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Engaging Families and Youth in Ending Poverty in Toronto

This fall, YSM will be introducing a new youth and family engagement program, inspired by the experience of long-standing YSM advocate and supporter, John Fenton.

While just 11 years old, John was brought to YSM by his father, an experience he remembers vividly, one after which John vowed to commit himself to help community members encountering poverty.

For nearly 80 years, John has been involved with YSM in a variety of capacities – as a donor, board member, and active participant in our annual fundraising walk Coldest Night of the Year. Due to all he has contributed, YSM is launching our Youth & Family Engagement Program in tribute to John, and will name it in his honour.

The program will provide children aged 7 to 11, youth aged 12 to 17, and their families, – in addition to youth and school groups – with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of poverty in Toronto. Ultimately, it is our hope to inspire participants to contribute to YSM’s vision to end chronic poverty in our city.

YSM has created a wonderful children’s book which recounts John’s YSM experience as a young boy, and how it shaped his intention to help Toronto neighbours journey out of poverty. Illustrated by an incredibly talented high school student, Abigail Wong, the book features many fun activities and examples of what can be done to help end chronic poverty in our city.

If you would like to learn more about the program, please email Eleanor Edwards, YSM’s Community Engagement & Fundraising Specialist, at

GIVE 6IX logo

Feeling inspired? We’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .

What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at