Announcing: Vital Youth Grantees 2018


Vital Youth supports charitable organizations in the city of Toronto that are working to increase access to high quality recreation activities for youth aged 12-18 years. Funding of up to $15,000 has been awarded to programs that meet the Vital Youth priorities with year-long grant activities that start as early as September 2018.
Recreation activities include sports, fitness, outdoor education, arts, and cultural activities.
Vital Youth priorities include:

  • Increasing Access: Enabling long-term participation by youth who might not have access due to cost or other barriers.
  • Encouraging Diversity: Providing inclusive programs and engaging various ethno-cultural communities to interact, play, and learn together.
  • Developing Leadership: Encouraging leadership, mentoring, and decision making by youth in program development and/or implementation, and/or providing opportunities for young people to gain paid employment.

There are 10 grantees, out of a total 75 applications.




Action Against Hunger Canada – Generation Nutrition

Action Against Hunger aims to mitigate the consequences of hunger, change stereotypes about hunger and address root causes. Generation Nutrition aims to improve access to healthy food and build lifelong food skills through outdoor and in-class activities, with students participating in urban agriculture workshops, in order to learn how to plant and grow produce in their own mobile garden boxes.

Art Starts – Own It

Through music, theatre, dance, and visual arts, Art Starts has helped to build a culture of respect and a shared sense of purpose amongst local residents and is a proven model for arts-based community development in Toronto. The Own It program will allow girls from under-resourced neighbourhoods to participate in self-directed arts-based workshops with female mentors, program facilitators, and artists leading each group through a design process in order to develop an artistic program relevant to their needs.

Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre (CONC) – 2SLGBTQ+ Junction Triangle Youth Performing Arts and Social Justice Program

CONC is a multi-service agency that provides essential and innovative services for vulnerable community members and has been delivering programming in partnership with local youth for almost 20 years. This program will encourage youth to come together weekly to connect, learn, and engage in a variety of activities related to the exploration of personal growth, activism, and leadership.

Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) – Girls E-Mentorship Program

GEM is a program for high-school girls facing multiple barriers, which equips them with the necessary skills and a diverse network of talented, vibrant women and girls to help them achieve their dreams. Girls are matched with women mentors based on their career aspirations, personality, and interests. These mentors support the girls as they navigate key issues in their lives, such as confidence building, stress management, and job seeking.

Jane/Finch Community Tennis Association (JFCTA) – After School Program

JFCTA provides educational and recreational programming to residents in the Jane/Finch area, prioritizing healthy living skill-development. The After School Program provides an opportunity for youth to develop confidence and connect to their community, while accessing high quality tennis programming. Youth also learn the necessary skills to become a tennis instructor, in order to boost their future employment opportunities. There is also time designated for homework support, peer mentorship activities, community leadership projects.

Lady Ballers Camp (LBC) – Sports Leadership and Empowerment for Girls

LBC develops programs centered around girls – focusing on equitable access –  that encourages non-competitive physical, emotional, and educational development through sport. Through this program, LBC delivers basketball skills development, and a training module to become a certified basketball coach. The program is rounded out with workshops focused on resilience, with topics such as self-esteem, wellbeing and nutrition, critical thinking, and community action.

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) – Rites of Passage

NCFST is a multi-service Indigenous agency that provides a holistic, culture-based approach to programs and services that provide a life of quality and healing for Indigenous families in the Greater Toronto Area. The Rites of Passage Project will build the cultural knowledge of urban Indigenous youth by providing them with a unique opportunity to participate in on-the-land programs at Glen Rouge Park, including week-long sessions focused on community building. Youth will be guided through activities grounded in cultural teachings and ceremonies and geared to their personal journeys, designed to help them explore their place in the historically significant land around the Rouge Valley. Activities will include fire keeping, naming, sweat lodge ceremony, and drum making.

Sistema Toronto Academy – Production, Media and Leadership Program

Sistema Toronto is an intensive social program transforming the lives of children in Toronto’s vulnerable communities through ensemble-based music and intellectual opportunities. The Production, Media and Leadership Program targets youth as they age out of regular programming and prepare to transition to high school. The program covers the full range of basic concert promotion and production skills, while teaching leadership skills, in a hands-on environment.

The Neighbourhood Group (TNG) – Kick Start Crew

TNG is a multi-service organization that creates opportunities to help people live independently with dignity in their community. TNG serves seniors, vulnerable children and youth, newcomers, people who are homeless or precariously housed, and people with mental health challenges. Kick Start Crew is an after-school program that runs three nights a week. The program includes hands-on healthy cooking sessions, Youth Council meetings, and youth-planned or peer-led workshops and outings throughout the year.

The Peer Project – Boys Empowerment (BE) Program

The Peer Project supports at-risk youth, by matching them with fully trained peer mentors. Mentors provide guidance, specialized support, and a positive role model. The Peer Project supports youth with mental health issues, learning disabilities, and other complex challenges. The BE Program is designed for self-identified boys who will meet to participate in group discussions and recreational/arts-based activities.  The program aims to empower the youth by increasing self-esteem, leadership skills, self-awareness, and empathy by addressing issues such as mental health, bullying, anger and stress management, and nutrition.