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Social Justice All-Star Youth Organizations

Nadya Domingo

Four Toronto community programs that empower the city’s youth

Over the past month, we’ve featured amazing Social Justice All-Stars and the work they’re doing to make Canada a better place to live. Fellow Canadians have taken notice. Our readers have sent us dozens of nominations, highlighting individuals for the great contributions they make, whether its fighting for LGBTQ rights, labour equality, or animal rights.

This week, however, we’re taking the focus off single people to put the spotlight on groups that promote inclusivity, equality and change. Below, we take a look look at four youth-centred programs in Toronto that help make the city a better place to live. Know a social justice all-star who deserves recognition? An organization doing great work? Email editor Lauren McKeon at [email protected]

The Spot Youth Centre

The Spot, “where you(th) want to be,” offers programming for youth 13–30 years old. Located near the Jane and Finch intersection, The Spot is committed to promoting healthy choices through artistic, recreational, and educational programming, amongst others. The centre has an anti-racist, anti-sexist and anti-classist approach, and one of its main goals is to build peace in the community and prevent violence.

What makes The Spot an all-star program

The Spot helps Toronto youth achieve success with its free tutoring program, No Mind Left Behind. They also conduct resume workshops and prep classes for citizenship tests. And on Monday afternoons after school, kids can enjoy snacks, games, and have the opportunity to bake and finish up their homework as part of the centre’s Jane Milo Kids Club.
Visit The Spot’s website: https://thespotyouth.squarespace.com/

Young Carers Program

The Young Carers Program (YCP) supports Toronto youth ages five–18 years old who care for loved ones. Many youth carers keep their role a secret from their peers—though their care is much-needed. Youth carers look after family members that suffer from chronic or life-threatening illnesses, disabilities and language barriers. The YCP steps in and offers free programs, workshops and events to youth who have positive effects on their families.

What makes the YCP an all-star program

The YCP supports youth carers with free, one-day workshops geared toward their family member’s needs. The “unique and strategically designed workshops” explain the science behind certain conditions, so that youth carers have an enhanced understanding of situations at home.
Visit the YCP website: http://www.ycptoronto.com/

Gashanti Unity

Gashanti Unity is an organization geared toward young Somali women in Toronto. The program is a voice for young women in the city who are racialized and face barriers such as sexism, racism, cultural alienation and self-esteem issues that can lead to detrimental situations.

What makes Gashanti Unity an all-star program

Despite the city’s many centres and programs geared toward Toronto youth, Gashanti Unity was a much needed safe-space for Somali women in the city. The program was formed in 2007 by a small core group of Somali women—which eventually evolved into a group of over 40. The group meets weekly to discuss the issues that affect the community in Toronto and in Somalia.
Visit Gashanti Unity online: http://gashantiunity.ca/

For Youth Initiative

The For Youth Initiative is a “multiservice agency” that offers settlement services, violent prevention programs, leadership programs, and one-on-one programs that help increase youths’ access to educational, employment and housing resources.

What makes the For Youth Initiative an all-star program

The For Youth Initiative serves youth in the York-South Weston region, a neighbourhood that can face isolation, especially when compared to more affluent Toronto communities. The initiative includes the FYI Studio Program, where kids can work alongside music professionals inside a recording studio and learn about the industry.
Visit For Youth Initiative online: http://www.foryouth.ca/

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