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Together, focusing on healthy communities

Youth Service Network

Who We Are

The Youth Service Network (YSN) is a group of 40+ youth workers, community organizations, and youth themselves who work or live in Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park, Victoria Village and O’Connor communities in Toronto, Ontario.

Mission Statement

“To provide a vehicle through which service communication, coordination and collaboration is achieved to increase the opportunities of Youth to be engaged, employed and live healthy productive lives.”

What We Do

  • Youth Service NetworkWe meet once a month to share ideas and respond to emerging issues youth are facing in these communities
  • We plan and deliver 4 Collaborative Projects every year: MY CITY March Break, Youth Employment Advancement Program, Take Our Kids to Work Day, and Youth Forum
  • We share information amongst members and the community that will give youth access to opportunities
  • We advocate for increased city service, community agency and business association involvement for long-term sustainable capacity development of youth initiatives, programs and organizational development

Why We Do It

  • We believe that youth are integral parts of their communities
  • We believe that youth should be encouraged and given the opportunity to take a leading role in issues which affect their lives; and that youth should be consulted whenever decisions that affect them are being made.
  • We believe in supporting youth to develop ownership, responsibility and a “sense of entitlement” about themselves and their community
  • We believe in working in partnership to support youth
  • We believe there is strength in diversity

Our Projects

You Belong

You Belong

You Belong was a participatory action research project in Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe, Victoria Village, and O’Connor.

Youth were trained as researchers and led “asset-mapping” focus groups with other youth in the four communities.  The asset-mapping process asked youth to think about what services (like employment, recreation, and arts & culture) exist in their neighbourhoods, and what they need more of.

We Belong

We Belong

We Belong is a project that takes the recommendations youth made in You Belong and puts them into action. Together with the YSN, We Belong is tackling the big issues youth talked about in the report (such as isolation and lack of employment opportunities) by:

  • coordinating programs and events for youth
  • building awareness about service gaps and innovative responses
  • sharing knowledge
  • supporting youth groups in the four communities

My City

My City

My City is a March Break initiative where youth from the four communities get together to receive training (such as CPR) and check out cultural organizations and sites in downtown Toronto.  Places we’ve visited in the past include:  the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, Much Music, Kensington Market, City Hall, and Ryerson University.  The point is to introduce the TTC and Toronto to isolated youth so that they feel more comfortable and involved with the city beyond their neighbourhood.

Here’s what youth say about My City:

“If a friend came and asked me about My City, I would tell them that it is an excellent program that is beneficial.  It’s a great way to socialize and get to know more about Toronto.  This trip makes you learn a lot about yourself, others and those around you.”

YEAP

YEAP

The Youth Employment Advancement Program (YEAP) is an employment training program for youth ages 15-19 to build their skills and improve their chances of getting a job in the near future. Youth receive training in:

  • conflict resolution
  • communication
  • job search and keeping a job
  • CPR
  • resume/cover letter writing
  • practice interviews

The purpose of YEAP is to help youth feel confident and access jobs. YEAP usually happens in April and May every year.

What youth say about YEAP:

“I can go to any interview and I feel confident.  I am more confident dealing with the ‘real world’ even if I have no experience.”

Youth Forum

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum is an event that happens twice a year (usually fall and spring) and brings together grassroots youth groups and youth leaders from Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park, Victoria Village, and O'Connor.  Youth groups use the Youth Forum as an opportunity to showcase the work they've been doing, discuss issues and build collective knowledge, and have fun!

Take Our Kids to Work Day

Take Our Kids to Work Day

Take Our Kids to Work Day is a national one-day job-shadowing experience for 50 Grade 9 students.  Students spend a day at work with a parent or adult to understand some of the skills required to succeed in a career and to learn about career options.

The Youth Service Network and Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute work together to make Take Our Kids to Work Day happen in Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park. The point of Take Our Kids to Work Day is to provide opportunities for students to learn about volunteering and employment options from adults who work for the City of Toronto or with neighbourhood organizations.