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Fuelling youth success

Changemakers. Placemakers. Innovators. Leaders. Trailblazers. When we help young people be all they can be, we’re not just building their futures—we’re also building ours. Collectively, they represent the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the community we call home. We know that an investment in young people is a solid investment in the future. The next generation will fuel change in our community, help sustain our economy, and develop new ways of doing business.

But for the 1 million+ youth who call Greater Toronto home — more than 40% of Ontario residents between the ages of 15 and 29 — that means accessing vital supports and mastering new skills to get ahead in an increasingly challenging world. This includes everything from mental health counselling and after-school supports to resume-writing workshops, apprenticeship and employment training.

Here are a few examples of how we’re investing in access, connections and opportunities to help young people succeed.

Opportunities:

We provide support and tools for youth to help bridge the opportunity gap and improve social and economic futures. By 2025, backed by donors like you, we will have connected 10,000 young people to the education, skills and professional networks and experiences that will put them on the path to long-term economic stability.

Career Navigator™: provides youth facing multiple barriers with access to interconnected education, training, job placement, soft-skills and wrap-around support services. Through partnership with agencies and employers, United Way’s Career Navigator is now helping youth gain industry-recognized credentials needed for in-demand employment opportunities in four sectors: retail, hospitality, construction and IT.

Youth Success Grants: support agencies in a variety of innovative programs that target and meet the needs of diverse populations, creating opportunities that ultimately level the playing field for youth facing multiple barriers.

Connections:

We support programs and initiatives that foster relationships to help young people work together to develop solutions for issues that affect them.

FOCUS Toronto: FOCUS Toronto is a partnership between United Way, the City of Toronto, Toronto Police Services, and 90 community agencies that work together to connect those most vulnerable to violence, including youth, to vital community supports.

netWORKS: an employment networking and mentoring initiative that allows young people to make the professional connections they need to find meaningful work.

Access:

We support programs and initiatives that ensure access to a broad range of services for young people from the early years all the way to early adulthood. Examples include:

Girls Incorporated of York Region’s Leadership Program: offers lunchtime and after-school activities that build life skills and confidence, focusing on preparing for post-secondary education, violence prevention, physical fitness and health.

Skylark Children, Youth and Families: The Studio is an arts-based drop-in centre for youth aged 13 to 21 that prioritizes LGBTQ+ youth and includes both formal and informal programming. Participants can hang out and have a snack, and participate in structured projects that build marketable skills.