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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The York Youth Coalition would like to acknowledge every frontline worker who has been committed to working with young people in the Weston Mount Dennis (WDM) Area. The Coalition would also like to thank the City of Toronto for funding the coalition; Social Planning Toronto for overseeing the funding and supporting the coalition and staff; all partners/members of the coalition for their dedication; the supporting managers and supervisors; the residents and youth who have contributed their time, thoughts and feelings in the focus group sessions; and all the volunteers who have given their time to make this coalition and the work successful.


Partnership Committee Members:

York Youth Coalition Members 2009-2011

• Zannalyn Robest, Chair, Resident

Staff: Shadya Yasin, Network Coordinator

• Robyn Forster, Yorktown Family Services

Executive Members:

• Rayon Brown, St.Albans Boys and Girls Club • Erica Pena, Equitable Education Initiative

• Cutty Duncan, Chair, Action for Neighbourhood Change

• Khalid Samuels, For Youth Initiative

• Melody Brown, City of Toronto

• Isaac Fonseca, COSTI Immigrant Services

• Stayce Grant, Toronto Community Housing • Michael Campbell, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation • Whitney Pyper, Youth Employment Services • Mounia Hanzazi, Toronto Public Library • Rayon Brown, Boys and Girls Club • Khalid Samuels, For Youth Initiative • Lennox Cadore, Urban Arts • Orville Wallace, Jewish Vocational Service • Robyn Forster, Yorktown Family Services Employment Committee Members: • Michael Campbell, Chair, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation

• Juan Alvarez, Learning Enrichment Foundation Capacity Building Committee Members: • Paulina O’Kieffe, Chair • Derick Asante, Yorktown Family Services • Tanya Wilson, Learning Enrichment Foundation • Benjamin de Graaf, Yorktown Family Services West-Won Community Festival Team: 1. Youth Action Group: Ayana Francis, Joy Simone-Brown, Shauntal Chambers-Cadore, Fatma Yasin 2. Residents: Hugh Showa, Dwayne James, Sojica John 3. Staff: Lisa Thomas, Yorktown Family Services; Cutty Duncan, Action for Neighbourhood Change

• Glen Hylton, Toronto Employment and Social Services • Marlene Levy, COSTI Immigrant Services • Whitney Pyper, Youth Employment Services • Cutty Duncan, Action for Neighbourhood Change • Jean-Marie Boutot, Learning Enrichment Foundation Outreach/Event Committee Members: • Lisa Thomas, Chair, Yorktown Family Services • Scott McCauley, Youth Employment Services • Sharon Bennett, Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre • Benjamin de Graaf, Yorktown Family Services

Graphic Design services provided by Fatma Yasin.

TABLE OF CONTENT Introduction 06–07 Our History


How we’re organized (2009–2011)


Our accomplishments


Strategic planning (2011–2013)


Vision for the future (2012–2013)


Conclusion 30–31



INTRODUCTION Over the past 2 years the York Youth Coalition (YYC) has experience significant growth and progress. The YYC has moved from a loosely structured group of front line youth workers meeting monthly in Toronto’s Weston-Mount Dennis area into a much more organized and deliberate group of community stakeholders working together in strengthening opportunities for youth in the area. The origin of our recent progress can be found with three important developments.

• 2009: The YYC was successful in securing a Social Development and Investment Program (SDIP) grant from the City of Toronto to help strengthen the coalition’s structure and to help coordinate, where possible, the services of YYC participating youth service providers. • 2010 : The YYC was able to hire a Coordinator for the YYC activities and help ensure the YYC continued to work together in strengthening its structure, governance and the ability of YYC participating agencies and organizations to improve the programs and services offered to local youth while working as a community to improve local conditions for youth and families. • 2010: The Social Planning Toronto came on board as a Trustee for the SDIP funds from the City of Toronto. Social Planning Toronto has since then provided much appreciated mentorship and guidance to the YYC and has also worked in partnership in conducting local youth education research. With some financial resources now available to the YYC, we were able to revisit how we worked and responded to community needs as a coalition of youth servicing agencies and organizations. It is a well know fact that the Weston-Mount Dennis Area is one of the most severely underserviced neighbourhoods in Toronto. For this reason, coalition members felt it was extremely important that we get in right in how we go about our work in the community as many youth and families depend on our success. The need for improving how we worked together as a coalition had been identified as a priority from the very beginning of our work, but what coalition members saw emerging issue was need for opportunities for youth and residents to take a direct and significant part in renewing and improving their community. Coalition recognized that agencies and organizations indeed have an important role to play in improving conditions for young people locally, but so do the young people themselves, parents, neighbours, teachers, and other community players. In fact it takes us all working together to be successful, and it is with this acknowledgement and challenge that we took to reorganizing and restructuring how YYC works with the aim of providing a more inclusive and collaborative local response to community needs. Our hope is that this document, which an accumulation of two years work, discussion and collaboration, provides a framework and another step in moving forward and improving conditions locally as a community. Cutty Duncan, Chair York Youth Coalition








The Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force, a joint project of the United Way of Greater Toronto and the City of Toronto, with the support of the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, released a report in June 2005, “A Call to Action” a long-term, multipronged solutions for stronger neighbourhoods in Toronto. The City of Toronto identified thirteen priority neighbourhoods across the City as neighbourhoods that would require the formation of Neighbourhood Action Teams (NATs). The purpose of the NATs is to support integrated City service planning and delivery from a neighbourhood perspective. Neighbourhood Action Teams (NATs), are composed primarily of City of Toronto staff, and community agencies and service providers (Source: Communities Committee Report: CC:2006-16). In the fall of 2006 the York Youth Coalition was formed; it was comprised of over 17+ youth serving agencies, working in the “former City of York” and was supported by the City of Toronto Neighbourhood Action Team (NAT). Currently, NAT has transformed, becoming the Neighbourhood Action Plan (NAP) and the coalition is composed of 17+ youth serving agencies. Part of our mandate is to coordinate, collaborate and partner as a collective, while providing support and services to youth.

Current logo

Previous logo

We believe that youth need to be involved in after-school evening programming. York South Weston has a higher number of children/youth living in poverty when compared to the City of Toronto, as well as higher numbers of youth involved in criminal activity; there is a strong correlation between racialized youth and the lack of opportunities in mainstream society. Vision: Improvements in the quality of life of youth residing in the ‘former City of York” by placing emphasis on building assets and capacities, prevention, physical and mental health, leadership development, education, employment, and community involvement. Mandate: • Advocate for racialized and ethno-cultural youth living in the “former City of York” to have access to relevant services and supports as and when needed. • Identify, strategize, and assist with the start-up of new programs grounded in an anti-oppression framework. • Work with partner agencies and organizations to enhance programs and services currently being delivered. • Ensure that cultural sensitivity and appropriateness is embedded and practiced for all cultural, sub-cultural and faith groups within the communities that the YYC serves. • Keep community groups up-to-date and informed regarding any relevant issues, while developing partnerships and communication strategies for youth-led service integration. 9


ORGANIZED 2009–2011



Decision making: 1. 50% of the attending members plus 1 carries the vote at YYC meetings 2. Each attend member agency has only one vote per ‘agency’ (organization) 3. York Youth Coalition members will come from agencies/organizations, youth, residents and government departments (City/Prov./Fed). 4. One voting privilege will be given to designated youth from a members will be participate at YYC through an organized group recognized by the York Youth Coalition. Youth representation will come from a recognized youth council. Resident representation will come from a recognized resident council. Voting: 5. The YYC Executive membership must be in good standing to vote 6. ‘Good Standing’ means that Executive members must not miss more than three consecutive executive meetings. Governance: 1. The York Youth Coalition will be co-chaired. One co-chair will be a youth. 2. The YYC Executive group will be comprised of a Secretary, Communications Officer, and Treasurer along with Co-chairs.




3. The executive committee will be comprised of 12 members representing youth agencies, organizations, residents and youth. (Note: currently the YYC Executive is comprised of youth workers representing the local youth serving organizations. Transitioning to a more comprehensive leadership group will be the work of the in the months to come.)

1. The YYC will employ a committee structure to conduct YYC projects and initiatives. 2. The YYC will establish the following committees: • Events • Outreach • Employment

4. The YYC will have a youth designate as a member of the Executive. 5. Prospective Executive members must attend a minimum of three consecutive meetings before they can participate as Executive members.

• Partnerships • Youth Council Support (Capacity Building) 3. One YYC Executive member must participate as a member of each standing committees.

6. Executive members will approve all group members at Executive team meetings.

Our Committees

7. The duration of an Executive group membership will be reviewed annually, but as it stands, Executive members participate no less than 1 year as an Executive group member.

York Youth Coalition has established a number of committee to maximize on the resources of YYC member organizations, youth and community residents. Committee work takes place in the former City of York

HOW WE ORGANIZED (2009–2011)


Outreach/Events Capacity Building Employment Partnership

Executive Committee

Network & Update General Meeting

Capacity Building Emerging Issues



and utilizes a community development approach whereby youth, residents and local organizations work together to improve youth programs and services, identify service gaps, provide new services, as necessary, and foster leadership development and civic engagement in local young people. Committees are open to all for public participation. All YYC committees require youth, residents and organization participation. Youth 13-24 years, adults/ parents, and community stakeholders such as social/ community service organizations are encouraged to participate. Outreach/Event The outreach/event works to strengthen the reach of YYC, ensuring that the public and members are well informed of YYC activities, events and projects (i.e. Youth Expo, Black History month event, etc.).

partnerships with the TCDSB and TDSB as an example or some corporate ventures. Employment Weston Mount Dennis youth are faced with lack of employment opportunities within their area of residence and the City. The committee works on creating employment opportunities for youth residing in Mount Dennis Greater Area (i.e. employment training, job fairs etc.). Capacity Building (Youth and Residents) The capacity building committee assists youth and residents in developing skills, increasing access to resources, and developing project/program ventures.

Partnership The partnership committee works on various ways of accessing resources to benefit the Weston Mount Dennis Greater Area. This may take a form of creating


Syme Woolner





ACCOMPLISHMENTS Secured Staffing for Three Years The coordinator for the York Youth Coalition’s youth service provider network was hired. Since the hiring, the coordinator has worked on the first draft of the Terms of Reference and YYC Membership Guidelines (1st draft). YYC coordinator was able to outreach and recruit youth to participate in the youth advisory group. The youth advisory has now been re-engaged and meetings occur regularly on weekends. YYC has launched subcommittees to support YYC agencies that are working together strategically. Online Communications Implemented (website & e-newsletter) By the end of 2010, YYC was able to launch a website: The site is being used to update members on local and city-wide youth issues and YYC updates. The YYC e-newsletter has a growing list serve that currently goes out regularly to over 600 contacts as “York Youth Coalition – Youth Blast”. The e-newsletter is an extension of the website that provides weekly community updates on youth programming, events, resources and city-wide initiatives. 14

Three Research Partnerships (Education, Anti-Poverty, and Concept Mapping) Youth Confidence in Learning and the Future is the title of a research project led by the Canadian Education Association, in partnership with Social Planning Toronto and YYC. It examines young people’s experience with the education system in Toronto. Similar projects are underway in Hamilton, Halton, Peterborough and Sudbury. Surveys were conducted in two Toronto District School Board (TDSB) high schools in the Weston Mount Dennis area. The work continues with focus groups in schools and with community organizations. The research findings will be presented in Winter Forum, planned by YYC. Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL) is a partnership between the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, Social Planning Toronto, ANC Mount Dennis and YYC. This is a city wide research project that has multiple phases, we have just finished the first phase of the project. There were three residents and one youth who participated in conducting interviews locally on engagement/disengagement in community organizing. The residents


and youth were able to participate in the June 7th and 8th 2011 APCOL Conference, where results from the surveys were shared. The residents and youth are currently working on the second phase of the research which includes: 1. conducting research with an economic development team; 2.

organizing with local residents to report findings to their peers.

The Concept Mapping research initiative is a partnership between the City of Toronto, United Way of Greater Toronto, the Hospital for Sick Children, St. Michaels Hospital, Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF), Yorktown Family Services, York Youth Coalition, and Unison. The goal of the research is to implement intervention(s) to improve the well-being of youth in the Weston-Mount Dennis neighbourhood and surrounding area. The research had numerous focus group sessions to brainstorm and sort themes on service gaps and youth needs in the neighbourhood. The findings will be published in a report in the coming new-year. YYC Youth Job Fair (local) YYC members have been actively engaged in committee work. The employment committee organized a Youth Job Fair on February 10th, 2010, attended by more than 300 youth. Prior to the job fair, the committee organized numerous workshops such as food handling, CPR, resume and job readiness sessions that provided more opportunities for youth on attaining employment. Archbishop Romero Virtual Youth Hub Partnership and other Education-based Initiatives The Partnership Committee has been continuing the work on building a stronger partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) through the Youth Connect Initiative at Archbishop Romero Secondary School. Archbishop Romero fall and summer programming was led by four YYC Agency members, which has increased service delivery to isolated and marginalized youth. On May 19th, 2011 YYC partnered up with Education Attainment West (EAW), Assets Coming Together for Youth (ACT), and Social Planning Toronto (SPT) in delivering The Pulse of Education Conference. The conference took place at the Black Creek Pioneer Village that had youth, city members, TDSB and TCDSB teachers and staff. There were more than 200 attendees. The community-led conference aimed to create an equitable space for youth to share their realities and insights on innovative ways of attaining education, while enrolled in the education system. In School and Community Outreach Events The Outreach/Events committee has created opportunities for YYC members to work collaboratively by hosting numerous collaborative events, such as School Outreaching Days and Community Agency Fairs. The committee has brought the coalition from 13 youth servicing agencies to 17 youth servicing agencies now working collaboratively in the coalition.


West-Won Community Festival and Emerging Youth Council On August 20th, 2011 the Outreach/Events committee and the YYC Youth advisory committee, working in collaboration with ANC Mount Dennis residents, organized the annual West-Won Community Festival that was attended by more than 400 people. The youth have been vibrant contributors in the organizing of the festival. They will continue to work closely with the outreach/ events committee in planning for the coming year. The YYC youth council is growing. There have been numerous youth-based focus groups discussing neighbour-hood priorities that the outcomes from the focus groups have worked on guiding YYC organization members on the needs of the community. City of Toronto acknowledges YYC in Scroll ceremony In the 2010 City of Toronto elections, YYC participated in raising awareness on importance of voting to youth and residents of Weston Mount Dennis area. YYC conducted a couple of workshops with Operation Black Vote on Immigration and Citizenship and another session on youth voting. After the elections, YYC was recognized for its efforts on the City of Toronto’s Youth Vote campaign. YYC received a Scroll from the City of Toronto on April, 2011. YYC General Meetings The York Youth Coalition monthly general meetings have been a success in bringing service providers together to network, share resources and learn. The YYC general meeting is usually on the second Wednesday of every month from 10am-12pm. The first hour of the meeting is usually a presentation by a guest speaker/s and the second hour is the community updates and networking session. We have had numerous guests such as: Lesley Johnston from SPT, Roberto Abeabe from UWGT, Claudia Williams from OIPRD, Staff Sergent Gery from TAVIS, Neemarie Alam, Jenny Katz and Clarissa Chandler from FPYN and David Cho from F.A.M.E. Workshops YYC in partnership with Black Vote organized two information session workshops on Immigration and Citizenship, followed by youth knowing their rights to vote. Other workshops were on Mental Health that were facilitated by Opening Doors project from CMHA. CMHA has a series of 8 sessions that frontline workers in the coalition are very much interested in continuing with the sessions. In the coming new year we will be continuing with the sessions on mental health theme. We were also fortunate to have an international partnership with Girls For Change, USA. YYC was able to host Girls For Change in the West-end of the city in partnership with Rathburn Area Youth (RAY) whereby the session was attended by 70 young women from all over the West-end.





The York Youth Coalition (YYC) strategic planning session was comprised of two full day sessions. The first session took place on April 7th, 2011. The session was for both youth and residents that was facilitated by Garland Yates. On April 13th, 2011 the second session engaged YYC organization members that had frontline workers and some manager’s participation. This first session of was based on focus activities questionnaires and to engage residents and youth on the direction and priorities that would steer the coalition’s activities. The service providers’ strategic planning session used the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis to engage frontline workers and managers. In addition, an asset mapping exercise was conducted to find out what already exists and what was missing in order to identify how to use the coalition strategically to best support youth and residents in Weston-Mount Dennis area. Further, the SWOT analysis was used as a tool to outline the coalition’s direction and priorities for decision making, allocation of resources, collaboration and commitment building. In brief, both sessions were successful and the results identified a number of opportunities. As many organizations in the Weston- Mount Dennis (WDM) Area have faced recent funding cutbacks, it was evident that the coalition’s presence was needed because the organizations flourished through the network activities. There is a resounding need for the coalition that encompasses youth, residents and service providers to advocate for youth to create impactful change in the community. Sharing of resources, building authentic partnerships and authentically engaging residents and youth were identified as key directions for the coalition can take action in the coming years. FOCUS GROUP: RESIDENT & YOUTH YYC tries to work very close with residents and youth as mandated in the terms of reference. The inclusion of resident and youth voices was very important to the strategic planning process. Garland Yates, an internationally acclaimed consultant who has worked with the United Way on resident engagement initiatives across the City, led the YYC resident and youth strategic planning session. With the support from United Way, Social Planning Toronto and the City of Toronto, the session had more than 25 participants. Methodology Garland Yates facilitated the session by posing a series of questions to the resident and youth participants. The following are questions and responses to the questions from the focus group sessions.


Youth encouragement Helping working young single mothers Volunteering

Easy access to supermarkets (No Frills, create employment) Agencies employ local residents Community empowerment Skills to empower youth More police presence Mentors Word of mouth, posters to engage residents Networking – billboards Centre to teach youth parental skills


Identity issues and address


Community centre

Community activities e.g. barbecues, etc.

Community gardening, summer camps


Skills and training

Community outreach, communication and engagement

Committees lacking

Dancing Studying Meeting spaces for socializing, planning More speakers who can understand and relate to youth issues More workshops on life skills Conflict management/resolution more often than 1 x a year Financial management Knowledge, learning More employment for youth

cussing, name calling, fighting) no structure

Studying (space wise)

Support (lack of )

Expensive tutors

Provision of volunteers

Recruiters outside of school

More computers, resources, etc.

More advertisement (flyers, send emails,

not everyone has connections)


More activities

Peer-on-peer violence (teachers not doing anything,

Share our stories, motivations

and networking with friends

Passing on information, connecting

it back to the community, peers

Taking what we are learning and bringing

How can we support each other to be successful? What unique contribution must each of us make?

Conducting weekly seminars

More political and civic engagement


What outreach and engagement strategies would make you/us feel full energized and engaged in the YYC?


Community cohesiveness

What is the biggest challenge in engaging other residents that, if addressed through the YYC, could make the greatest difference in the future of the neighbourhood?

Youth mentoring

Income generating projects




SWOT FOR ORGANIZATIONS In brief, the organizations were asked to share their own agency’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). SWOT for organizations is based on the perceptions and opinions of the YYC participating members. Strengths • Organizations strengths are based on the services they directly provide to youth and residents in the area. • Organizations are successful in providing services to assist clients with their personal/professional goals; finding employment opportunities for unemployed youth/residents with less than grade 12 education. • Afterschool/out of school youth serving agencies/organizations providing capacity building for youth staff and resources; social media, networking to youth; employing young people from community, transitional support from childhood to adolescence, high quality programs for children and youth; language specific assistance provided to different ethnic groups of newcomers • Advocating for and providing positive space for LGBTQ Youth, outreaching to youth and schools, partnering with schools • Newcomer youth programming: arts, field trips, English conversation clubs, homework support, youth space; newcomer services and connection to resources; mental health supports, diverse staff, youth focussed; wellstructured and publicized programs (ESL for newcomer children etc.); space for co-sponsored programs; gaming equipment, free resources; online resources for academic success; computer classes; employment opportunities. • Organizations using the Community Health Centre approach to health (preventative and proactive, therapeutic); counselling, etc. Challenges • A challenge on youth not being aware or involved in agency opportunities; difficulty attracting youth to programs • High success of youth referrals but limited ability to focus on long term programming • Outreach and marketing capacity • Bureaucracy • Few youth workers; gap in general youth programming-newcomer specific; • Funding and staff cuts • Quality of program space • For new and emerging organizations/initiatives there are challenges and a need for support in governance and branding • Frontline workers do not feel valued as outreach workers and are overworked in some organizations where one person has to wear multiple hats that lead to burn-out



Opportunities • An opportunity in working collaboratively as much as possible • There are opportunities in increasing areas of advocacy on youth issues (youth, policing and education); turning program participants into advocates • Development of youth based mini-hub spaces • Youth engagement programming and creating opportunity to know youth needs • Create an opportunity to provide more meaningful and intentional supports/ programming; employment; internships; scholarships; resident engagement; and introducing leadership programs across the city Threats • Cutback on funding • Small staff teams and high staff turnover • Lack of branding and maintaining sustainable relationship with youth and community members • Potential closures of spaces and programming due to permits, funding and red-tape


ASSET MAPPING Ac ce ss Ac All tio ian n Bo Ne e ig ys & h bo Ca Gir ur l re ho er s C od u F Ci b Ch ty oun an of da ge tio C i To ro ty n nt of Co To o ro m nt CO un o Pa ST ity A rks I Ed Imm ctio and uc ig n R Re c r e Eq tion a t s u rea Se ui rc t i o A ta tta e rv C n b i or le E inm ces ent re Yo du en t u c ou th I a io We st n r V n it I Ho illag iativ nit at ri z es e iv o e Co Je ns fo mm ish r Y u Le Vo out nity He rn cat h io al i na th No ng Ce rth Enr l Se nt r c hm vic re R Yo es -in k C n t om te F g S m oun a al tion un a an ty H tion Sy Pla d m nn Re ous i n To Wo g T dem e o o n lne ron on to To t C Se o rv nt m m ice Un P u un iso bl y ic Ho n/ L U T ba he ibr usin H n r g b y Yo A rt s rk ow Yo n un C g il Yo a n d a ut d P d h ot am e m pl ntia oy l m Fat e tre en h tS r er s v ce s


Services/Resources The organizations represented have participated in YYC activities. The information does not represent all Weston Mount Dennis organizations. Recreation Drop-in Sports recreation(Basketball/soccer leagues/Professional training) Sports recreation (leisure/agency programming) Arts Dance Music Film, Photography, Graphic Poetry and Drama After School Programs/Drop-in(Youth) Drop-in Structured (General) Homework help Settlement Services/Programs ESL classes for newcomer Settlement Advocacy for newcomer Newcomer youth services Education workshop/Labour market readiness Transition/Interpretation Services Health(Nutrition/Clinical etc) Clinical services Mental Health Counselling on trauma and walk-in Cognitive behavioural therapy Speech and Language Employment Employment for out of school youth/residents Employment Admin Support Job leads/community posting space Work with a counsellor/job developer Employment related financial support Apprenticeship Legal Aid/Housing Prevention/Intervention Legal aid clinics Gang Prevention Reintegration Services Housing Assistance Gender Based Programs/Services Young Women’s Program LGBTQ Father’s Program Women’s Shelter Family and children’s programs Kindergarten outreach Story-time for families Summer Camps Tax Clinics for low income families Support for young families Early Years Engagement/Outreach Resident engagement Youth Engagement Youth/Resident Resource Centre Youth Outreach Education/ Youth Programming(Life skills/mentoring etc) Peer Mentoring Peer Outreach Programs Intergenerational Programs Scholarship Youth Programs Youth Council Literacy Services Multilingual collection/services Gaming Events Academic Support Space Community/Resident space Community garden space & initiative
















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YYC FINDINGS The SWOT analysis was used to evaluate YYC’s activities for 2010-2011. YYC members were asked to write anonymously on sticky notes and post them on labeled chart paper (titled: YYC Strength, YYC Weakness, YYC Opportunity, YYC Threats) that were placed on the walls around the room. The SWOT analysis became a stepping stone in sorting and finalizing the YYC priorities and work plan. The following table elaborates on what were named as YYC strengths and identified challenges. SWOT ANALYSIS FINDINGS Strength

Networking with youth agencies Inclusive, welcoming, networking opportunities Information sharing Agency updates (current programs for youth) Networking and bringing people together Group of numerous youth based partners working together Capacity building Connection to community Tenant engagement Access to space Networking Creative leadership development for youth Developing a sustainable funding model Coalition approach




No asset mapping of programs Lack of consistency Getting information out before deadline YYC not connecting to youth directly Some committees not succeeding as planned Diverse and conflicting interests More information about YYC needs to reach community partners Strength in numbers when approaching funders Ability to change and take different shapes Working with all partners to learn what is available in community Lack of consistent membership Increasing red tape Timelines Funding for the coalition vs community partners

FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS YYC members were asked to state three priorities that YYC should focus on accomplishing in 2012-2013. There were two groups that had discussions and rated their top three priorities that they felt were most important and needed to be accomplished in the coming year.

1. Asset mapping 2. YYC brand experience 3. Network to be separated/differentiated with coalition/committee work to create an advocacy arm; more youth involvement 4. Build recognition in community RECOMMENDATIONS 2012-2013 will focus on building the priorities identified in the strategic planning session as follows:

1. Increase youth activities and leadership in YYC (Youth council, committee work) 2. Improve collaboration on local priorities (community development committee) 3. Improve the YYC Network (Service providers and community stakeholders) 4. Secure financial sustainability for the York Youth Coalition 5. Enhance the profile and awareness of YYC activities 6. Improve YYC’s ability to work more directly on implementing key recommendations (staffing, volunteers, resources)






RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Increase youth activities and leadership in YYC (Youth council, committee work) 2. Improve collaboration on local priorities (community development committee) 3. Improve the YYC Network (Service providers and community stakeholders) 4. Secure financial sustainability for the York Youth Coalition 5. Enhance the profile and awareness of YYC activities 6. Improve YYC’s ability to work more directly on implementing key recommendations (staffing, volunteers, resources) HOW WE ORGANIZE MOVING FORWARD (2012–2013) Our strategy moving forward is to re-structure YYC operations to follow through on recommendations. Given the priorities identified at the strategic planning session, the executive committee had to re-examine the YYC structure. The governance of the coalition will stay the same as before the only changes are based on the members that will be making the YYC Executive. The following chart demonstrates the changes followed by the descriptions of each component.

Outreach/Events Action

Committees Youth Council

Executive Committee


Capacity Building Employment Partnership

Sustainability Communication Network & Update


General Meeting

Capacity Building Emerging Issues





The YYC Executive will reflect the priorities and current recommendations identified from the strategic planning results.The executive is the YYC governing body that meets every three months. The executive committee will be compiled of a non-voting YYC staff member, five agency voting members, three voting ally(city-wide supporters) members, and four voting residents(two youth, two adults).

YYC Community Development will conduct advocacy work for the network. It was evident to many YYC members that the YYC committee work had to be separate from the network, yet still stay connected. The committee work will fall under the YYC Community Development whereby individuals from four major committees will be represented.


The YYC Community Development will have an Advisory Council that will be composed of three local Agency members, three allies, and four residents (two youth, two residents). The Council will provide advice and support the YYC staff on committee advocacy work.

The Network will encompass of all YYC Agency/ organization members. The sole purpose of the network is to create space for community updates, networking opportunities for frontline workers, support COMMITTEES mechanisms/capacity building opportunities for frontline workers, youth and residents in the area, and to Outreach/Event: The outreach/event works to strengthen the reach of YYC, ensuring that the public deal with emerging community/sectoral issues. and members are well informed of YYC activities, events The Network will have an Advisory Council that will be and projects (i.e. Youth Expo, Black History month event, etc.). composed of five agency members that will support the

YYC staff in organizing themes/training for the monthly Partnership: The partnership committee works on YYC General meetings and any emerging issues. various ways of accessing resources to benefit the Weston Mount Dennis Greater Area. This may take a form of STAFF & RESOURCES creating partnerships with the TCDSB and TDSB as an The Staff will be in charge of making sure all example or some corporate ventures. components of YYC structure function well. The YYC Employment: Weston Mount Dennis youth are faced staff work under the YYC Executive, as the governing with a lack of employment opportunities within their body. area of residence and City-wide. The committee works The staff will be in charge of the following: finding ways on creating employment opportunities for youth to make the YYC sustainable; building a youth council; residing in Mount Dennis Greater Area (i.e. policy development, communication, strategic planning; employment training, job fairs etc.). key events such as the Black History Month event, Youth Award, forums, and service provider teambuilding sessions. The staff will play an active role in committee work by providing resources and support to committee members. The staff will continue maintaining the website updates and weekly YOUTHBLAST (e-newsletter). The staff will continue organizing the monthly workshop/ information sessions for youth, residents and frontline workers as requested from YYC general meetings. The staff will continue organizing presentations and coordinating the YYC General meetings as requested by the Network.

Capacity Building (Youth and Residents): The capacity building committee will assist youth and residents in developing skills, increasing access to resources, and developing project/program ventures. These are existing committees that have been approved by the YYC Executive, there is also a potential to grow and transform to meet the needs and expectations of youth and youth servicing agencies.




Objectives (Specific, measurable statements of what you want to accomplish by a given point in time.)

Activities (What the project is going to do, including timelines for activities.)

Implementation of workplan goals Develop sustainability strategy for Network and integration into NAP Develop sustainable youth advisory Complete final report/recommendations

1st Quarter

Continue with YYC activities Continue support youth advisory Become active NAP participants Continue to engage youth and their families in creating new initiatives and opportunities in partnerships

2nd Quarter

Continued Capacity training for youth organizational development and sustainability

3rd Quarter

Continued Capacity training for youth organizational development and sustainability

4th Quarter

Facilitate inter-community youth summit Project final report



Outputs (Statement of the short-term results – the direct output of project activities.)


Increase volunteerism amongst youth Increase inter-community collaboration on events/initiatives Increase community awareness of youth issues/groups/initiatives Increase representation of youth on other local partnership networks

(your achievements up to date)(Use your project workplan and update your activities and output by the time that you report)

Impacts (Statement of the long-term results of the project, both qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (numerical).

Increase awareness of youth-led events Increase service delivery to isolated and marginalized youth Increase participation of YYC members in collaborative events and initiatives Youth voice at NAP Increase capacity of YYC Increase in youth employment opportunities and initiatives Youth voice at NAP Decrease in youth crime Increase in youth participation in crisis safety protocols Organized and planned response to crisis in WMD




CONCLUSION The youth and residents have given their honest feedback and suggestions as to how one should organize, engage and serve them; and with this in mind, the coalition has a lot of exciting and challenging work ahead. What we have learned throughout the process is that the wider community wants and needs to be a partner in improving local conditions for youth and improving their neighbourhoods. As a wider coalition of service providers and community stakeholders, we now need to listen to these suggestions and begin to create strategies as to how we (as a coalition/individual agencies) can consistently deliver on these suggestions. We must also be reminded that the work cannot be accomplished in isolation if we are to be successful. And, although the nature of the service sector funding can easily pit one agency versus the other, no one agency, organization or individual can get the job done alone. Collaborative initiatives and strategic partnerships must be at the centre of our work as the financial resources to effectively service the youth & family sector become increasingly scarce, while our youth population continues to be ever more diverse, complex and harder to reach. This YYC Strategic planning exercise has given us an opportunity to set realistic and achievable priorities while laying out clear next steps with recommendations that should ensure a well structured and positioned coalition. As such, we would not only be able to affect change in the former former City of York but also have wider impact city-wide. Our recommendations support a strategy for the YYC to listen, to engage, to work together effectively and to be proactive as conditions change on the ground. As a decrease in financial resources available to our sector becomes more of a reality, working together and sticking to a plan becomes even more important in these times of change and tighter budgets. It’s quite fair to say, then, that our success depends to a large extent on how well we work together, share resources and knowledge, follow through on our recommendations and stay focused as a coalition on the development of the YYC Network,YYC Community Development, and core activities. If we are to predict the coalition’s future success based on the past and present commitment we see from our members\organizations, youth, residents and partners at the city, then there is no doubt the York Youth Coalition will successfully achieve its vision for the future. Cutty Duncan Chair, York Youth Coalition





York Youth Coalition Strategic Planning  

Report on YYC 2011-2013