National Volunteer Week: the power of partnership

National Volunteer Week: the power of partnership

Happy National Volunteer Week! We are so thankful to the many dedicated volunteers who give time and talent across all areas of YSM – you make our work possible each year. Not only are we blessed with individual volunteers, but YSM also has many partnerships with schools, churches and corporations […]

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Culturally Safe Care

Culturally Safe Care

Donna Alexander works as a social worker at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and specializes in addiction and mental health, primarily working with Black families and youth through the Substance Abuse Program for African Canadian and Caribbean Youth. In 2007, encouraged by one of YSM’s volunteers, Donna […]

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Confidence and Community

Confidence and Community

When Susan* first came to YSM she was living in a rooming house with many others, sleeping on the floor. Growing up in foster homes, Susan had experienced multiple traumas and received one consistent message: she wasn’t and would never be worth anything. Feeling alone and unvalued, Susan would arrive […]

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A Christmas like no Other

A Christmas like no Other

For many of us, Christmas 2020 was like nothing we’ve experienced. However, for many in our community, the feeling of isolation during holidays is not new. Compounded with the financial impacts of the pandemic, we knew this Christmas would be extra challenging for many neighbours. With your generous support, however, […]

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125 Years of Changing Lives

125 Years of Changing Lives

In 1896, John ‘Hallelujah’ Coolidge Davis founded Yonge Street Mission to support and serve Torontonians experiencing poverty, by offering food and giving out Bibles from the back of a horse-pulled wagon which travelled up and down Yonge Street. 125 years later YSM is still here, responding to the needs of […]

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GIVE 6IX: Bystanders No More

GIVE 6IX: Bystanders No More

Written by Angie Peters, President & CEO of YSM 166 days before I was born, Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the pulpit in Riverside Church in New York City and said these words: “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of […]

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Power of a hug

Power of a hug

Evergreen Centre had just opened its doors for another day of providing essential supports and services to street-involved youth, when an unexpected visitor arrived. A large man, clearly agitated, began aggressively banging on the doors of the centre demanding food. Although he was older than youth served at Evergreen, YSM […]

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Sustainable innovation

Sustainable innovation

Sharon first interacted with YSM through fabric shopping at our Double Take thrift store while teaching teen girls in Regent Park sewing and how to create up-cycled crafts. Frequent return trips connected her with Kathy, Double Take’s then Manager, who commissioned Sharon to create a wall hanging for the store. […]

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A legacy of grace & goodness

A legacy of grace & goodness

In 1983 Rick was living in his beloved Atlantic Canada, with no intention of leaving. Yet, because of YSM’s persistent leadership, Rick agreed to move to Toronto and join the team as Director of the Evergreen Centre. Just two years later, Rick began to re-focus Evergreen to address the needs […]

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A Christmas to remember

A Christmas to remember

Every year, as the temperature drops and leaves begin to fall, community members, volunteers, donors and staff eagerly anticipate our annual Toy Market. It presents an opportunity for families to obtain high quality, meaningful gifts for their children and is a source of joy for all who encounter it! Thanks […]

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Community in action: 5-ing COVID-19

Community in action: 5-ing COVID-19

 5-ing COVID-19 was founded by David, a second year undergraduate in Medical Sciences. His student-led nonprofit aims to “go the extra mile” in support of front-line workers during the COVID pandemic. “When my research internship for medical school was postponed, I felt ‘silenced’ by the pandemic,” said David. “I talked […]

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Community in action: Project Northern Lights

Community in action: Project Northern Lights

Project Northern Lights  is a grassroots network stretching across Canada. Organized at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the group aims to develop and deliver open-source, community-based solutions to struggling Canadian communities. Their group includes volunteer makers, sewers, students, developers, artists, farmers, engineers, and health care professionals who came together […]

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HOPE for a second chance

HOPE for a second chance

“The HOPE program is going to help me have a foundation. I want to do better for my mom, but I also want to do better for me,” said Kevin, one of eight recent graduates of YSM’s HOPE (Helping Offenders on Probation Excel) program. “Everyone can say they love themselves, […]

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Connecting Passions to Employment

Connecting Passions to Employment

Lila* had been living in a shelter for 6 months after moving to Toronto. Working in restaurants when she could, Lila was looking for stable employment, “I needed a job – anything”, she says. “One day [when I went to the library to look for jobs] I saw YSM across […]

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#YSMRelay

#YSMRelay

Over recent months we’ve all seen increased instability within our communities. With fewer services available and many losing stable employment, YSM saw an influx of neighbours seeking healthy food to sustain themselves and their families. Pre-COVID, YSM’s Food Bank served about 600 people a week, but from March through August […]

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Taking Camp to the Kids

Taking Camp to the Kids

Since the beginning of YSM’s modified COVID service plan in March, YSM’s Tree of Life Homework Club staff had been connecting weekly with 41 children, and their families, all of whom were looking forward to a new camp experience this summer. With the city moving to stage 2 re-opening, and […]

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Medical First Responder Volunteers

Medical First Responder Volunteers

Since 1883, St. John Ambulance has been teaching first aid and CPR, as well as volunteering in communities across Canada. “This is what we do – we don’t only save lives, we change them”, says Elvis, Chief of St. John Ambulance Central Toronto. When YSM reached out for help, Elvis […]

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Camp is for Making Friends

Camp is for Making Friends

Over the past months, we have all experienced physical separation from our friends and communities. As summer ramped up and YSM summer camps began this year, with new precautions and procedures, kids were excited to see old friends and make new ones. New to YSM’s Computer Lab day camp, Lucy* […]

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Your support is strengthening families

Your support is strengthening families

Greg was heartbroken when, at birth, his son was taken into protective custody. Alone and unsupported, Greg tried his best to get his son back. “It didn’t look like I had a chance,” says Greg, “I knew I would have to work hard to beat the stereotype that comes with […]

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Sylvie’s story, volunteering at YSM

Sylvie’s story, volunteering at YSM

When Sylvie moved to Toronto in 2017 to study medicine, she wanted to find a place to volunteer. Having moved between various cities, volunteering was always a priority, as it helped her feel connected and settled in a new community. YSM’s Food Bank was a great fit – Sylvie soon […]

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Community connection through COVID-19

Community connection through COVID-19

Your support has been sustaining YSM through this challenging COVID-19 crisis. We cannot thank our generous donors enough for the ways you have reached out to support neighbours struggling with poverty. From notes of blessing and encouragement to financial gifts, donations of food and supplies to rallying the community online, […]

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Tele-counselling: supporting youth from a distance

Tele-counselling: supporting youth from a distance

“At the beginning [of COVID] it was really about safety. Do the youth we support have food, shelter, a home . . . are they safe?” says Nazreth, Counsellor / Registered Psychotherapist at YSM Evergreen Centre for Street Youth. Knowing the need for counselling was especially vital during this time, […]

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Responding to the need: supplying nutrition throughout the pandemic

Responding to the need: supplying nutrition throughout the pandemic

“I have never seen so much food in my life,” says Chris reflecting on the roughly 15,000 to 16,000 pounds of food which have gone through YSM each week since the beginning of our modified food services. As YSM’s Food Services Manager, Chris has been involved in the planning and […]

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Hope beneath the overpass

Hope beneath the overpass

When, in the fall of 2019, Dwight returned to work at YSM Evergreen Centre, there was a new vision to reach out to youth and individuals living under the Gardiner Expressway. “There are 50 – 70 people living in those areas [under the bridge and along the Lakeshore], I have […]

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Jacob’s Story, Volunteering in the Food Bank

Jacob’s Story, Volunteering in the Food Bank

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our city and our neighbours, YSM has been so grateful for your support in all the many ways you have been showing it: through messages of encouragement, funds, time, supplies and more. YSM has redistributed our staff to fill in gaps where volunteers […]

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Caring for the community’s pets

Caring for the community’s pets

When Mark isn’t in a taekwondo class with his children, he works as a veterinary keeping Toronto’s furry neighbours healthy and happy. Seeing a community need, Mark, in partnership with Community Veterinary Outreach, started a free, bi-monthly veterinary clinic at YSM back in 2011. “It’s amazing to see the gratitude […]

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Double Take Staff Member Samantha’s Story

Double Take Staff Member Samantha’s Story

Growing up in group homes, and without a stable family to rely on, Samantha struggled through her teenage years. When about to enter college, she learned she was pregnant and knew she needed to put off her education to find work. With no employment experience, it was a daunting task. […]

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Azan – “YSM has been a life-saver…”

Azan – “YSM has been a life-saver…”

“YSM is a life-saver for me. I wish that I had met them sooner. YSM is making a big difference in my life and the lives of my children.” For nearly two years, Azan* had been struggling to navigate systems he knew little about, in hopes of being reunited with […]

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Ismail – Building access to recreation for all

Ismail – Building access to recreation for all

In 2005, the City of Toronto began the Regent Park Revitalization Project to rebuild housing, support a vibrant community and create enjoyable spaces in the neighbourhood. A part of the early development was the Regent Park Aquatic Centre, offering recreational activities and classes. However, registration is mostly online and has […]

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