How YouthWorx keeps young people engaged in the summer

Group photo of tenants and staff around a car

YouthWorx team in Lawrence Heights pose for a photo with a Community Safety Unit officer.

Toronto Community Housing’s YouthWorx program continues to help many young people from across the city find a purpose.

More than one hundred youth and 17 supervisors were employed this summer to keep several social housing buildings and communities clean and well maintained. From July 2 to August 23, the YouthWorx team cleaned parking garages, staircases and hallways. They also helped Toronto Community Housing frontline employees to trim and plant flowers in gardens, paint benches, and organize community barbeques for tenants.

At a barbeque held on August 23, the East-end YouthWorx team donated 45 backpacks filled with school supplies to children living in TCHC’s Shaugnessy, Bayview Avenue and Finch Avenue East communities. Stacy Golding, Community Services Coordinator at Toronto Community Housing, believes that the generous donation by the YouthWorx team was timely and helps the children to start their school year right.

Group photo of YouthWox participants in a park

Members of the East-end YouthWorx team display some of the backpacks donated to children living in Shaugnessy, Bayview Avenue and Finch Avenue East.

“The youth are grateful for the opportunity to be employed and be productive in the summer, but more significantly they wanted to personally give back to others. The donation was their way of practising what they learned through YouthWorx and connecting with their community,” says Golding.

YouthWorx was established to provide a holistic approach to youth engagement and employment. In addition to gaining workplace skills, young people get to participate in different training sessions that focus on mental, emotional and personal development. This year’s sessions covered topics like financial literacy, social equality, setting and accomplishing life goals, professional networking and career development. The supervisors who are also hired to act as mentors make sure they create a safe and friendly space for all participants to make new friends, be themselves and learn from each other.

Tenant youth mopping a hallway

YouthWorx team members mop the floor of a hallway in Lawrence Heights.

In recognition of the importance of YouthWorx in keeping young people in the city engaged, especially during summer, the City of Toronto in 2018 pledged $1.4 million to expand the program to reach more youth over a five-year period. Since YouthWorx was launched in 2013, over 600 youth have benefited immensely from the program which provides summer work experience, leadership and life skills training.

Congratulations to everyone on another successful completion of YouthWorx.