living in five east-end priority neighbourhoods. Workshop topics included discussions on media and critical thinking, healthy relationships, the impact of crime on women, and money management. Field trips and recreational activities gave participants an opportunity to venture outside of their neighbourhood and broaden their understanding of community. Young women earned an honorarium for  their participation, providing those with economic barriers an opportunity to participate. The initiative engaged a total of 58 young women in five 8-week sessions.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
The Sisterhood

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that helped build positive relationships between African-Canadian and Caribbean young women aged 11-18 from the Crescent Town community. Participants took part in weekly workshops and activities with emphasis on positive female to female relationships. Workshops focused on a variety of themes related to life skills, personal hygiene, self-reflection, female violence, personal finance and community development. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Literature for Life: Yo' Mama Magazine

Literature for Life received an Investing in Youth grant to support the Yo' Mama magazine initiative, a health and lifestyle magazine written primarily by young single mothers living in the 13 priority neighbourhoods. Participants were employed, given training and experience on pitching, researching and writing stories. They were taken step-by-step through the editorial process and are paid for the articles they contribute; giving them an opportunity to share information and experiences as well as earn income. Yo' Mama's editor, also a young mother, developed a style manual to assist participants to maintain consistency in writing styles and deadlines.  Close to 40 young mothers were engaged as freelance writers. The initiative also reached out to young fathers to contribute their own column and capture male perspectives on parenting. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Flemingdon Health Centre: Strong Steps

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant wherein six young women ages 15-19 developed a strategic, strength-based leadership and mentorship program linking teen girls with adult women (Flemingdon foreign-trained professionals and locally employed professionals). The group also established an intergenerational mentoring program for females. 10 high school students were selected to participate, working with five mentors throughout the program. They focused on developing academic and social skills. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
SWING

The SWING (Sisters With Integrity Navigating Greatness) initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that built the self-confidence of young women, actively engaged them in recreational activities, and created a space for them to become leaders and mentors to others in their community. The young women developed ideas for challenging workshops (i.e. communication, patriarchy, spoken word) focused on building critical thinking skills. Through field trips and volunteer work, the group also developed networking skills and built relationships with others outside of the Jane-Finch community. They completed ongoing self-reflection activities to document their development throughout the program.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Mujer: Young Latinas in Leadership Roles

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant for its Young Latinas in Leadership Roles initiative, which provided opportunities for young Latina women to build leadership skills. They developed and ran workshops with their peers, which focused on creating awareness of gender issues. 31 Latina youth from Jane-Finch enrolled as "trainees", who facilitated 10 presentations at local schools on concepts such as patriarchy, feminism, gender, sex and oppression. Youth (including the trainees) were given an outlet to share personal struggles and conflicts, such as family pressures and expectations. Trainees built skills in leadership, public speaking, event coordination, planning, time management and organization. They built a stronger sense of confidence and a circle of friendships as a result of the initiative. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young men in Weston-Mt. Dennis, primarily young fathers, to engage community stakeholders in the renovation of the Frontlines facility. A hired coordinator trained youth to support the community engagement process. Participants received an honorarium for their participation. A core group of 9 young men benefitted from the strong relationships that developed between participants and the staff. The opportunity to engage with community partners gave participants an opportunity to build soft skills and positively contribute to their community.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Elements

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run after-school workshops that made science and technology relevant to Afro-Diasporic young women living in the Jane-Finch community. In an informal, supportive group discussion atmosphere, three youth instructors and one volunteer led workshops on topics such as sexual health, nutrition, and the science of cosmetics. Beyond the workshops, they also held a variety of educational outings, such as rock-climbing and beach volleyball, to expose the girls to new experiences outside their neighbourhoods. Elements also ran an 8-week summer program, with half the day focused on academics, taught by two TDSB teachers, and half the day focused on social and recreational activities. The young women were not only engaged in science-based learning outside of the classroom, they also built strong relationships with each other.  

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Gashanti Unity

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young Somali women through retreats, workshops and training sessions. Six young female participants completed training on various skills related to starting a community initiative, including: visioning, strategic planning and organizational capacity building. They gained experience in networking, managing projects, planning retreats  and community outreach. All participants had leadership roles and took ownership of the initiative by being involved every step of the way. All participants went on to get involved in other initiatives such as the Toronto Youth Cabinet and Emerge. As a collective, Gashanti Unity also became a lead partner in the SLAM Youth Hub Legacy initiative.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Girls Addicted to Basketball

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant, using basketball as a form of engagement to address social issues that young women face and to equip them with tools to make healthy lifestyle choices. A total of 95 young women participated in two program components: two week-long basketball camps and one 10-week house league program. Both included life skills activities involving role-playing & group discussions on the following: team building, first impressions, self awareness, decision-making, conflict resolution and goal setting.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Helping Adolescents Improve Their Reflections (HAIR)

 

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to support young women from the Jane-Finch neighbourhood in building self confidence and life skills. There was camaraderie amongst the young women after a couple of sessions and further development of intergenerational friendships, which led to active participation and opened up existing cliques. Two participants were hired as facilitators in the next cycle of the program. HAIR developed an evaluation process to help measure competencies for program development and as a tool of self-assessment for the program participants. Upon completion, HAIR held a graduation ceremony that honoured 16 graduates from its two program cycles, with support from a partnership with Toronto Community Housing (TCH). 


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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Greater Toronto Area Netball League: Girls Can Play

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote physical activity and leadership skills in Afro-Diasporic young women by increasing their participation in sports. It offered an 8-week netball skill-building program and a 6-week leadership development program. Participants had the opportunity to earn nationally recognized coaching certifications, helping them access meaningful employment opportunities in leadership and recreation. The initiative supported approx. 200 young women ages 11-24 in learning about and participating in the game of netball. GTANL also developed partnerships with six organizations (Netball Ontario, CanTYD, Girls Unlimited, City of Toronto, Heron Park Community Centre, Ellesmere Community Centre) to assist with outreach and recruitment, creating meaningful community partnerships and ensuring the program is accessed by hard-to-reach young women. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Firgrove Youth Program

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to renovate and furnish a portion of a Toronto Community Housing community space in Jane-Finch. Youth in the community supported the development of a youth-designated programming room and a soundproof studio to create music. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Schools Without Borders: Emerge

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run the Emerge: Youth Leaders program, which supported young leaders from priority neighbourhoods by strengthening their capacity and advocacy skills, expanding their networks and promoting collaboration. The initiative targeted young leaders working within emerging community organizations, including other YCF-funded initiatives, to enhance their capacity to lead within their respective communities. Youth took part in weekly sessions facilitated by both guest speakers and the participants themselves to encourage peer mentorship. The initiative also included a culminating project wherein participants created their own initiative that engaged youth from their respective communities. Emerge has supported some of Toronto's brightest young leaders, including Arsema Berhane who went on to become the Co-Chair of Ontario Youth Matters, a coalition of organizations advocating for a coordinated youth strategy for the province of Ontario.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
The Jewil Project

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to convert an under-utilized storage space in a film studio into a soundproof music lab, youth lounge and post-production audio work space. The space serves as the work site for the Jewil Project to provide media arts production training to high school youth. YCF funding was used to cover the costs related to renovation as well as to purchase pre- and post- film and music production equipment. Since completion, the initiative has been a safe space for high school youth to access media arts  and educational training. The site serves as a vital resource in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village area to access arts-based programming where affordable services are lacking.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Ontario Justice Education Network

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage over 100 youth and community organizations in justice education activities, addressing perceptions youth have about the justice system, and helping to minimize the impact of youth in priority neighbourhoods becoming involved with the criminal justice system. In Dorset Park, Malvern, Steeles-L'Amoreaux and Jamestown, the initiative partnered with organizations such as Toronto Community Housing and the Jamaican Canadian Association, local schools, lawyers, judges, police officers and youth to hold justice education programs including workshops, discussions, mock trials, and role playing. Youth coordinators built strong leadership skills through program planning and implementation. By soliciting youth perspectives and conveying them to the Department of Justice as well as presenting ideas on issues to adult audiences, these young people also improved communication, presentation and critical thinking skills. 

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youth_justice , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights Awareness Program

The African Canadian Legal Clinic received a Building Great Ideas grant to develop this initiative, which focused on equipping young African Canadians with the knowledge and skills to advocate for themselves within society. Five youth leaders from Lawrence Heights completed the program in 2008. They were hired and received extensive training to create a series of educational, youth-driven workshops. In addition, they delivered these workshops, which engaged an additional 65 youth within Lawrence Heights and several other priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth_justice , non-legacy_initiatives
Central Ontario Building Trades: Hammer Heads

Central Ontario Building Trades (COBT) received an Investing in Youth grant for the Hammer Heads initiative. Hammer Heads is a 12-week skills development program that introduces Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth from Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods to a variety of construction trades, enabling participants to gain both the experience and confidence necessary to successfully obtain an apprenticeship in the building trades. Graduates go on to work as plumbers, electricians, ironworkers, sprinkler fitters, bricklayers, and labourers. Of the 88 graduates to date, 84 have been offered an apprenticeship.  COBT’s 28 affiliated trade union locals provide in-kind access to cutting-edge training facilities and certified instructors who ensure youth are already trained in safety and “job-ready” upon graduation. Hammer Heads also collaborates with various community organizations such as Frontier College and Toronto Employment & Social Services, which support participants with academic upgrading and financial assistance, respectively.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

 

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance the employability skills of local young men and train them through the renovation of the interior and exterior of the organization's facility. YCF funding also covered repairs and updates to facility equipment. Nine young men assisted with the renovations in the space and were matched up with a mentor from the community to support them with challenges. They each received additional supports from community organizations such as YCF- funded initiative Get in Gear, which provided free safety training and equipment for participants. This investment led to another partnership between Frontlines and Laidlaw Foundation.


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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services/Lawrence Heights/Westminster Branson Youth Cabinet: Involve Youth

The Involve Youth initiative was designed to help young people build skills in civic engagement, leadership and community development. It received an Investing in Youth grant to hire a youth program coordinator to conduct outreach and workshops with 25 youth from the Lawrence Heights and Westminster-Branson communities. The workshops focused on building the leadership capacity of Afro-Diasporic young people and engaging them in community development. As part of the program, youth visited various institutions across the city (i.e. schools and museums) to support their understanding of the wider community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Glendower Demanding Change: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community of Steeles-L'Amoreaux to renovate a Toronto Community Housing unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space. The initiative received YCF funds to cover the hard and soft capital costs associated with renovating the unit. They also purchased equipment and furniture to use for programming. Young people can now access a designated youth space within their community. GDC continues to run programming within the space and partner with other community organizations, including YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Bereaved Families of Ontario: Soul II Soul

Bereaved Families of Ontario received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide a forum for youth to explore and express their grief, provide skills in pod-casting and video production, connect youth from various communities, give youth a greater understanding of their culture and heritage and encourage teamwork. Eleven youth participated in the program, where they produced 10 podcasts on dealing with grief, healing and self-expression. Youth-friendly space was also created at Bereaved Families of Ontario, including a wall mural painted by the youth.

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non-legacy_initiatives
The Spot: Jane-Finch Community & Family Centre

The Spot is a youth-designated space in the Jane-Finch area. The initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to engage local youth to participate in the space development process. YCF funding went towards furnishing the space and equipment based on what youth identified as important elements for a youth-designated space, such as computers. The initiative was completed in summer 2008. The Spot now serves as a site for collaborative programming within the Jane-Finch community. YCF funded initiatives such as the Black Action Defense Committee and Project CANOE have since made use of The Spot to facilitate programming with local youth.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre: Get in Gear

West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to run the Get in Gear initiative, which provided Afro-Diasporic youth from the 13 priority neighbourhoods with necessary supports to enter the workforce. The initiative helped youth access training and build employable skills, referring them to programs at over 100 community-based agencies to access various certifications such as CPR, Smart Serve, and forklift operation. YCF funding helped offset costs associated with this training and certification. Get in Gear also provided youth with work-related items essential to accessing and maintaining meaningful employment, such as clothing for job interviews and public transit tokens. Get in Gear helped remove barriers to employment for hundreds of hard-to-reach youth in the priority neighbourhoods. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
WoodGreen Community Services: Beyond Stereotypes

After reading an article describing youth living in low-income housing as "at-risk" and debating the meaning and implications of this label, five youth came together with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) staff to address misconceptions and dispel misrepresentations of youth in the media through positive, constructive work. The initiative, trusteed by WoodGreen Community Services, received a Building Great Ideas grant to build capacity of this core group of youth to deliver workshops on stereotyping to youth groups, employers and social service agencies in the community.  Through these workshops, youth leaders educated both their peers and adults on how to address and overcome issues related to stereotyping.

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non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create employment and training opportunities for local youth to inform and lead the renovations of the San Romanoway facility in Jane-Finch. Four local youth were hired as programming staff and received training on anti-oppression, leadership and conflict resolution so as to effectively engage and support their peers. 38 youth participated in the renovations and subsequent programming. Youth made decisions on what equipment and resources were needed in the space which resulted in the construction of a music studio, resource centre and youth lounge. The renovations allowed up to 40 youth access to the space at once. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
O'Connor & Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Youth Media Project

This initiative sought to replicate the success of Regent Park Focus by creating a similar youth media arts facility in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village community. It received a Creating Youth Space grant to cover the costs to build and equip a digital media lab for the new site. Youth used to have to travel outside the community to Regent Park to access the program. The new site allows youth to access the training in their own community. The facility supports the media arts training that Regent Park Focus is delivering collaboratively in the Flemingdon community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
WoodGreen Community Services: Our Voice

WoodGreen Community Services received an Investing in Youth grant for the Our Voice initiative, which provided intensive capacity building supports for a diverse group of 8 youth in Kingston-Galloway, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park and Scarborough Village. Three staff (two of whom were youth) supported the initiative, coordinating a series of workshops on community development. The participants received training five days a week for 8 months, in areas such as public speaking, proposal writing, and program evaluation. Youth then completed a one-month internship with a funding body (i.e. Trillium, Laidlaw Foundation), gaining practical experience in the non-profit sector. Finally, youth completed a one-month placement at a community-based agency, shadowing staff three days per week to learn the everyday tasks involved with community work. Youth learned new skills such as effective writing, research techniques, planning, project development and implementation. They also reported gaining a new respect for funders and agencies, while these organizations now have a greater awareness of youth in their community, continuing to work with youth after their placements ended. WoodGreen continues to strengthen the capacity of youth to advocate and support their peers as the Trustee organization of the YCF Frontline Workers Legacy initiative.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dream Now: NeighbourhoodOne

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create an online network for youth-led organizations to connect with each other and the young people they serve, even after their initiatives have been completed. Through focus groups, presentations and several neighbourhood meetings, the initiative reached 55 organizations and 143 youth members. Youth can visit NeighbourhoodOne.org to gain access to all kinds of information about programs, services and resources available at organizations across the 13 priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Diverse Youth Advisory Council

The Diverse Youth Advisory Council received an Investing in Youth grant for its DEFY Challenge Yourself initiative. Originally a partnership with City of Toronto's Parks Forestry and Recreation department, the initiative focused on engaging youth living in the Crescent Town community in non-traditional forms of recreation such as henna art, drumming and cricket. The initiative developed into a completely youth-led and youth-driven initiative. The group met once a week to plan workshops and events throughout the year, culminating in a larger DEFY Challenge Yourself annual event. The initiative embodied YCF's model of youth-led and youth-driven as the participants conceived of the idea, planned, promoted and coordinated events. As a result, they built numerous employable skills while engaging peers in their community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
PEACH: Space Renovation

PEACH (Promoting Economic Action & Community Health) serves as an alternative educational space for youth who are disengaged from the education system in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. The organization received a Creating Youth Space grant to subdivide their existing location to make it more conducive to learning as well as welcoming to students in the School Away from School program. The renovations generated an open space for learning activities and presentations, an audiovisual and computer learning area, a kitchen and two offices for staff.  The organization and participants have benefitted from the renovations; students now have private space to study, upgraded computers and Internet, private spaces for meetings and a kitchen facility so they can complete their Food and Nutrition school credit. They demonstrate greater ownership of the facility, working together to ensure it remains in top condition.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Power

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to work with young people living in Toronto Community Housing communities across the 13 priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to advocate for themselves. A core group of five youth leaders met with emerging youth groups, working with them to build organizational capacity and teaching them skills to effectively run community programming - from outreach and event planning to applying for funding and finding a suitable trustee. Youth leaders not only built the capacity of their peers to benefit the community, but also their own leadership capacity to act as mentors and facilitators. Youth in Power has supported over 50 young people and has partnered with various YCF-funded initiatives, providing support as well as participating in leadership programming.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Project LEARN

In addition to its Creating Youth Space grant, the Dorset Park Youth Council (DPYC) received an Investing in Youth grant to support the leadership and capacity development of the youth council members. The 15 core participants of DPYC met weekly to oversee the ongoing development of two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre - an outdoor sports pad for playing cricket, basketball, netball, and an indoor youth priority space. Youth participated in weekly sessions that improved their understanding of and capacity for community development. Youth led the community consultations, planning and design of the spaces. With support from adult allies, youth have improved their leadership and a number of other transferable skills, such as public relations, peer mediation and event planning. The initiative has developed a strong model for building the capacity of underserved youth to become civically engaged and advocate for themselves and their peers.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association: Youth 'N Charge Studio & Lounge

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance its existing recording studio with upgraded equipment, renovate existing space to make it more conducive to reading and writing, as well as create a youth lounge with a resource centre. Several youth leaders led the development of the youth lounge and studio. The space is operated by youth and has been of vital importance to youth and youth-led organizations in the community. The initiative has collaborated with another YCF-funded group, The Spot, encouraging positive interactions amongst youth within the Jane-Finch community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
St. Alban's Boys & Girls Club: Open The Doors

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to build its 'Lane Lounge,' renovating and expanding a garage at a Toronto Community Housing building in Jane-Finch. The Lounge includes a computer lab, an employment resource centre, a kitchen and a multi-purpose room. YCF funding covered costs to obtain building permits, undertake property inspections as well as to paint and make repairs to the foundation and building.  This investment provided local youth with the opportunity to participate in the planning, design and development of the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services: Dance Mahali

Tropicana Community Services received a Creating Youth Space grant to plan and establish a dance studio space in its Community Room. 10 young people were involved in designing and planning renovations for the dance studio, which is now used on a regular basis as a space where youth can get together and learn various dance techniques and styles. This initiative has improved accessibility to programming space for youth living in the east-end priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services & C.L.I.C. Youth Space Assessment

This initiative, a collaboration between Tropicana Community Services and Creating Leaders in Chester Le (C.L.I.C.), received a Building Great Ideas grant to support local youth in completing a feasibility project. This project explored the possibility of opening a youth-led storefront space in the Chester Le community. The initiative hired a youth coordinator and three youth animators who received training from staff at Tropicana Community Services in facilitation, community engagement and other components of completing a feasibility study.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
FYI: 1652 Keele Space Assessment & Planning

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received a Building Great Ideas grant to conduct a feasibility assessment of a potential expansion and renovation of FYI's existing space into a youth-friendly, community service hub. Two youth leaders from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community were hired to engage local youth to complete the feasibility study. The hired staff and local youth were directly involved in the process from start to finish, building relationships with staff at the City of Toronto and learning to advocate for themselves and their needs. As result of this initiative, FYI was able to solicit and secure additional funding for their 10,000 sq ft expansion at 1652 Keele St. from several funders, including YCF Legacy funding. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth Empowering Minds Council: The BASE

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to develop a safe, accessible space for youth that reflects the diversity of the Jamestown community. 13 Youth Advisory Council members led the development of the space, which is owned by the City and supported by City staff. YCF funding went towards purchasing equipment to support various activities identified by the youth driving the initiative. The completed space includes a furnished youth lounge with a projector, and a recording studio with brand-new multimedia software. As a result of the initiative, youth from different ethnocultural communities, specifically Caribbean and Somali, have built relationships. Through outreach at local schools and community events, the Youth Advisory Council has recruited new members and interacted with parents of Somali youth, bridging cultural barriers between the two communities.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
North Scarborough Soccer Club

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide opportunities for youth from low-income families to participate in North Scarborough Soccer Club (NSSC) soccer programs through free or subsidized enrolment, while offering mentorship from coaches. NSSC supported 46 families to enrol their children in the summer soccer program for free. An additional 50 families received subsidies to participate in the indoor soccer program. The initiative held summer training camps for youth to develop their skills and learn the fundamentals of soccer. Mentors worked on an ongoing basis with young people to encourage a positive outlook on life. Youth made new friends, learned new skills, and were engaged in sports and educational activities that built their awareness of healthy lifestyles. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Afri-Can Food Basket: Cultivating Youth Leaders

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant for the Cultivating Youth Leaders Urban Farming Project, which engages Afro-Diasporic youth in food security, organic farming, health promotion and social entrepreneurship. The eight-month program consists of four stages. The first stage engaged youth participants through outreach and promotion strategies. Youth then participated in a 13-session workshop on leadership, life skills, community food security, and urban agriculture training. In the third stage, participants were hired for full-time summer employment as interns. Youth harvested organic produce which was donated to local food banks in Jamestown, and used to prepare weekly meals for senior citizens. Interns organized and facilitated activities for hundreds of community members. Upon completion, youth participated in an evaluation of the program and help improve the curriculum for the following term. As a result of CYL, some youth are considering urban agriculture as a potential career path. They have also made changes in their dietary habits and taken greater interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Regent Park Focus: O'Connor & Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Youth Media Project

Regent Park Focus received an Investing in Youth grant to help expand their services to the O'Connor, Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe communities. The initiative partnered with the YMCA job readiness program to work with youth who were out of work and school. Approx. 50 participants attended a three-month media literacy and life skills training program, which consisted of workshops and hands-on opportunities to create documentaries and videos. The program gave participants an opportunity to enhance their employable skills as well as explore their interests in film and media arts. The second part of the initiative was a partnership with Flemingdon Community Centre and local youth to create a youth-focused magazine. A core group of 13 participants attended weekly sessions to enhance their understanding of the production process and outreach to another 20 youth as freelance writers and photographers. The young people were responsible for deciding on the content, layout and the final publication.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Young Urban Entertainment

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide mentorship and employment opportunities for youth in Scarborough while building connections between local residents and organizations through a series of neighbourhood festivals called "Unite The Neighbourhoods."  18 youth leaders (11 coordinators and 7 mentors) were hired and trained to build capacity in public speaking, event planning and media relations through a series of workshops. Next, they worked with United Way's Action for Neighbourhood Change staff to build skills in grant writing and secured additional funds and in-kind support. Youth coordinators were designated to specific leadership roles in stage production, artist management, event planning, communications and volunteer coordination. The group held three youth-led community festivals (one each in Kingston-Galloway, Scarborough Village and Eglinton East/Kennedy Park). 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
For Youth Initiative: VICTORY

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received an Investing in Youth grant for its VICTORY newsletter project, providing youth from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community with a platform to share their lived experiences through literary and artistic expression. The initiative engaged a core group of 14 youth, as well as contributing members, to outreach, promote, design, edit and write articles for the newsletter. Participants attended weekly meetings to brainstorm topics and plan the layout. The process of creating the newsletter has given youth an opportunity to build skills in writing, photography, graphic design, marketing and promotion. Facilitating community outreach sessions has also helped participants build skills in public speaking and community engagement. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Action

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage a group of 10 youth in Jane-Finch to lead several projects to benefit the community. The group created a documentary called 'Peace, Life, Struggle,' wherein they engaged their peers to talk about issues and address misconceptions in the community. Youth leaders compiled a comprehensive resource guide on youth services in Jane-Finch, which was distributed to organizations and schools in the neighbourhood for young people to access. Not only did the documentary provide youth with an opportunity to tell their stories and have their voices heard, the young people leading the production developed many transferable employment skills (research, auditioning, interviewing, editing, event planning) while engaging their community in a new way.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Glendower Demanding Change

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community to renovate a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space.  Youth were trained in governance, advocacy and program planning so they could manage the space. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention: Mate Masie

The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) was created in response to the gap in services for HIV infected and affected youth within the community. Black CAP received an Investing in Youth grant for its Mate Masie initiative, which provided HIV/AIDS and STI prevention education to youth in the 13 priority neighbourhoods. It combined the principles of Kwanzaa, yoga and sexual health into a series of interactive workshops that created a safe space for participants to explore sexual health education and other 'taboo' issues. For two years, Black CAP ran sessions in both the summer and fall, each consisting of a 7-week workshop series followed by a weekend retreat. A total of 200 young people were engaged in the initiative, with 50 participants per session. 16 youth site coordinators took on leadership roles in all areas of the program - outreach, site coordination, hiring, training. They participated in monthly capacity building / anti-oppression workshops, which helped deepen their knowledge of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and prepared them to effectively coordinate the sites.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Black Youth Coalition Against Violence

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide Afro-Diasporic youth with opportunities to build skills and access employment. Youth coordinators organized semi-annual conferences for their peers, centred around issues identified by young people as important. The initiative held three conferences: the Freedom Summit, the Blueprint Summit, which focused on financial literacy, and the Kuumba Nia Summit, which focused on arts and culture. The conferences, held at Ryerson and University of Toronto, drew approx. 600 youth in total. With YCF funds, BYCAV also delivered monthly workshops called "The Truth" in community centres, libraries and schools, which focused on a theme such as education, leadership and employment. BYCAV held a contest in partnership with other community organizations called "Imagine a Community", which invited youth ages 14-22 to submit their visions for how to make their community a better place to live. BYCAV then worked with the winners to turn their ideas into reality. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Creating Leaders in Chester Le: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to design, renovate and furnish a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a suitable space for youth programming. Tropicana Community Services supported the design process, working with youth to facilitate a community assessment and feasibility study. The YCF grant was used for some construction costs, the purchase of furniture, salary for a coordinator and costs related to capacity building training for youth to lead the space development process. C.L.I.C. youth renovated the space and convened a community-based steering committee. With support from TCH and other organizations in the Steeles-L'Amoreaux community, such as YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub, the initiative continues to run programming in the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Bondee Football Club: Youth House League

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide youth with a space to interact with each other and play sports. 27 youth ages 12-15 participated in the House League program which ran every Saturday. The initiative also had an informal mentorship component, led by members of Bondee Football Club who build strong relationships with the young people who look up to them as role models. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Project C.A.N.O.E.

This initiative, a collaboration between Project C.A.N.O.E and YCF-funded initiative The Spot, received an Investing in Youth grant to provide young people from Jane-Finch with outdoor educational opportunities that supported personal growth and skills development. Access to experiential learning through outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and ecological tours encouraged participants to develop new skills and interests. Together, Project C.A.N.O.E. and The Spot coordinated a Young Leaders Group, which held weekly sessions at The Spot's YCF-funded youth space to discuss leadership development and plan outdoor trips. Participants also received First Aid and Bronze Cross certification. Youth conducted outreach and engaged their peers to participate in the initiative with the aim of becoming completely youth-led. YCF funding supported over 30 youth to take part in the initiative, including a core group of 10 youth who were directly involved in planning and implementing the work plan.  

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non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Be Real In Your Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant, in addition to public and private funding, to build two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre in Dorset Park - an outdoor sports pad for basketball/netball and an indoor youth priority space. A group of 15 youth led the space and community consultations, planning and design of the spaces, with support from their adult allies at the City of Toronto. The process of developing these spaces generated a lot of learnings that have informed YCF Legacy space developments.   

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Art Starts Neighbourhood Cultural Centre

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide youth from Glendower an opportunity to research, design and implement a music program where participants could explore musical composition, beat making, vocals, and recording. YCF funding supported a community consultation, led by one young person who engaged 6 other youth to conduct research and participate in planning and developing the program. Over 250 youth and community members completed a questionnaire developed by the youth to inform the design and implementation phase of the program, making this initiative truly driven by youth and the community. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Bangladeshi Canadian Community Services

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage Bangladeshi and South Asian youth in Crescent Town in addressing community challenges and building leadership skills and self-confidence. They formed a 49-member Youth Peer Cabinet with four sub-committees focused on the following activities: young women's program, mentorship program, creating a "Life in Bangla Town" documentary, and organizing the Multicultural Summer Fest event.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples: Hispanic Youth Alive

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to bring together hundreds of youth from the Latino community to learn about their culture, develop new skills and grow as future community leaders. Housed in a completely youth-led space, Hispanic Youth Alive's dynamic programming included a strong tutoring and mentorship program, intensive film workshops and breakdancing classes. They ran summer programming and launched a joint tutoring and gang-exit program. Having established a completely youth-led space in Jane-Finch, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples was able to effectively engage the significant population of Latino youth living in the area. Over 200 youth accessed the space to participate in various programs. 

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youth_space , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
UrbanArts Community Arts Council: beats.mind.movement

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to create and run a 12-week music production training program for youth living in the Weston-Mt. Dennis community. Over 100 youth learned the technical elements of music production through group lessons and one-on-one tutoring. Using mobile computers and production software, youth gained skills in computer technology. In addition to the workshops, youth were exposed to non-urban musical traditions by attending concerts and workshops by guest speakers.  At the end of each training program, the youth produced a compilation CD featuring their own compositions and performed in a community concert featuring local urban and non-urban musical artists. UrbanArts also partnered with other YCF-funded initiatives FYI, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples and Lost Lyrics, offering a "mobile" version of the beats.mind.movement program in other communities.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Community MicroSkills Development Centre

Community MicroSkills Development Centre received an Investing in Youth grant for its 'Youth Express' initiative. Under the tutelage of artist David Kabuuka, the initiative trained over 30 youth in Batik art instruction at four high schools in Jane-Finch & Jamestown. 14 youth completed a "Train the Trainer" program and went on to deliver summer workshops to 40 youth in local libraries and schools. Youth trainers learned to not only create Batik art, but also how to frame, package and market their work. 11 youth sat on the Project Advisory Committee with staff, representatives from Toronto Culture and an art teacher from Emery Collegiate Institute. The group framed 93 art pieces created in the workshops, created a calendar, and put on two exhibits, one at City Hall (November 2008) and one at Etobicoke Civic Centre (February 2009). Their artwork has helped educate the community, not just in the styles of Batik but in diversity, showcasing the beauty of different cultures and dispelling negative perceptions. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Somali Youth Association of Toronto

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to hire a local Somali youth to collaborate with 15 community organizations in the west-end priority neighbourhoods of Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis and Jamestown to help them better understand the needs of Somali youth when engaging them in community programs. Some of the partner organizations included: Toronto Community Housing, Toronto District & Catholic District School Boards, PEACH, MicroSkills, UrbanArts and the YMCA. Members of these organizations worked directly with SOYAT and the youth coordinator through consultations and training workshops, which helped them understand the specific needs of this ethnocultural group. The significant population of Somali families living in Jane-Finch were in need of additional support to become engaged in the larger community. Through this initiative, 266 youth were impacted, as these community agencies and institutions are now better equipped to support Somali youth participants in their respective programs.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Freelance Rhythm

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run two 10-day Arts, Environment & Community Beautification camps for youth in Jamestown and Jane Finch.  24 youth in total participated in workshops in African dance, drum, song and poetry. At the camps, youth also increased their awareness of environmental issues, such as how to run a recycling program, gardening and community beautification. During the camps, youth delivered a snack program, organized a community arts performance for parents as well as attended 8 experiential field trips, i.e. rock climbing, canoeing, Native centre, and AfroFest. Youth staff as well as participants developed skills in leadership, communication, public speaking, self expression, cultural sensitivity and conflict resolution.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Toronto Tamil Basketball Association

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together 78 Tamil youth from across the city through a weekly basketball league in Steeles-L'Amoreaux. It encouraged teamwork and strong interaction amongst youth in the league regardless of the neighbourhood they live in or the school they attend. When youth were off the field between games, guest speakers from social service agencies delivered seminars as part of the leadership and mentorship component of the program. Youth engaged in discussions about issues that stem from their homeland, helping them understand and navigate through intergenerational challenges and differences between youth born in Canada and their peers who have immigrated here with their families.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Native Child and Family Services of Toronto: Shkiniig Minaakewag

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto received an Investing in Youth grant to run an Aboriginal youth mentorship and leadership program. The initiative enabled youth of Aboriginal ancestry that face racism, poverty and a lack of cultural identity to cultivate leadership skills through active participation in traditional Aboriginal activities. Its mentorship program provided tangible skills to help prepare young people to become a much-needed future generation of influential elders, mentors, and community representatives on Aboriginal issues in Toronto. 15 youth attended weekly classes in traditional music, song, dance, drama and art from Aboriginal elders. They took part in traditional ceremonies such as the monthly full moon celebration, teaching circles and sweat lodges. These youth also mentored younger children in arts, drama and dance in after-school programs. Youth were hired to do outreach for the organization - a role previously assigned to elders. This is an example of how youth have been integrated into the organization in leadership roles.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Elevated Grounds

Elevated Grounds (EG) is a youth-led, elder-mentored organization with a mission to utilize the performing arts to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues, particularly amongst Afro-Diasporic youth. The initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote mental health through the use of music, drama, dance and spoken word performances geared to youth. EG also advocates for appropriate mental health services and programs for youth through collaborations with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Across Boundaries. EG is a strong example of a youth-led social enterprise. They have established themselves - locally, provincially and nationally - as leaders in building awareness of mental health issues from an Afro-Diasporic perspective. What sets them apart is their emphasis on “talk-back” sessions that follow their performances, which they deliver through partnerships with school boards in Toronto, Durham Region, Peel Region and beyond. This component of their workshops has proven instrumental in engaging youth in meaningful dialogue around mental health and ensuring supports - from guidance counsellors to social workers - are available to them.

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social_enterprise , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre

Flemo City Media (FCM) uses media arts as a youth engagement tool for building capacity and community development. Through FCM’s programming, young people develop skills in broadcasting and music production & recording, receiving hands-on experience by operating and hosting live discussions on FCM’s local radio show. In 2008, FCM received additional Legacy funding from YCF to develop additional youth-designated space and create a youth service “hub” at their existing location at Dennis R. Timbrell Resource Centre. This new space will house a wide variety of programs and services that youth have identified a need for – from education in sexual health and legal rights to housing supports to fathering programs – in collaboration with other organizations in the community. 

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arts_and_culture
Flemo City Media

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run a weekly radio drop-in program at a studio space in the Dennis R. Timbrell Community Centre (DRTRC) in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Youth took turns running broadcast talk shows on current events and relevant youth issues. YCF funding was used to purchase equipment and resources to improve the studio space, allowing young people to build skills in both broadcasting and production. Youth who led the program built capacity and skills, leveraging the experience to create new opportunities in the community through new partnerships with the Royal Conservatory of Music and CHRY radio station. They planned and took part in various community outreach events, such as the March Break Outreach Blitz, "Stop the Violence" BBQ, and Ontario Prospects Invitational basketball tournament. Flemo City Media (FCM) also received YCF Legacy funding to redevelop the DRTRC space into a more collaborative community "hub" space.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
B Current Performing Arts Corporation

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run rAiz'n Connections, a program to introduce young emerging artists to the roots and contemporary elements of Black theatre practice and the world of theatre. Youth, aged 14-19, learned skills in movement, voice, rhythm, acting, writing, various performance techniques, rehearsing and presenting to enhance their varying artistic disciplines. Participants were trained alongside ensemble members and professional artists/facilitators. Over 100 young artists have actively participated in the initiative, and hundreds more have benefitted from attending youth-led artistic workshops and performances. Youth and mentors alike have reported on the effectiveness of the initiative to equip youth with the tools to present their work to the wider artistic industry.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
OCAYA: Heal and Connect

The Oromo Coalition Against Youth Alienation (OCAYA) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Heal and Connect initiative, which facilitated learning and meaningful integration of Oromo youth in Lawrence Heights, Jane-Finch and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village. Over 120 youth took part in three programs: 1) Homework Club: a mentoring and tutoring program at a Lawrence Heights school throughout the school year; 2) Culture and Heritage Camp: a day camp that engaged youth in culturally-specific activities during the summer months; and 3) Soccer program - a recreational program that provided opportunities for youth in the Oromo community to play soccer, be a part of a team and learn healthy lifestyle habits. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Friends in Trouble

Friends in Trouble (FIT) is a youth-led organization that aims to improve leadership and employment skills of the hardest-to-reach youth in Jane-Finch. FIT received an Investing in Youth grant to support three programming components: FIT Studios, an interactive studio program for youth interested in entering the music industry; FIT Visions, a video and photography program that develops writing and media skills; and FITech, a program that teaches computer literacy, computer building and repair, web design and entrepreneurship. The initiative also offered counselling, mentoring and advocacy services, as well as workshops on relevant youth issues. The initiative supported over 150 youth with YCF funding. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Black Action Defense Committee: Freedom Cipher Program

The Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) focuses on gang-exit, youth employment, community involvement and youth leadership in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. Completely youth-led and youth-driven, it engages youth who are out of school and out of work, teaching them how to take street skills and adapt them to workplaces through mentorship, workshops and a drop-in centre. It also promotes entrepreneurship, providing access to a studio space and hip-hop program where youth produce music and partner with CHRY, York University's radio station. Programming continually evolves according to the needs of participants. Originally, BADC received an Investing in Youth grant for its Freedom Cipher Program, which focused on reaching out to Afro-Diasporic young men involved in gangs and engage them through hip-hop and music production. They soon realized they were not responding to the needs of young women in the same neighbourhoods; the sisters, friends, and girlfriends of those young men. As a result, the Set It Off Girls Group developed, which focused on empowering Afro-Diasporic young women through critical discussions about workshops in identity and life skills.

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male_and_female_specific , arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Heritage Skills Development Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage youth in entrepreneurship, using the arts as a tool. Housed in a Toronto Community Housing space, the initiative led cultural programming such as drumming, dance and theatre, as well as workshops in graphic design and creative writing. The program also included a tutoring and mentorship component. A total of 24 youth participated in the one-year initiative, which ran twice a week. All activities promoted self-expression, while helping youth build leadership skills and hone their creative talents. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Nia Centre for the Arts

With YCF Legacy funding, Nia Centre is developing a collaborative, youth-led approach to providing accessible arts-based programming to Afro-Diasporic young people. The initiative is working with youth-led and community-based organizations using various artistic disciplines to create programs focused on equipping young people with the tools to understand and address poverty and other forms of oppression. 

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arts_and_culture
Royal Conservatory of Music: Sound Connections

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) received an Investing in Youth grant for its Sound Connections initiative. Through consultations with local youth and community members, the initiative developed and conducted year-round music programs for youth in Malvern and Jamestown. Programs included: hip hop, taiko drumming, singing, song writing, music production and deejaying. Local artists and performers instructed participants on CD production and marketing. Youth participated in various community events and concerts, and several groups recorded and produced CDs of their work. A core group of 10 youth took a lead role in working with RCM to plan programming, make decisions and conduct program outreach, research and evaluation as part of a summer internship program for emerging musicians. The initiative built strong relationships with Malvern Community Recreation Centre and Elmbank Community Centre, and other YCF initiatives Elevated Grounds and Flemo City Media, allowing the program to reach more youth in the Flemingdon-Park and Steeles-L'Amoreaux neighbourhoods. As a result of this initiative, RCM has begun to engage with the community in a different way, supporting community-based music initiatives.

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Hispanic Development Council: HUELLAS

The Hispanic Development Council received an Investing in Youth grant to fund the HUELLAS: Latino Hispanic Youth Challenge initiative. HUELLAS provided a drop-in space where street-involved and newcomer Latino youth could access culturally-specific services and support. The initiative had two components: a gang-exit program, which provided street- and gang-involved youth with access to the necessary community resources to support them with the reintegration process. The initiative also offered grievance support through workshops called 'Road to Realness.' The second component of the initiative was an arts & multimedia program, wherein Latino youth documented the realities of their lives growing up in Toronto through video, photography and script-writing. Support from staff enabled youth to explore themes related to identity, migration and the immigrant experience in Canada. The initiative hosted an annual youth summit to showcase the young people's work and discuss relevant issues, as identified by participants. 

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arts_and_culture , non-legacy_initiatives
Success Beyond Limits

Success Beyond Limits (formerly Jane-Finch's Caring Village) Promoting Excellence initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to implement an alternative education model that brought together community organizations and educational institutions to support youth to achieve academic success while developing their leadership capacity. It established a highly successful year-round support system for high school age youth in Jane-Finch to help them reach their academic and social potential. A partnership with the Toronto District School Board and York University, youth entering grade 9 earned a full credit towards their OSSD by completing a 6-week summer program as well as taking part in a General Learning Skills (GLS) homework club through the school year. It focused on improving literacy and numeracy skills and providing recreation and enrichment activities. Older high school age youth also built leadership and mentorship skills with part-time employment as Peer Mentors in the program.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Centennial College: HYPE Program

Centennial College received an Investing in Youth grant for the HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Education) Program, which provides educational opportunities for disengaged youth to build skills through a combination of classroom-based learning and hands-on training. HYPE is customized and tailored to the needs of those youth who experience various barriers to education.Approx. 300 students graduated from HYPE's six-week summer program from 2007-2009, when YCF was funding it. HYPE has since become a part of Centennial's core operating budget, ensuring its sustainbility. The program, in addition to course curriculum, includes resume and cover letter writing workshops, resiliency training, employer recruitment workshops and interview preparation. The program provides an introduction to the post-secondary experience, with courses ranging from mechanics to computer training to esthetics. Of those 300 graduates, 150 went on to enrol in post-secondary programs, 50 of which have received tuition bursaries to help overcome financial barriers. Centennial College continues to create opportunities for youth to access experiential and alternative educational opportunities as a partner in two YCF Legacy initiatives, The S.P.O.T and Youth LEAPS. 


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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
The Jewil Project

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage high school aged youth from Dorset Park, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park, and Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village in learning to use post-production equipment for audio, graphic arts, video and animation. The practical experience combined with education training gave youth an opportunity to advance their skills and explore their interest in media arts as a career. The Jewil Project also developed a partnership with TDSB schools which allowed students to receive a co-op credit for their participation, supporting them to complete their high school diploma. YCF funding supported approx. 50 youth to graduate from the program. Participants improved their school attendance and homework completion, and one graduate went on to enrol in the audio arts program at Centennial College.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
JVS Toronto: YouthED

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to support educational attainment for youth in Jane-Finch facing transition to education, employment or apprenticeships without basic literacy skills or high school equivalency qualification. The program consisted of 3 components: 1) Assessment: before enrolling in the GED program, youth took part in an assessment to determine their learning style, academic strengths, and areas to improve; 2) GED Attainment Prep: an 8-week course where youth received training and support in math and language skills from Frontier College and York University student tutors; 3) Classroom Instruction: a 9-week course taught by York University professors in a structured learning environment, focused on language arts, social studies, math and science, supporting youth as they prepared to take the GED exam. YCF funding supported over 200 youth to complete the GED program. The initiative also established a Youth Advisory Committee of youth, student tutors, TDSB staff, JVS employment counsellors, and Frontier College staff. The committee focused on student retention, addressing barriers such as poverty, lack of child-care, lack of housing, and legal issues. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Recognize the Real

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage 60 youth in a weekly basketball and literacy program. The program was focused solely on basketball in the past, but with YCF funding it was able to expand to introduce a literacy component and Reading Circle. Within the Reading Circle program, young people created a graphic novel and discussed problems and issues facing the Jane-Finch community. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Lawrence Heights. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. Close to 200 students from 12 local schools registered for the program, which began in 2008. A complement of 45 volunteers supported the youth, in addition to engaging parents by holding community forums and information sessions.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Rexdale Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Jamestown would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Six local youth were trained to conduct interviews and explain the program to members of the community. 106 youth and 28 parents were interviewed, five information sessions for parents were held, and two school staff presentations were made. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Jamestown community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Rexdale CHC: Pathways to Education

After an initial feasibility study & community consultation funded by YCF, Rexdale Community Health Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to implement the Pathways to Education initiative in Jamestown. Pathways to Education is a community-based program designed to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering the drop-out rate among high school youth from economically disadvantaged communities and increasing their participation in post-secondary programs. The initiative uses a comprehensive program structured around four pillars of support: academic, social, financial and advocacy. It provides local high school students with academic tutoring, group mentoring, student and parent advocacy and support, and scholarships for all students who complete high school and are accepted into post-secondary programs. In 2007/08, 77 grade 9 students registered. In 2008/09, 165 students in grades 9 and 10 registered. 34 mentors and 31 tutors have supported youth in the program.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto: S.T.Y.L.E

The Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto (LDAT) received an Investing in Youth grant to establish the S.T.Y.L.E initiative (Skills Training for Youth through Learning and Education). This initiative supported Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth with learning disabilities in Jane-Finch and Westminster-Branson. LDAT partnered with C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Jane-Finch and Domenico Diluca Collegiate Institute in Westminster-Branson to run an after-school drop-in program where youth received homework support and took part in workshops geared toward educational attainment and life skills development. The initiative also ran an 8-week summer program for youth to take educational day trips and participate in workshops and outdoor activities. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Lost Lyrics

Lost Lyrics received an Investing in Youth grant to run an alternative educational initiative that used hip-hop to engage youth from Jane-Finch and Malvern. Youth participated in sessions twice per week, discussing self-identity, sexuality, hood politics, ideas of success and healthy relationships.  Participants were also connected to other projects, such as a 3-day camps in music video production and photography training. Participants have played a strong role in determining curriculum, supports and special projects. The initiative created a safe space for youth from different neighbourhoods to work, train and perform together while building positive identities as Afro-Diasporic young people. The organization received additional funding from the Laidlaw Foundation, thus building the capacity of Lost Lyrics as a sustainable youth-led initiative. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
East Metro Youth Services: Say Word

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage youth in a 36-week multimedia internship program. Over three terms, 30 youth were supported to take a lead role in the initiative, publishing newsletters and magazines and gaining employable skills such as writing, editing, broadcasting and photojournalism. The initiative also provided youth with an opportunity to experience university life through a one-week summer camp at Ryerson University. Youth stayed in residence, took classes and got a feel for what post-secondary education would be like for them. Ryerson students also worked with youth participants and mentored them at the EMYS Scarborough space throughout the course of the initiative. The initiative has helped remove barriers to employment and education for some of the most hard-to-reach youth in the community. Through YCF investment, community organizations and educational institutions have collaborated to create opportunities for youth from the east-end priority neighbourhoods to have a university experience. Teaching staff and graduate students from Ryerson have attested to the systemic changes that made this opportunity possible. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Educational Attainment West

EAW’s role is to work collaboratively with educational service providers in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis to maximize program resources and provide relevant opportunities for Afro-Diasporic youth ages 17 to 24 to stay engaged or re-engage in the education system. The initiative works to identify barriers to educational attainment these young people are facing and support service delivery organizations to meet those needs through service coordination and advocacy.

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educational_attainment
Nia Upgrade Program

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide literacy supports to 80 youth from the Lawrence Heights community who faced barriers to education and employment due to a lack of basic literacy skills. A partnership with Frontier College, the program offered one-on-one support and group tutoring to upgrade skills in literacy, math, social studies and science for youth who were out of school to gain their high school equivalency or GED. It is a strong example of a community-driven, community-led initiative, where parents, volunteers, and community agencies played a key role in its success. Youth were involved in evaluating the program upon completion, informing how it was run and creating supports where needed. Upon completion, youth reported better test results, felt more confident, had increased work prospects and a more positive mindset to the possibility of higher education.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Young Diplomats

This culturally-specific initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run weekly academic tutoring and mentorship programming out of the Oakridge Community Centre in Crescent Town. The sessions were facilitated by Ethiopian and Eritrean university student volunteers. Youth participants were connected to career mentors, role models and life mentors. Monthly social events offered enrichment activities, such as organizing youth to attend university fairs and participate in a film program called Blitz Camp. The greatest accomplishment of Young Diplomats has been creating a strong social network of Ethiopian youth across the GTA.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Ontario Science Centre: Flemingdon Park After-School Robotics Club

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to engage 10 youth ages 11-18 in a six-week training program in robotics. Using a "train-the-trainer" model, Ontario Science Centre (OSC) staff taught youth how to deliver and facilitate workshops in science and technology to their peers. YCF funding enabled OSC to provide tool-kits and equipment for the youth to bring to their own workshops. Upon completion of the training program, the youth leaders then led an 8-week workshop in three local schools in Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village, engaging an additional 80 young people and their parents. Youth went on to lead after-school robotics programs in their own schools as a continuation of the workshops they originally ran as part of the initiative. Youth were introduced to a more hands-on experience of science and technology that engages them more effectively than traditional classroom methods have. 

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
PEACH: School Away From School

PEACH received an Investing in Youth grant for its School Away From School initiative, which supported youth from the Jane-Finch community who were disengaged from the education system and/or involved with the justice system and required intensive supports to obtain or recover credits. Youth aged 12-17 participated in life skills, arts-based, culinary, academic and leadership activities to recover incomplete credits. Students worked at their own pace, giving them a sense of accomplishment and ultimately building their confidence in learning abilities. The initiative is an example of educational institutions working with community organizations in support of student success. With YCF funding, PEACH supported close to 50 youth to recover credits over four school terms. An ongoing partnership with York University enables PEACH to evaluate their work and remain committed to their vision. As a partner in the YCF Legacy Education Attainment West initiative, PEACH continues to contribute to strengthening community capacity to provide educational supports for disengaged youth.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth LEAPS

 

Youth LEAPS (Leadership in Educational Attainment with Partners in Scarborough) received YCF Legacy funding to identify what Afro-Diasporic youth need from educational institutions and community service providers in order to succeed in school, then shape a deliberate approach that encourages collaboration amongst the wider community. Youth LEAPS is one of two YCF Legacy initiatives focused on developing and implementing a coordinated, community-based approach to educational attainment for Afro-Diasporic youth. Youth LEAPS focuses on creating supports in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Steeles-L’Amoreaux, Dorset Park and Kingston-Galloway.

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educational_attainment
HOODLINC: ROSE Project

HOODLINC received an Investing in Youth grant for its ROSE (Real Opportunities for Success in Education) project, which focused on providing academic, educational, and familial support to youth at risk of dropping out of school or missing credits to graduate.  The initiative engaged over 70 youth to attend an alternative school to complete course credits. Additional support included: wake-up calls to youth to ensure they got to school on time, advocacy to keep youth in school and intervening when youth became involved with the justice system. Youth were able to connect with staff who could identify with their lived experiences and understand their challenges. This fostered a sense of trust that enabled staff to provide mentorship and support youth to make positive choices. HOODLINC is a partner in the 2900 Midland Space YCF Legacy initiative with Toronto Catholic District School Board and other community organizations, securing youth-designated programming space within Monsignor Fraser School.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Braeburn Neighbourhood Services

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run "Lunch and Learn," a peer tutoring and mentorship program where youth connected twice a week over the lunch break at West Humber Collegiate Institute in Jamestown. Approx. 250 students were supported with homework and exam preparation by older students who built positive relationships with them. Over 70 students were hired part-time as peer tutors. Many participants were newcomers or first-generation Canadians, so the program included further supports for reintegration into the community. The initiative also developed partnerships with community agencies such as Pathways to Education, MicroSkills Community Development Centre and Rexdale Women's Centre, which visited the program to run workshops on goal setting and career planning. The initiative was so effective at engaging youth and building their skill sets that 10 participants went on to lead a mentorship/tutoring program at a local junior middle school.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights Community Health Centre

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to determine whether or not residents of Lawrence Heights would be receptive to bringing the Pathways to Education program to their community. Local youth were trained to conduct interviews and focus groups using a youth-led model to ensure they understood and were able to inform the community engagement process. They used their skills and learnings to explain the Pathways program to members of the community. The end result of the community engagement process was that members of the Lawrence Heights community were interested in participating in the Pathways program. As such, the initiative received additional funding from YCF to implement the program in the neighbourhood. 171 students from Lawrence Heights schools registered in the first co-hort. Youth involved in the community engagement phase enjoyed learning more about their community and developed skills in research, program design and outreach.

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educational_attainment , non-legacy_initiatives
Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre: Selvy's Circle

Can TYD received an Investing in Youth grant for Selvy's Circle, an initiative that engaged young Tamil women to overcome isolation and connect with their community through a drop-in and mentorship program at two high schools in Dorset Park. The program provided young women with a safe space to discuss culturally-sensitive, gender-specific issues and challenges they were facing. The participants identified topics for workshops and a youth coordinator then facilitated dialogue within the group. Upon completion of the program, they mentored younger participants and continued to get together during the summer months. Selvy's Circle was a particularly relevant program during the political crisis and youth violence in the Tamil community, as significant discussion focused on helping the young women understand and deal with those issues during that time. The young women built strong relationships with each other and gained confidence in their abilities to advocate for and express themselves.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Lil' Ms: HERstory

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to deliver a female-centered summer leadership program, using culturally appropriate programming to build the leadership capacity and enrich the lives of young women, ages 13-16, living in five east-end priority neighbourhoods. Workshop topics included discussions on media and critical thinking, healthy relationships, the impact of crime on women, and money management. Field trips and recreational activities gave participants an opportunity to venture outside of their neighbourhood and broaden their understanding of community. Young women earned an honorarium for  their participation, providing those with economic barriers an opportunity to participate. The initiative engaged a total of 58 young women in five 8-week sessions.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
The Sisterhood

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that helped build positive relationships between African-Canadian and Caribbean young women aged 11-18 from the Crescent Town community. Participants took part in weekly workshops and activities with emphasis on positive female to female relationships. Workshops focused on a variety of themes related to life skills, personal hygiene, self-reflection, female violence, personal finance and community development. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Literature for Life: Yo' Mama Magazine

Literature for Life received an Investing in Youth grant to support the Yo' Mama magazine initiative, a health and lifestyle magazine written primarily by young single mothers living in the 13 priority neighbourhoods. Participants were employed, given training and experience on pitching, researching and writing stories. They were taken step-by-step through the editorial process and are paid for the articles they contribute; giving them an opportunity to share information and experiences as well as earn income. Yo' Mama's editor, also a young mother, developed a style manual to assist participants to maintain consistency in writing styles and deadlines.  Close to 40 young mothers were engaged as freelance writers. The initiative also reached out to young fathers to contribute their own column and capture male perspectives on parenting. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Flemingdon Health Centre: Strong Steps

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant wherein six young women ages 15-19 developed a strategic, strength-based leadership and mentorship program linking teen girls with adult women (Flemingdon foreign-trained professionals and locally employed professionals). The group also established an intergenerational mentoring program for females. 10 high school students were selected to participate, working with five mentors throughout the program. They focused on developing academic and social skills. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
SWING

The SWING (Sisters With Integrity Navigating Greatness) initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to run programming that built the self-confidence of young women, actively engaged them in recreational activities, and created a space for them to become leaders and mentors to others in their community. The young women developed ideas for challenging workshops (i.e. communication, patriarchy, spoken word) focused on building critical thinking skills. Through field trips and volunteer work, the group also developed networking skills and built relationships with others outside of the Jane-Finch community. They completed ongoing self-reflection activities to document their development throughout the program.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Mujer: Young Latinas in Leadership Roles

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant for its Young Latinas in Leadership Roles initiative, which provided opportunities for young Latina women to build leadership skills. They developed and ran workshops with their peers, which focused on creating awareness of gender issues. 31 Latina youth from Jane-Finch enrolled as "trainees", who facilitated 10 presentations at local schools on concepts such as patriarchy, feminism, gender, sex and oppression. Youth (including the trainees) were given an outlet to share personal struggles and conflicts, such as family pressures and expectations. Trainees built skills in leadership, public speaking, event coordination, planning, time management and organization. They built a stronger sense of confidence and a circle of friendships as a result of the initiative. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

The initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young men in Weston-Mt. Dennis, primarily young fathers, to engage community stakeholders in the renovation of the Frontlines facility. A hired coordinator trained youth to support the community engagement process. Participants received an honorarium for their participation. A core group of 9 young men benefitted from the strong relationships that developed between participants and the staff. The opportunity to engage with community partners gave participants an opportunity to build soft skills and positively contribute to their community.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Young and Potential Fathers

All of YPF’s programming and resources are grounded in Afro-centric principles. The initiative provides programs and activities that develop the identity and cultural roles of young fathers – from cooking, budgeting and shopping to participating in roundtable discussions about current issues and arts programming with their children to encourage bonding.

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male_and_female_specific
Elements

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run after-school workshops that made science and technology relevant to Afro-Diasporic young women living in the Jane-Finch community. In an informal, supportive group discussion atmosphere, three youth instructors and one volunteer led workshops on topics such as sexual health, nutrition, and the science of cosmetics. Beyond the workshops, they also held a variety of educational outings, such as rock-climbing and beach volleyball, to expose the girls to new experiences outside their neighbourhoods. Elements also ran an 8-week summer program, with half the day focused on academics, taught by two TDSB teachers, and half the day focused on social and recreational activities. The young women were not only engaged in science-based learning outside of the classroom, they also built strong relationships with each other.  

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Gashanti Unity

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to build the capacity of young Somali women through retreats, workshops and training sessions. Six young female participants completed training on various skills related to starting a community initiative, including: visioning, strategic planning and organizational capacity building. They gained experience in networking, managing projects, planning retreats  and community outreach. All participants had leadership roles and took ownership of the initiative by being involved every step of the way. All participants went on to get involved in other initiatives such as the Toronto Youth Cabinet and Emerge. As a collective, Gashanti Unity also became a lead partner in the SLAM Youth Hub Legacy initiative.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Girls Addicted to Basketball

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant, using basketball as a form of engagement to address social issues that young women face and to equip them with tools to make healthy lifestyle choices. A total of 95 young women participated in two program components: two week-long basketball camps and one 10-week house league program. Both included life skills activities involving role-playing & group discussions on the following: team building, first impressions, self awareness, decision-making, conflict resolution and goal setting.

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Young Womyn Empowered

Young Womyn Empowered (YWE) is a movement of awareness whereby young womyn are empowered and recognized for their greatness. YWE works to promote the positioning of young womyn as their own advocates and the narrators of their own stories. YWE works with young womyn to develop and support the maintenance of needed social infrastructure and higher standards of practices for supporting young womyn. With a specific focus on the Afro-Diasporic community, YWE serves young Afro-Diasporic womyn with a focus on Toronto’s neighbourhood improvement areas. 

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male_and_female_specific
Helping Adolescents Improve Their Reflections (HAIR)

 

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to support young women from the Jane-Finch neighbourhood in building self confidence and life skills. There was camaraderie amongst the young women after a couple of sessions and further development of intergenerational friendships, which led to active participation and opened up existing cliques. Two participants were hired as facilitators in the next cycle of the program. HAIR developed an evaluation process to help measure competencies for program development and as a tool of self-assessment for the program participants. Upon completion, HAIR held a graduation ceremony that honoured 16 graduates from its two program cycles, with support from a partnership with Toronto Community Housing (TCH). 


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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Greater Toronto Area Netball League: Girls Can Play

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to promote physical activity and leadership skills in Afro-Diasporic young women by increasing their participation in sports. It offered an 8-week netball skill-building program and a 6-week leadership development program. Participants had the opportunity to earn nationally recognized coaching certifications, helping them access meaningful employment opportunities in leadership and recreation. The initiative supported approx. 200 young women ages 11-24 in learning about and participating in the game of netball. GTANL also developed partnerships with six organizations (Netball Ontario, CanTYD, Girls Unlimited, City of Toronto, Heron Park Community Centre, Ellesmere Community Centre) to assist with outreach and recruitment, creating meaningful community partnerships and ensuring the program is accessed by hard-to-reach young women. 

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male_and_female_specific , non-legacy_initiatives
Firgrove Youth Program

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to renovate and furnish a portion of a Toronto Community Housing community space in Jane-Finch. Youth in the community supported the development of a youth-designated programming room and a soundproof studio to create music. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Schools Without Borders: Emerge

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to run the Emerge: Youth Leaders program, which supported young leaders from priority neighbourhoods by strengthening their capacity and advocacy skills, expanding their networks and promoting collaboration. The initiative targeted young leaders working within emerging community organizations, including other YCF-funded initiatives, to enhance their capacity to lead within their respective communities. Youth took part in weekly sessions facilitated by both guest speakers and the participants themselves to encourage peer mentorship. The initiative also included a culminating project wherein participants created their own initiative that engaged youth from their respective communities. Emerge has supported some of Toronto's brightest young leaders, including Arsema Berhane who went on to become the Co-Chair of Ontario Youth Matters, a coalition of organizations advocating for a coordinated youth strategy for the province of Ontario.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
The Jewil Project

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to convert an under-utilized storage space in a film studio into a soundproof music lab, youth lounge and post-production audio work space. The space serves as the work site for the Jewil Project to provide media arts production training to high school youth. YCF funding was used to cover the costs related to renovation as well as to purchase pre- and post- film and music production equipment. Since completion, the initiative has been a safe space for high school youth to access media arts  and educational training. The site serves as a vital resource in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village area to access arts-based programming where affordable services are lacking.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Ontario Justice Education Network

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage over 100 youth and community organizations in justice education activities, addressing perceptions youth have about the justice system, and helping to minimize the impact of youth in priority neighbourhoods becoming involved with the criminal justice system. In Dorset Park, Malvern, Steeles-L'Amoreaux and Jamestown, the initiative partnered with organizations such as Toronto Community Housing and the Jamaican Canadian Association, local schools, lawyers, judges, police officers and youth to hold justice education programs including workshops, discussions, mock trials, and role playing. Youth coordinators built strong leadership skills through program planning and implementation. By soliciting youth perspectives and conveying them to the Department of Justice as well as presenting ideas on issues to adult audiences, these young people also improved communication, presentation and critical thinking skills. 

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youth_justice , non-legacy_initiatives
Lawrence Heights Awareness Program

The African Canadian Legal Clinic received a Building Great Ideas grant to develop this initiative, which focused on equipping young African Canadians with the knowledge and skills to advocate for themselves within society. Five youth leaders from Lawrence Heights completed the program in 2008. They were hired and received extensive training to create a series of educational, youth-driven workshops. In addition, they delivered these workshops, which engaged an additional 65 youth within Lawrence Heights and several other priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth_justice , non-legacy_initiatives
Central Ontario Building Trades: Hammer Heads

Central Ontario Building Trades (COBT) received an Investing in Youth grant for the Hammer Heads initiative. Hammer Heads is a 12-week skills development program that introduces Afro-Diasporic and other racialized youth from Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods to a variety of construction trades, enabling participants to gain both the experience and confidence necessary to successfully obtain an apprenticeship in the building trades. Graduates go on to work as plumbers, electricians, ironworkers, sprinkler fitters, bricklayers, and labourers. Of the 88 graduates to date, 84 have been offered an apprenticeship.  COBT’s 28 affiliated trade union locals provide in-kind access to cutting-edge training facilities and certified instructors who ensure youth are already trained in safety and “job-ready” upon graduation. Hammer Heads also collaborates with various community organizations such as Frontier College and Toronto Employment & Social Services, which support participants with academic upgrading and financial assistance, respectively.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Frontlines: Project Rejuvenation

 

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance the employability skills of local young men and train them through the renovation of the interior and exterior of the organization's facility. YCF funding also covered repairs and updates to facility equipment. Nine young men assisted with the renovations in the space and were matched up with a mentor from the community to support them with challenges. They each received additional supports from community organizations such as YCF- funded initiative Get in Gear, which provided free safety training and equipment for participants. This investment led to another partnership between Frontlines and Laidlaw Foundation.


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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services/Lawrence Heights/Westminster Branson Youth Cabinet: Involve Youth

The Involve Youth initiative was designed to help young people build skills in civic engagement, leadership and community development. It received an Investing in Youth grant to hire a youth program coordinator to conduct outreach and workshops with 25 youth from the Lawrence Heights and Westminster-Branson communities. The workshops focused on building the leadership capacity of Afro-Diasporic young people and engaging them in community development. As part of the program, youth visited various institutions across the city (i.e. schools and museums) to support their understanding of the wider community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Glendower Demanding Change: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community of Steeles-L'Amoreaux to renovate a Toronto Community Housing unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space. The initiative received YCF funds to cover the hard and soft capital costs associated with renovating the unit. They also purchased equipment and furniture to use for programming. Young people can now access a designated youth space within their community. GDC continues to run programming within the space and partner with other community organizations, including YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Bereaved Families of Ontario: Soul II Soul

Bereaved Families of Ontario received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide a forum for youth to explore and express their grief, provide skills in pod-casting and video production, connect youth from various communities, give youth a greater understanding of their culture and heritage and encourage teamwork. Eleven youth participated in the program, where they produced 10 podcasts on dealing with grief, healing and self-expression. Youth-friendly space was also created at Bereaved Families of Ontario, including a wall mural painted by the youth.

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non-legacy_initiatives
The Spot: Jane-Finch Community & Family Centre

The Spot is a youth-designated space in the Jane-Finch area. The initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to engage local youth to participate in the space development process. YCF funding went towards furnishing the space and equipment based on what youth identified as important elements for a youth-designated space, such as computers. The initiative was completed in summer 2008. The Spot now serves as a site for collaborative programming within the Jane-Finch community. YCF funded initiatives such as the Black Action Defense Committee and Project CANOE have since made use of The Spot to facilitate programming with local youth.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre: Get in Gear

West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre received an Investing in Youth grant to run the Get in Gear initiative, which provided Afro-Diasporic youth from the 13 priority neighbourhoods with necessary supports to enter the workforce. The initiative helped youth access training and build employable skills, referring them to programs at over 100 community-based agencies to access various certifications such as CPR, Smart Serve, and forklift operation. YCF funding helped offset costs associated with this training and certification. Get in Gear also provided youth with work-related items essential to accessing and maintaining meaningful employment, such as clothing for job interviews and public transit tokens. Get in Gear helped remove barriers to employment for hundreds of hard-to-reach youth in the priority neighbourhoods. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
WoodGreen Community Services: Beyond Stereotypes

After reading an article describing youth living in low-income housing as "at-risk" and debating the meaning and implications of this label, five youth came together with Toronto Community Housing (TCH) staff to address misconceptions and dispel misrepresentations of youth in the media through positive, constructive work. The initiative, trusteed by WoodGreen Community Services, received a Building Great Ideas grant to build capacity of this core group of youth to deliver workshops on stereotyping to youth groups, employers and social service agencies in the community.  Through these workshops, youth leaders educated both their peers and adults on how to address and overcome issues related to stereotyping.

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non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create employment and training opportunities for local youth to inform and lead the renovations of the San Romanoway facility in Jane-Finch. Four local youth were hired as programming staff and received training on anti-oppression, leadership and conflict resolution so as to effectively engage and support their peers. 38 youth participated in the renovations and subsequent programming. Youth made decisions on what equipment and resources were needed in the space which resulted in the construction of a music studio, resource centre and youth lounge. The renovations allowed up to 40 youth access to the space at once. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
O'Connor & Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Youth Media Project

This initiative sought to replicate the success of Regent Park Focus by creating a similar youth media arts facility in the Flemingdon Park/Victoria Village community. It received a Creating Youth Space grant to cover the costs to build and equip a digital media lab for the new site. Youth used to have to travel outside the community to Regent Park to access the program. The new site allows youth to access the training in their own community. The facility supports the media arts training that Regent Park Focus is delivering collaboratively in the Flemingdon community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
WoodGreen Community Services: Our Voice

WoodGreen Community Services received an Investing in Youth grant for the Our Voice initiative, which provided intensive capacity building supports for a diverse group of 8 youth in Kingston-Galloway, Eglinton East/Kennedy Park and Scarborough Village. Three staff (two of whom were youth) supported the initiative, coordinating a series of workshops on community development. The participants received training five days a week for 8 months, in areas such as public speaking, proposal writing, and program evaluation. Youth then completed a one-month internship with a funding body (i.e. Trillium, Laidlaw Foundation), gaining practical experience in the non-profit sector. Finally, youth completed a one-month placement at a community-based agency, shadowing staff three days per week to learn the everyday tasks involved with community work. Youth learned new skills such as effective writing, research techniques, planning, project development and implementation. They also reported gaining a new respect for funders and agencies, while these organizations now have a greater awareness of youth in their community, continuing to work with youth after their placements ended. WoodGreen continues to strengthen the capacity of youth to advocate and support their peers as the Trustee organization of the YCF Frontline Workers Legacy initiative.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dream Now: NeighbourhoodOne

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to create an online network for youth-led organizations to connect with each other and the young people they serve, even after their initiatives have been completed. Through focus groups, presentations and several neighbourhood meetings, the initiative reached 55 organizations and 143 youth members. Youth can visit NeighbourhoodOne.org to gain access to all kinds of information about programs, services and resources available at organizations across the 13 priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Diverse Youth Advisory Council

The Diverse Youth Advisory Council received an Investing in Youth grant for its DEFY Challenge Yourself initiative. Originally a partnership with City of Toronto's Parks Forestry and Recreation department, the initiative focused on engaging youth living in the Crescent Town community in non-traditional forms of recreation such as henna art, drumming and cricket. The initiative developed into a completely youth-led and youth-driven initiative. The group met once a week to plan workshops and events throughout the year, culminating in a larger DEFY Challenge Yourself annual event. The initiative embodied YCF's model of youth-led and youth-driven as the participants conceived of the idea, planned, promoted and coordinated events. As a result, they built numerous employable skills while engaging peers in their community.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
PEACH: Space Renovation

PEACH (Promoting Economic Action & Community Health) serves as an alternative educational space for youth who are disengaged from the education system in Jane-Finch and Weston-Mt. Dennis. The organization received a Creating Youth Space grant to subdivide their existing location to make it more conducive to learning as well as welcoming to students in the School Away from School program. The renovations generated an open space for learning activities and presentations, an audiovisual and computer learning area, a kitchen and two offices for staff.  The organization and participants have benefitted from the renovations; students now have private space to study, upgraded computers and Internet, private spaces for meetings and a kitchen facility so they can complete their Food and Nutrition school credit. They demonstrate greater ownership of the facility, working together to ensure it remains in top condition.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Power

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to work with young people living in Toronto Community Housing communities across the 13 priority neighbourhoods, empowering them to advocate for themselves. A core group of five youth leaders met with emerging youth groups, working with them to build organizational capacity and teaching them skills to effectively run community programming - from outreach and event planning to applying for funding and finding a suitable trustee. Youth leaders not only built the capacity of their peers to benefit the community, but also their own leadership capacity to act as mentors and facilitators. Youth in Power has supported over 50 young people and has partnered with various YCF-funded initiatives, providing support as well as participating in leadership programming.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Project LEARN

In addition to its Creating Youth Space grant, the Dorset Park Youth Council (DPYC) received an Investing in Youth grant to support the leadership and capacity development of the youth council members. The 15 core participants of DPYC met weekly to oversee the ongoing development of two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre - an outdoor sports pad for playing cricket, basketball, netball, and an indoor youth priority space. Youth participated in weekly sessions that improved their understanding of and capacity for community development. Youth led the community consultations, planning and design of the spaces. With support from adult allies, youth have improved their leadership and a number of other transferable skills, such as public relations, peer mediation and event planning. The initiative has developed a strong model for building the capacity of underserved youth to become civically engaged and advocate for themselves and their peers.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
San Romanoway Revitalization Association: Youth 'N Charge Studio & Lounge

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to enhance its existing recording studio with upgraded equipment, renovate existing space to make it more conducive to reading and writing, as well as create a youth lounge with a resource centre. Several youth leaders led the development of the youth lounge and studio. The space is operated by youth and has been of vital importance to youth and youth-led organizations in the community. The initiative has collaborated with another YCF-funded group, The Spot, encouraging positive interactions amongst youth within the Jane-Finch community. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
St. Alban's Boys & Girls Club: Open The Doors

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to build its 'Lane Lounge,' renovating and expanding a garage at a Toronto Community Housing building in Jane-Finch. The Lounge includes a computer lab, an employment resource centre, a kitchen and a multi-purpose room. YCF funding covered costs to obtain building permits, undertake property inspections as well as to paint and make repairs to the foundation and building.  This investment provided local youth with the opportunity to participate in the planning, design and development of the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services: Dance Mahali

Tropicana Community Services received a Creating Youth Space grant to plan and establish a dance studio space in its Community Room. 10 young people were involved in designing and planning renovations for the dance studio, which is now used on a regular basis as a space where youth can get together and learn various dance techniques and styles. This initiative has improved accessibility to programming space for youth living in the east-end priority neighbourhoods. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Tropicana Community Services & C.L.I.C. Youth Space Assessment

This initiative, a collaboration between Tropicana Community Services and Creating Leaders in Chester Le (C.L.I.C.), received a Building Great Ideas grant to support local youth in completing a feasibility project. This project explored the possibility of opening a youth-led storefront space in the Chester Le community. The initiative hired a youth coordinator and three youth animators who received training from staff at Tropicana Community Services in facilitation, community engagement and other components of completing a feasibility study.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
FYI: 1652 Keele Space Assessment & Planning

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received a Building Great Ideas grant to conduct a feasibility assessment of a potential expansion and renovation of FYI's existing space into a youth-friendly, community service hub. Two youth leaders from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community were hired to engage local youth to complete the feasibility study. The hired staff and local youth were directly involved in the process from start to finish, building relationships with staff at the City of Toronto and learning to advocate for themselves and their needs. As result of this initiative, FYI was able to solicit and secure additional funding for their 10,000 sq ft expansion at 1652 Keele St. from several funders, including YCF Legacy funding. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth Empowering Minds Council: The BASE

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to develop a safe, accessible space for youth that reflects the diversity of the Jamestown community. 13 Youth Advisory Council members led the development of the space, which is owned by the City and supported by City staff. YCF funding went towards purchasing equipment to support various activities identified by the youth driving the initiative. The completed space includes a furnished youth lounge with a projector, and a recording studio with brand-new multimedia software. As a result of the initiative, youth from different ethnocultural communities, specifically Caribbean and Somali, have built relationships. Through outreach at local schools and community events, the Youth Advisory Council has recruited new members and interacted with parents of Somali youth, bridging cultural barriers between the two communities.

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
North Scarborough Soccer Club

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide opportunities for youth from low-income families to participate in North Scarborough Soccer Club (NSSC) soccer programs through free or subsidized enrolment, while offering mentorship from coaches. NSSC supported 46 families to enrol their children in the summer soccer program for free. An additional 50 families received subsidies to participate in the indoor soccer program. The initiative held summer training camps for youth to develop their skills and learn the fundamentals of soccer. Mentors worked on an ongoing basis with young people to encourage a positive outlook on life. Youth made new friends, learned new skills, and were engaged in sports and educational activities that built their awareness of healthy lifestyles. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Afri-Can Food Basket: Cultivating Youth Leaders

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant for the Cultivating Youth Leaders Urban Farming Project, which engages Afro-Diasporic youth in food security, organic farming, health promotion and social entrepreneurship. The eight-month program consists of four stages. The first stage engaged youth participants through outreach and promotion strategies. Youth then participated in a 13-session workshop on leadership, life skills, community food security, and urban agriculture training. In the third stage, participants were hired for full-time summer employment as interns. Youth harvested organic produce which was donated to local food banks in Jamestown, and used to prepare weekly meals for senior citizens. Interns organized and facilitated activities for hundreds of community members. Upon completion, youth participated in an evaluation of the program and help improve the curriculum for the following term. As a result of CYL, some youth are considering urban agriculture as a potential career path. They have also made changes in their dietary habits and taken greater interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Regent Park Focus: O'Connor & Flemingdon/Thorncliffe Youth Media Project

Regent Park Focus received an Investing in Youth grant to help expand their services to the O'Connor, Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe communities. The initiative partnered with the YMCA job readiness program to work with youth who were out of work and school. Approx. 50 participants attended a three-month media literacy and life skills training program, which consisted of workshops and hands-on opportunities to create documentaries and videos. The program gave participants an opportunity to enhance their employable skills as well as explore their interests in film and media arts. The second part of the initiative was a partnership with Flemingdon Community Centre and local youth to create a youth-focused magazine. A core group of 13 participants attended weekly sessions to enhance their understanding of the production process and outreach to another 20 youth as freelance writers and photographers. The young people were responsible for deciding on the content, layout and the final publication.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Young Urban Entertainment

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to provide mentorship and employment opportunities for youth in Scarborough while building connections between local residents and organizations through a series of neighbourhood festivals called "Unite The Neighbourhoods."  18 youth leaders (11 coordinators and 7 mentors) were hired and trained to build capacity in public speaking, event planning and media relations through a series of workshops. Next, they worked with United Way's Action for Neighbourhood Change staff to build skills in grant writing and secured additional funds and in-kind support. Youth coordinators were designated to specific leadership roles in stage production, artist management, event planning, communications and volunteer coordination. The group held three youth-led community festivals (one each in Kingston-Galloway, Scarborough Village and Eglinton East/Kennedy Park). 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
For Youth Initiative: VICTORY

For Youth Initiative (FYI) received an Investing in Youth grant for its VICTORY newsletter project, providing youth from the Weston-Mt.Dennis community with a platform to share their lived experiences through literary and artistic expression. The initiative engaged a core group of 14 youth, as well as contributing members, to outreach, promote, design, edit and write articles for the newsletter. Participants attended weekly meetings to brainstorm topics and plan the layout. The process of creating the newsletter has given youth an opportunity to build skills in writing, photography, graphic design, marketing and promotion. Facilitating community outreach sessions has also helped participants build skills in public speaking and community engagement. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Youth In Action

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to engage a group of 10 youth in Jane-Finch to lead several projects to benefit the community. The group created a documentary called 'Peace, Life, Struggle,' wherein they engaged their peers to talk about issues and address misconceptions in the community. Youth leaders compiled a comprehensive resource guide on youth services in Jane-Finch, which was distributed to organizations and schools in the neighbourhood for young people to access. Not only did the documentary provide youth with an opportunity to tell their stories and have their voices heard, the young people leading the production developed many transferable employment skills (research, auditioning, interviewing, editing, event planning) while engaging their community in a new way.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Glendower Demanding Change

This initiative received a Building Great Ideas grant to bring together a group of 10 youth from the Glendower community to renovate a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a youth-designated and youth-led programming space.  Youth were trained in governance, advocacy and program planning so they could manage the space. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building , non-legacy_initiatives
Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention: Mate Masie

The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) was created in response to the gap in services for HIV infected and affected youth within the community. Black CAP received an Investing in Youth grant for its Mate Masie initiative, which provided HIV/AIDS and STI prevention education to youth in the 13 priority neighbourhoods. It combined the principles of Kwanzaa, yoga and sexual health into a series of interactive workshops that created a safe space for participants to explore sexual health education and other 'taboo' issues. For two years, Black CAP ran sessions in both the summer and fall, each consisting of a 7-week workshop series followed by a weekend retreat. A total of 200 young people were engaged in the initiative, with 50 participants per session. 16 youth site coordinators took on leadership roles in all areas of the program - outreach, site coordination, hiring, training. They participated in monthly capacity building / anti-oppression workshops, which helped deepen their knowledge of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and prepared them to effectively coordinate the sites.

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non-legacy_initiatives
Black Youth Coalition Against Violence

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide Afro-Diasporic youth with opportunities to build skills and access employment. Youth coordinators organized semi-annual conferences for their peers, centred around issues identified by young people as important. The initiative held three conferences: the Freedom Summit, the Blueprint Summit, which focused on financial literacy, and the Kuumba Nia Summit, which focused on arts and culture. The conferences, held at Ryerson and University of Toronto, drew approx. 600 youth in total. With YCF funds, BYCAV also delivered monthly workshops called "The Truth" in community centres, libraries and schools, which focused on a theme such as education, leadership and employment. BYCAV held a contest in partnership with other community organizations called "Imagine a Community", which invited youth ages 14-22 to submit their visions for how to make their community a better place to live. BYCAV then worked with the winners to turn their ideas into reality. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Creating Leaders in Chester Le: Youth Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to design, renovate and furnish a Toronto Community Housing (TCH) unit into a suitable space for youth programming. Tropicana Community Services supported the design process, working with youth to facilitate a community assessment and feasibility study. The YCF grant was used for some construction costs, the purchase of furniture, salary for a coordinator and costs related to capacity building training for youth to lead the space development process. C.L.I.C. youth renovated the space and convened a community-based steering committee. With support from TCH and other organizations in the Steeles-L'Amoreaux community, such as YCF Legacy initiative SLAM Youth Hub, the initiative continues to run programming in the space. 

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Bondee Football Club: Youth House League

This initiative received an Investing in Youth grant to provide youth with a space to interact with each other and play sports. 27 youth ages 12-15 participated in the House League program which ran every Saturday. The initiative also had an informal mentorship component, led by members of Bondee Football Club who build strong relationships with the young people who look up to them as role models. 

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non-legacy_initiatives
Project C.A.N.O.E.

This initiative, a collaboration between Project C.A.N.O.E and YCF-funded initiative The Spot, received an Investing in Youth grant to provide young people from Jane-Finch with outdoor educational opportunities that supported personal growth and skills development. Access to experiential learning through outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and ecological tours encouraged participants to develop new skills and interests. Together, Project C.A.N.O.E. and The Spot coordinated a Young Leaders Group, which held weekly sessions at The Spot's YCF-funded youth space to discuss leadership development and plan outdoor trips. Participants also received First Aid and Bronze Cross certification. Youth conducted outreach and engaged their peers to participate in the initiative with the aim of becoming completely youth-led. YCF funding supported over 30 youth to take part in the initiative, including a core group of 10 youth who were directly involved in planning and implementing the work plan.  

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non-legacy_initiatives
Dorset Park Youth Council: Be Real In Your Space

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant, in addition to public and private funding, to build two youth-dedicated spaces at the McGregor Park Recreation Centre in Dorset Park - an outdoor sports pad for basketball/netball and an indoor youth priority space. A group of 15 youth led the space and community consultations, planning and design of the spaces, with support from their adult allies at the City of Toronto. The process of developing these spaces generated a lot of learnings that have informed YCF Legacy space developments.   

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youth_space , non-legacy_initiatives
Community Empowering Enterprises

 

The Community Empowering Enterprises (CEE) initiative will support the development of three unique social enterprise businesses in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods. CEE’s mission is to use social enterprise as a vehicle to enhance the life opportunities of African diasporic and other racialized youth, leading to greater engagement of young people in the community and stronger collaboration between local businesses, institutions, and community.  Through CEE, residents of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods will have opportunities to explore new approaches to community economic development that are indigenous to and owned by them.

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Front Line Workers Initiative

FLW is developing a training certification program and delivery model for frontline and direct service youth workers. The initiative will build the capacity of these workers – many of whom are Afro-Diasporic youth themselves – to better engage and serve young people. They will learn about effective practices while developing the skills to address systemic issues that impact youth in the priority neighbourhoods, such as racism, ageism and gender inequality.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
CITY Leaders

 

Established by United Way Toronto’s Organizational Capacity Building Unit (OCB), CITY Leaders is a partnership of youth-led organizations, academic institutions, funders and non-profit agencies that provides an eight-month leadership training and mentorship program for young people interested in a career in the social service sector. 

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
Power In Numbers

 

The Power in Numbers (PiN) initiative received YCF Legacy funding to address the lack of community infrastructure in the east-end priority neighbourhoods of Scarborough to support emerging, culturally specific, youth-led initiatives. Using a collaborative, youth-led approach, PiN supports these groups by facilitating training in areas such as accounting, human resources, advocacy, networking, governance, and program development/delivery and mental health supports.

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youth-led_organizational_capacity_building
Redemption Reintegration Services

With YCF Legacy funding, RRS has established the first youth-led, Afro-centric, reintegration service for incarcerated youth in Canada. The initiative is developing culturally relevant, coordinated supports for Afro-Diasporic youth within the criminal justice system and for those reintegrating into Toronto’s 13 priority neighbourhoods. Through its “in-house, wrap-around” service delivery model, RRS aims to support individual needs for successful reintegration – education, housing, employment, family reintegration, recreation, mentorship, and supports to address mental health issues, substance abuse issues and/or legal issues. 

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Youth Justice Education Program

The Youth Justice Education Program (YJEP) received YCF Legacy funding to develop a collaborative, youth-led approach to inform and advocate for the improvement of equity and anti-racism/anti-oppression practices within organizations that engage and support Afro-Diasporic youth. YJEP is training and empowering Afro-Diasporic youth to develop and deliver training modules designed to transform and animate inclusion policies within mainstream organizations and service providers. Youth staff will lead outreach, facilitate training, and advocate for institutions to incorporate training modules into their operations. 

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youth_justice
SLAM Youth Hub

The Steeles-L'Amoreaux (SLAM) Youth Hub Legacy initiative is a collaboration that includes youth leaders of the YCF-funded initiative Gashanti UNITY and the Bay Mills Youth Council. With mentorship and support from YCF and institutional partners such as Toronto Community Housing (TCH), these youth are renovating a formerly underused space within a TCH residence into a space where youth feel like they belong – like they are at home. 

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Creating Leaders in Chester Le

Creating Leaders in Chester Le (CLIC) received YCF funding to empower youth in the Chester Le community of Steeles L'Amoreaux, offering leadership development programs and peer mentorship. CLIC received a second 'Creating Youth Space' grant from YCF to renovate and open a youth-designated space in a former Toronto Community Housing (TCH) residence. Led by four local youth, CLIC built a relationship with TCH and negotiated a 5-year lease agreement. Youth leaders built their capacity to advocate for, lead, and govern a youth-designated space. This space remains active and utilized by the community.

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For Youth Initiative

In 2006, FYI received a Round 1 Building Great Ideas grant of $50,000 from YCF to conduct a feasibility study for expanding the existing space at 1652 Keele Street. In June 2008, YCF invested an additional $1.38 million in Legacy funding to support construction of the space as well as development of an Agency Mentorship Program intended to build the capacity of other grassroots, youth-led groups in Toronto. FYI also received funding for the space from the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunities Legacy (POL) fund.

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The S.P.O.T.

The S.P.O.T. is a jointly funded initiative of YCF and the City of Toronto’s Partnership Opportunity Leadership (POL) Fund, in partnership with the Malvern Branch of the Toronto Public Libraries. It was funded to bring together grassroots youth-led organizations and established community organizations to combine resources and create a youth-designated, youth-governed space in Malvern. This space will create opportunities for marginalized, racialized, and criminalized young people to come together, build leadership skills, receive mentorship, and access arts programming. 

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Boys & Girls Club of East Scarborough

 

The Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough (BGCES) is a youth-serving organization in the Kingston-Galloway priority neighbourhood, an area identified by YCF through community and youth consultations as lacking in safe, youth-friendly spaces. BGCES received funding from YCF for an expansion of the existing building, allowing for increased variety of, and space for, youth programming. 

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Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre

This initiative received a Creating Youth Space grant to renovate an existing space at Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre to make it more accessible to youth, particularly those with disabilities. YCF funding covered some construction costs as well as equipment. The space is youth-led, governed by a youth advisory council and community centre staff. Renovations to the space were completed in fall 2008. With over 200 youth members, numerous youth access the new space on a daily basis. The initiative has also developed partnerships with various agencies in Eglinton East/Kennedy Park to share this space, helping to address the existing issue of lack of space for young people in this community.

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2900 Midland Ave. Space

 

The 2900 Midland Avenue Space initiative was funded to engage the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) to work with youth and community organizations to support the educational attainment of Afro-Diasporic young people who have been disconnected from the school system. The initiative is using a youth-led, collaborative approach to create an additional 4,800 sq. ft. of youth-designated space at the TCDSB's Monsignor Fraser Campus.

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There are various ways to get involved, volunteer and find out about work opportunities
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