Youth programs: Investing in the future

When young people feel valued, engaged and safe, their community is healthier because they can thrive. With the help of our partners, we delivered programs and connected young people to opportunities enabling them to pursue their education and build employment, social and leadership skills.

The City of Toronto contributed $150,000 to expand the YouthWorx program in 2018. This enabled us to hire 53 additional youth.

We asked youth who took part in several of our youth-focused programs in 2018 to tell us why they got involved.


Fahad Abdulahi is one of 155 Youth Community Workers employed through the 2018 YouthWorx summer jobs program to do light repair and maintenance work in our communities. Fahad was inspired to apply for YouthWorx because he believes that it helps change the narrative about youth living in Toronto Community Housing.

"YouthWorx was more than just another job. It gave me a safe space to find real connections with my peers, do meaningful work, give back to different communities and learn new skills," Fahad said. "I can't think of another job that helps young people learn so much about themselves."

Scholarship programs

With the help of our partners, nearly 100 tenants received scholarships in 2018 to help fulfill their educational goals.

Tajmina Tafader earned an Investing in Our Diversity Scholarship and is now studying biomedical engineering at Ryerson University. As a high school student, Tajmina volunteered in the emergency and intensive care units at a local hospital and at a digital innovation hub where she helped make prosthetics for people.

"One of my goals is to improve the future of medicine and healthcare. That's why I want to go to medical school," Tajmina said. "However, medical school is very expensive…the diversity scholarship eased the financial burden that medical school could have on me and my family."

A large crowd of people are seated around circular dinner tables in a grand hall, facing forwards for an event.

The IIODS Gala dinner in 2018

Unsung Heroes: Design Workshop

We work to connect young people to opportunities that boost their self-confidence and promote healthy lifestyles. In 2018, about 2,400 tenants took part in sports, fitness and wellness, and creative programs organized with our partners. One of those programs was the Unsung Heroes design workshop organized by Nike Canada. Twenty youth from the YouthWorx program showcased their talents and creativity at the workshop, where they designed their own athletic shoes and clothes to reflect their unique style.

Daiquane Buchanan's design represented something very dear to him: his neighbourhood, Jane-Finch. "For my shoe design, I incorporated the Toronto skyline and where I am from. The design was special because nobody has it," he said. Chris Otchere called the design program a wonderful experience. "I've never done anything like that before," he said. "It was a fun way to engage youth. Everyone was very happy!"

A young person sitting at a table shows a clipboard with his shoe designs for Nike. Other young people and staff can be seen in the background sharing designs and having conversations.

Unsung Heroes design workshop organized by Nike Canada

Canadian International Model United Nations

Forty Toronto Community Housing youth took part in the 2018 Canadian International Model United Nations Conference in Ottawa. The conference provided high school and postsecondary students with opportunities to learn about a range of global issues.

Sami Islam said the conference helped him realized his passion for international diplomacy and encouraged him to get more involved. "I learned how to collaborate to solve some of the issues faced by young people in my neighbourhood," he said. "My experience helped kick start my personal development."

For Natalie Chattargoon, the conference was an adventure and a dream come true. "As someone living in Toronto Community Housing, the conference expanded my horizon on what's possible. I participated as a member of the science committee and learned so much about the challenges facing our planet. It was a fascinating experience."

Read more stories like this in the 2018 Annual Report.

Three young people wearing professional clothing and name badges for the 2018 Canadian International Model United Nations Conference smile at the camera.

2018 Canadian International Model United Nations Conference in Ottawa