Together we can transform Toronto

In 2015/2016 the
Yonge Street Mission,


helped foster leadership in local youth and walked alongside them as they worked on anti-bullying initiatives, created a space where families can form a community, formed a program supporting transformative change for adults living with chronic poverty, and also purchased a 24,000-square-foot location on Spadina Avenue in Chinatown - a much needed space three times the size of our current drop-in centre.

As you go through the pages of this report you will read of the many ways YSM has walked alongside our community members in need, stories of hope and transformation and how the tireless efforts of our team have helped people on their journey out of poverty this past year. These stories of hope and progress would not be possible without you, our loyal donors, partners and volunteers, so we thank you for your support and trust.

YSM continues to invest in and improve upon our services because the challenges facing people who are experiencing poverty in our city, are extremely difficult and urgent. This means continuing to collaborate, convene partners, and build the capacity of community residents. We will also automate TIMES™, our measurement system, a new software-based support system which will improve our ability to measure outcomes at the individual and community level. The process of sharing our system and our findings with the city and our partners is already underway as we seek to contribute to the overall outcomes in Toronto. Building on over 120 years of experience, we will continue to help people take positive steps toward their goals and out of poverty, while keeping our eyes fixed on our goal of ending chronic poverty in one generation.

We are moving toward this goal with your help, one year at a time.

With Gratitude,

Angie Signature

Angie Draskovic
President and CEO

William Signature

William Onuwa
Chair, Board of Directors

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.


Of homeless youth have failed to complete high school


That engage with YSM's Evergreen Centre for street youth show signs of PTSD


Are homeless because their parents/care-givers were no longer willing to accomodate them. This is the leading cause of youth homelessness
New Centre
New Centre

Creating Greater Circles of Support to Engage Street Youth in Sustaining Change

By the end of 2017, Evergreen will move from its iconic Yonge Street location into a newly renovated 24,000-square-foot space on Spadina Avenue. in Chinatown. The new Evergreen is being designed with input from stakeholders — including youth — to have multiple practical spaces to meet our community’s diverse program needs. There will also be a rooftop terrace, a larger healthcare area so that multiple practitioners can be available at a time, and an expanded mental health centre to address the complex needs and traumas of street-involved youth in our community.

In partnership with other agencies that share the same or similar goals, our new home will allow us to build greater circles of support that engage youth to take positive strides in their lives.

“Without Evergreen I would have ended up dead in a ditch somewhere. My life was saved because of the staff and all the hard work that they did and made me do. I used the Art Program, Employment Services, Health Centre and Foot Clinic. Now I am soon to be married and pursuing a career as a Child and Youth Worker.

Thanks and God Bless you all!”

– Sara*

*name changed for privacy

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.

Over 1.3 million

Children in Canada live in poverty, with Toronto as the child poverty capital of Canada
In Toronto, Regent Park continues to have the highest rate of child poverty at



Visits to YSM’s Family Services Program in 2015/16
young family

Supporting Struggling Families on Their Journey to Make Positive Changes

YSM’s Family Services support, stabilize and restore families. We build meaningful relationships with every member, offering a holistic approach to family care that helps all families in need achieve stability so that they can live fulfilled lives and build healthy family units. Through our education, daycare, employment and counselling services, we touch the lives of hundreds of families and keep them from falling into a cycle of poverty.

Our goal is to assist as many families as possible. In 2016, we introduced family-to-family mentoring, to strengthen our support for families. The program is the first of its kind in Toronto. A family who shows great commitment, determination and progress on their journey to change is paired with a mentor family who encourages, challenges and supports them by modeling healthy relationships, sensible choices and positive interactions.

Andrea* is a single mother of three. The family was living in a shelter and visiting YSM’s food bank to meet their basic needs when she first reached out for help. We supported and guided her as she fought for child support, found an apartment and registered for school. When Andrea* and her children were ready, they became one of our first mentee families. Her family was paired with another to guide, encourage and help them connect with community. The two families meet often and have formed a strong bond.

– Andrea*

*name changed for privacy

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.


Of those in toronto living on low income experience some form of chronic poverty. Their experience usually crosses generations


Average monthly income of clients accessing food banks in Toronto
leaving just
Per person per day left over for food


Building Relationships To Transform Our Community Into Fulfilling And Healthy Lives

In the fall of 2016, we introduced the Bridges program to increase support to adults living with long-term poverty on their journey to change. Open to our adult community, including those who have outgrown YSM’s Evergreen Centre for Street Youth, Bridges builds personal well-being and interpersonal skills, all while maintaining a high level of dignity, so that our community members can transition into fulfilled and healthy lives.

The vital life and employment skills taught at Bridges have transitioned those in our community from surviving to thriving. As we look ahead, we will harness the depth of experience and build strategic partnerships to join our voices and effect positive and transformative change in Toronto.

James* is a regular at Bridges, and as his Building Self-Esteem course ended, he explained how it changed his life. “When I started this course, I was really depressed because my landlord wanted to evict me(I’m a hoarder). I’ve never told anyone this before and I don’t know what happened, but something clicked for me while attending the program and a couple of weeks ago I went home, started clearing things out and even painted my apartment. My landlord isn’t evicting me anymore and I feel so much better about myself.”

– James*

*name changed for privacy

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.

Foad, YSM’s Community Capacity Builder and members of the O.V.O.L. team meeting with Mayor John Tory to discuss bullying


Unemployment rate for established immigrants (10+ years)


Unemployment rate for immigrants of 5 years or less


Of newcomers reported their most significant barrier to finding employment was their lack of Canadian experience

Investing in Communities to Create a Vibrant and Supportive Path to Positive Cange

Our Community Capacity Builders work in Regent Park, Moss Park and St. James Town. All three communities are home to many people who are isolated or marginalized because of cultural, economic or social barriers. They all have many gifts to offer others but often have difficulty finding an avenue to contribute.

Together, with members of these communities and partner agencies, we work to equip residents with the skills, resources and tools they need to create sustainable solutions to their unique challenges. One such partnership is with Grassroots Growth, a Volunteer Toronto initiative. Together, we are training more than 100 community members to make a positive difference in their community.

Our Voices, Out Loud (O.V.O.L.) is a new community-led initiative that supports youth experiencing bullying and victimization. Gogigan explains how the peer leadership model empowered him.

“I started off as a nobody during the summer. With O.V.O.L. I began to realize my full potential. I have a mouth to speak; I don’t need others to defend me anymore. I speak up for me and speak up for others who get bullied, that’s our mission to fulfill as a group.”

- Gogigan, O.V.O.L. youth group member

Vital community programs like O.V.O.L. are why in 2018, YSM will open a Regent Park hub for community members. This will be a safe gathering place and we are currently planning its focus and designing the purpose of the space in collaboration with community members, including the O.V.O.L. youth group, the Regent Park Neighbourhood Association and other social enterprises.

By coming together through shared interests and activities, this community will not only be a healthier and more inclusive neighbourhood, it will also be creating a vibrant and supportive path for its own future.

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.

Year at a glance

Improvements in our population groups since implementing times ™

Families in Crisis


Community Support Services


Street Involved Youth


Progress this year

Placed an average of over 3 people per week through youth employment programs.

65% of families and adults that visited housing services received support, including housing supports, crisis intervention, conflict mediation and housing advocacy

Worked with 197 youth to prevent homelessness and support transition to housing

70% of youth served through pre-employment programs are employed or in training

Program stats
+ 7,700

computer lab visits

4 Kids Camps

(summer, March Break)


visits to the daycare center

2,500 Families

helped by the Christmas Toy & Food Market


food bank visits


meals served


visits to Evergreen's Employment Centre


volunteers across YSM

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.

Program Milestones

October 2015

Manual launch of TIMES ™

January 2016

6,000 bags of clothing donated through PATH Clothing Drive


January 2016

Homework club expands and adds second offsite location

January 2016

YSM receives keys to new Evergreen Centre for Street Youth building

February 2016

Coldest Night of the Year raised $175,000


March 2016

O.V.O.L., our youth led anti-bullying initiative launches

June 2016

Women's sewing collective partners with OCAD University

September 2016

Golf tournament raises $83,000


September 2016

Launch of Bridges Program

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.



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Vision for Tomorrow


“Poverty is not a simple concept; it is a complex and evolving challenge. Building on over 120 years of helping people take positive steps towards moving out of poverty and because of our deep desire to ensure that we are always doing our best to help those in our community, we established a robust framework to measure the impact of our efforts. The Transformation Integrated Measurement and Evaluation System (TIMES™) allows us to gauge progress and outcomes at the community level as well as track individual case management throughout our holistic approach to supporting those in our community on their journey to change.”

- Angie Draskovic, President & CEO

The data collected will determine where to focus resources as well as how to customize our programs, improve our services and build stronger cases for advocacy to influence systemic change across our three intentional and interconnected intervention strategies — Changing Lives, Building Communities and Transforming Toronto. Already, plans are underway to open a Regent Park hub to create a safe multi-purpose gathering space for community members, and new opportunities to strengthen relationships with mental health partners are being explored to better address the complex needs of those in our community.

We will share and collaborate with other like-minded service providers and the City of Toronto to ensure that, as we each expand, we are increasing our collective reach. Through this approach, we will foster change and pave the way for those living with poverty to move from surviving to thriving.


Times ™ is a reflection of YSM’s holistic response to helping people rise out of poverty and our unique way of measuring people’s progress on their journey out of poverty.

Your generosity, compassion and trust in us has made a powerful impact on our community, especially in the lives of street youth, families in crisis, and neighbours struggling with chronic poverty. These strides towards positive change and fullness of life would not be possible without you.

As we look forward to another exciting year, we hope that you will continue on this journey with us.

"I have learned a lot since volunteering at YSM and really like assisting youth in creating a vision as they prepare to move beyond the streets. It is very humbling to be able to help some of the street youth in Toronto."

-Evergreen Volunteer

"I knew about YSM and liked what they do for the community, so I wanted to be a volunteer and help my community."

-Food Bank Volunteer

"It is so rewarding to see the kids improve their marks and also build confidence and I am very happy to be a part of that success. I also like that the staff at YSM make me feel like a part of the team and not just a volunteer."

-Homework Club Volunteer

"YSM provided me with so many great opportunities as a child, so I wanted to find a way to give back. I now teach one of the computer classes and the amazing students in my classes are what make my experience so rewarding. They inspire me to do so much more, and I learn from them as they learn from me."

-Computer Lab Volunteer

Changing Lives. Building Communities. Transforming Toronto.