YMCA Aims to Help Youth in at-risk Communities

January 17, 2013 Updated: January 17, 2013

TORONTO—The YMCA of Greater Toronto charity announced today the launch of their Centres of Community in Toronto’s most-needed neighbourhoods. The charity organization said the YMCA is building a massive expansion plan that will see 10 new centres emerge by 2020, labelling it as the “largest endeavour in the charity’s history.” 

“Toronto is embarking on an exciting period of transformation and growth with the YMCA of Greater Toronto that will fundamentally reshape and rebuild our communities,” said the Vice Chair of YMCA of Greater Toronto, Tim Penner, in the release. 

With programs that will help reduce child obesity, provide childcare, improve youth education, and provide jobs, the centres will aim to have a long-term impact on youth in the at-risk communities.

Neighbourhoods were selected based on their current community health and their access to infrastructure and possible partnerships.

“With the new Centres of Community, our charity will be able to make an even greater positive impact on the lives of tens thousands of young people across the GTA,” Penner said. 

Even though building of the centres will start immediately, to realize the project, YMCA is simultaneously launching a Strong Start, Great Future fundraiser to help reach the $250 million required by the end of 2020. 

After the charity launched a study in 2008, discoveries showed that select communities are in need of social programs that help support youth. 

Research highlighted that 9 in 10 young Canadians don’t get enough daily physical exercise while 4 in 10 report a weak sense of belonging, and some 20 percent of youth between 15 and 19 are not planning to pursue education. 

Each centre will work with its neighbourhood to provide accessible programs to the youth there. 

The first five centres that are already in the plans are on Kingston Road in East Toronto, Vanauley Street in the Queen West neighbourhood, Bridletowne Circle in North Scarborough, Sherry Street in the Pan Am Athletes Village, and Kipling Avenue in Etobicoke. 

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