How We Help

Educational Outreach Program

Our Educational Outreach program takes a preventative approach to youth homelessness, by breaking down stereotypes around this important social issue, and building knowledge and empathy within the local community. The program’s interactive workshops are available for all ages throughout the Greater Toronto Area and are delivered at schools, colleges, community groups, and corporate partners. The program breaks down common stereotypes and myths around homelessness, and introduces participants to the realities of life as a homeless young person, and all the struggles that entail. While building knowledge, tolerance, and empathy, the program also teaches participants about the resources in their community that can assist in preventing and responding to family emergencies.

THE NEED

Youth homelessness solutions in Canada are moving towards a preventative approach. School-based programming can support this shift by intervening quickly when youth are at risk of homelessness

Over 40% of homeless youth are younger than 16 when they first become homeless, and 83% of homeless youth experienced bullying at school (four times higher than the Canadian average)

THE SUPPORT

Almost 11,000 youth have been reached through our educational workshops with more than 250 schools participating in just over 5 years (2014-2019)

1.5% of school and college-aged participants that YWS reached in 2019 disclosed issues of homelessness to our outreach specialist during an educational workshop

Contact the Community Engagement and Educational Specialist: 416.748.0110 ext. 62

Each year the number of corporate partners applying to receive workshops exceeds 20% of total workshops delivered and continues to grow year over year.

The impact of the YWS Education Program on my students is undeniable. The engaging presentation draws students in with eye-opening statistics, combined with a natural and relaxed conversation of youth homelessness myths and stigmas. It ends with a clear direction on how they can affect the issues caused from it. Our school has been involved with YWS over the last decade and continues to value our amazing partnership which provides our youth with the opportunity to not only learn about an important issue in their very own community, but also to be proactive in promoting a further understanding while engaging in valuable volunteer opportunities. Quite simply, the YWS Education Program teaches and instills empathy in students and motivates them to take action today and in the future.

Ian Carruthers, Director, Mentor College

I believe that it is very important for students to learn about homelessness in their community to support their understanding of local social responsibility and to encourage the development of empathy….Youth Without Shelter representatives presented to 6 classes from Grades 4 to 8. The response from my staff was very positive. They indicated the workshop was educational, interesting, age appropriate, curriculum relevant, engaging and fun. Both my staff and I would recommend the presentation to our colleagues.

Susan Bois, Principal, Humber Valley Village Junior Middle School

Students not only learned the various causes that can lead to youth homelessness and how easy it is for individuals much like themselves to end up on the street, but were also educated about what can be done to help prevent it, and what can be done to help those individuals who find themselves in this situation.

Ian Carruthers, Director, Mentor College

One thing I learned from the workshop is that just because you are homeless it doesn’t mean you don’t have values and don’t want to finish school. I have friends who could use Youth Without Shelter.

Student Comments

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