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Recent Youthlink News Items
Below is a list of News Items that have been recently published to our website.
We share the feelings of shock and sadness reverberating across the city in response to the tragic events that took place in a Scarborough neighbourhood. YouthLink has joined our agency partners to support the community and over the next few days, we will be part of an inter-agency team providing crisis and grief counselling at the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club (ESBC) to assist youth and parents affected by the violence and fearful about what may happen next. A bus service is available to transport those unable to walk to this location and can be arranged by calling (416) 281-0262.
YouthLink counsellors are also on stand-by at our Warden office and ready to assist any callers seeking advice or support. Our regular Walk-in Counselling Service is available for youth and families from 12 -6:30 pm at 747 Warden. This is a confidential service and there are no wait-times and no fees.
Exposure to violence can overwhelm young people at any age and it is important for parents and/or caring adults to make time to help them address their concerns, questions and feelings. These concerns may arise immediately or after several weeks have passed. Here are some tipsheets to help you support the young people in your life.
|"YAAHA! is a place to feel safe and be yourself"|
Queer/trans youth face bullying, harassment and social exclusion that can severely impact their mental health. There are hundreds of youth growing up in Scarborough who face these challenges every day and yet there is only one group in the community - YAAHA! - that exists exclusively to support and mentor queer/trans youth.
In celebration of Pride Week Toronto, we are delighted to announce that YouthLink has received a grant from the TELUS Community Fund to support YAAHA! and help address the challenges for queer/trans youth in Scarborough.
YAAHA! (Youth Advocating Anti-Homophobia Awareness) was formed in 2003 and has survived in large part due to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, particularly Ronni Gorman who now manages our Pathways to Education program in Scarborough Village.
YAAHA! has provided vital support to many young people over the years. Long-time member Bing puts it this way: “Many youth lack self-confidence as they are afraid of what people might think because they’re gay. You can become paranoid and withdraw. YAAHA! is a place to feel safe and be yourself, where you can build not just your self-confidence, but your self-like. You learn to not hate yourself so much because you’re so different.” Read more >
After more than 30 years of service to street-involved and homeless youth, YouthLink's Inner City Drop-In and Resource Centre will be closing at the end of March. The pre-employment program Youth Skills Zone closed in December last year.
Inner City and Youth Skills Zone have been an important part of the landscape in the downtown core in serving street-involved youth. These downtown services have a long and proud history of helping countless youth over the past 30 years to move forward into a life of new hope and possibility. The drop-in with its many resources provided a safe place where street youth could rebuild their trust in people and find services that would help them.
Recognizing this important role made it all the more difficult for YouthLink, faced with funding deficits and growing demands on every front, to announce in January 2011 that the agency could no longer offer these services. It was only after months of deliberation, that the Board of Directors determined that YouthLink was truly stretched beyond capacity and that the best course of action for the agency would be to strengthen our services in Scarborough where we had relocated our head office in 2005. Read more >
Thanks to all those who made special gifts to our youth and families to help them celebrate the season. We are grateful to the following for your generous donations:
Youth Action Team - Northwest Scarborough Youth Centre
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Scarborough Golf and Country Club Business Ladies Curling
Scotiabank Customer Care Team
Sucks No Socks Campaign (Jennifer Reginold)
Big Sisters Gay Venture Circle
Big Sisters Avenue Circle
Chum Christmas Wish Foundation
Empowering Young Women's Group
Congratulations to our Empowering Young Women's Group on receiving an INI Award (Identify ‘n Impact) from the City of Toronto for Enabling Collective Action.
The Indentify 'n Impact awards are sponsored by the Toronto Youth Cabinet and the City of Toronto and recognize the key role that youth play as advocates, visionaries and agents of social change. The group was recognized for its efforts in building a team to work together to better the community.
The group meets Friday afternoons at the North West Scarborough Youth Centre Centre to talk through common issues like peer pressure, smoking, and healthy lifestyle choices with group facilitators Tara and Kirishaa, both of whom were former participants.
Last year, the group presented workshops to girls in middle school on healthy living and relationships.
They are currently working on producing a “Girl Talk” magazine which will be distributed in local schools and libraries.
Kirishaa describes the group as "a great place to talk - we know that what is said in the room, stays in the room. It is about building our character and inner strength. It is helping me be a stronger person and do what is right."
Kirishaa has been involved for several years and her story was profiled in our Annual Report. > Read Kirishaa's story
Bring on winter! Employees at Aviva Canada have once again generously contributed to YouthLink, collecting over 670 items through their annual Winter Clothing Drive and delivering them to our Warden office. In addition to individual donations, staff teams took on the challenge of putting together an entire winter wardrobe for a single youth consisting of a coat, boots, mittens/gloves, scarf and toque/hat. Special thanks Christine Rupnaraine, Corporate Responsibility Manager for organizing the drive and to the “Aviva Almost Angels” team from the IT and Facilities Department who did a remarkable job of outfitting 38 youth with new winter wardrobes, making midnight shopping trips to Walmart as part of their efforts!
YouthLink is a proud to partner with Aviva Canada in their Street to School initiative.
Hope, the belief that change is possible, is central to Jayna's story. And she is now offering that hope to others simply by speaking out and sharing her experience.
Jayna has inspired messages of support for her and other youth struggling with depression. We have created a Wall of Hope to share these messages and invite our readers to share your thoughts. What gives you hope during dark periods? What tools have helped you in managing depression and anxiety?
Add a brick to the Wall of Hope by sharing your comments. Let's send a message to young people that there is a way forward and we are here to help.
L-R: (back row) Salim, Grenville, Fil, Karl, Jerome, Alex, Ashley, Troy(NWSYC staff);
(front) Denise, Fawn, Fatima, Tracey
RBC staff took part in an unusual event at the North West Scarborough Youth Centre for the annual United Way Days of Caring initiative. Career Talks brought five staff from the RBC branch at Sheppard and Markham together with our youth leadership group to share their personal stories that led them to pursue a career in banking. Also joining them was YouthLink Board Member and RBC employee Karl Smith. The youth heard of the challenges of moving to Canada, finding a job after university and deciding on a career. Much wise advise was shared about the importance of liking your job and the diversity of opportunities in banking.
Thanks to branch manager Fil Delfuoco and her staff Ashley, Grenville, Jerome and Salim for taking part and to Karl for joining us.
We hope this is the first of many Career Talks to help youth sort through career choices and challenges.
The Board of Directors is very pleased to announce the appointment of Janice Hayes as Executive Director effective October 11th, 2011, succeeding Sandy Birnie who recently retired having held the position since 2005. Janice comes to Youthlink with over 35 years of progressive management expertise in the non-profit sector, including the CNIB and Colleges of Ontario. Most recently, she was Executive Director and CEO of Findhelp Information Services/211 Central Region in Toronto and was involved with launching the provincial and national 211 system.
Janice brings a strong background of success in developing and implementing strategic plans, communications, budgeting, excellence in service delivery and working collaboratively with service providers and funders. She will lead YouthLink in strengthening our services for youth and families in Scarborough.