What is Youthworks?
This national initiative is aimed at helping to solve youth homelessness.
Why the focus on youth? It’s simple. We believe that the best way to prevent long-term homelessness is to address the issue when people are young.
Some of the highlights/outcomes of our work so far:
- Youth Homelessness in Canada: The Road to Solutions (2009)—a national research report based largely on the experiences of 700 homeless, at-risk and unemployed youth in Calgary, Toronto and St. John’s, plus input from youth-serving agencies, policy makers and researchers from across Canada.
The report gives a snapshot of youth homelessness in Canada, gives recommendations for long-term solutions, and calls for collective action on the issue. View highlights of the report or click the pdfs below to read it for yourself.
- Homeless Youth have nothing, but potential – this award-winning national public education campaign, launched in Spring 2011, set out to challenge misconceptions about homeless youth. Using everyday objects like an abandoned chair, a wilting plant and a humble potato, the multi media campaign, designed pro bono by Leo Burnett Toronto, posed the provocative question “If you can see the potential in an abandoned chair (or wilting plant, or a potato) why not in a homeless youth?”
“When we talk about potential, we are talking about changing the course of someone’s life, not just spare change in a cup,” observes Judy John, CEO of Leo Burnett Toronto.
“By helping to get young people off the sidewalks, out of the alleys and away from bad influences, we are getting them on a path to education, employment and hope.”
- Engaging the private sector (current phase of Youthworks)
Many countries – the U.K., U.S. and Canada included – are struggling with rising youth unemployment. It is clear that young people with no job or prospects are ill-equipped to enjoy and contribute to an inclusive society and sustainable economy.
Our research tells us the private sector can play a critical role in addressing youth homelessness through employment, skills training and mentorship opportunities. In this phase of Youthworks our goal is to learn about what needs to be in place to motivate and support Canadian businesses to take on this role.
Over the past year…
we have ‘followed’ eight community agencies who are already working with private sector partners to provide job-skills training and employment programs for at-risk or previously homeless youth. We’ve interviewed senior representatives from the participating businesses and we have talked with many of the youth about their work experience. For more info, read the current issue of Youthworks News
Read our Youthworks News updates for more information
In 2012 we will:
• develop a final report that includes learnings, best practices and recommendations for successful private sector engagement;
• prepare toolkits, one for community agencies, to help them develop partnerships and programs with the private sector, and the other for businesses and corporations to assist them to develop their own workplace programs;
• distribute the report and toolkits to private sector/industry networks, service providers, researchers and policy makers.
We hope to help bring about changes in attitude and practice within the private sector and help pave the way for new employment opportunities for at-risk and homeless youth across Canada.
The overall Youthworks initiative as well as the current Youthworks Private Sector Engagement project are both benefitting from the knowledge, experience and wisdom of many accomplished individuals Including the following groups:
Youthworks Private Sector Board of Advisors
Chair of the Private Sector Board of Advisors
Vice President Raising the Roof Board
Vice President of Human Resources
Intact Financial Corporation
Exact Drywall Forman
Urban Native Youth Association Board Chair
Member of the Raising the Roof Board
Regional Vice President
Private Banking – RBC Wealth Management
Chief Bargain Officer and President of Bargains Group
Founder of Give Back Where You Live, Project Winter Survival , Project Water and Mini Miracles
Our Funding Partners
We couldn't do this critical work without the commitment of some very generous partners (see below). Thank you to all our wonderful Youthworks supporters!
But we need even more support to succeed.
If you are a corporation, foundation, or an individual looking to make a meaningful contribution to our society, consider investing in our most precious resource - the young people of Canada.
To learn more about becoming a funding partner, contact Maureen Gallagher by email or call (416) 489-6105.
WE ALSO THANK
- Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
- Bowne of Canada / RRD
- Canadian Homelessness Research Network
- J.P. Bickell Foundation
- John and Heather Hall
- Teamsters Canada Youth Committee
- The McLean Foundation
- The Winnipeg Foundation