Give hope for a brighter future

Your donation helps people persevere through the pandemic and rebuild stronger in its wake.
Thanks to supporters like you, our YMCA can continue providing:

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities.

Whether it gives shelter to homeless youth, empowers a new Canadian, or unlocks a teen's leadership potential, your gift helps build a brighter future for all of us.

Read on for a closer look at the ways you can help make a difference in your community, or contact us directly to learn about the many ways you can give to the Y: giving@ymcagta.org or (647) 960-1109.

A closer look at the impact you can make in your community

Scared homeless youth
 

Give a homeless teen a warm meal and safe place to sleep

Vulnerable youth can’t stay safe at home. You can give them shelter — and wraparound supports to help them build brighter futures — at The Wagner Green YMCA (formerly Vanauley Street YMCA) and YMCA Sprott House.

YMCA Sprott House is a safe, inclusive home for 2SLGBTQ+ youth transitioning from homelessness.

Vanauley Street YMCA is a shelter and drop-in centre for street-involved and precariously-housed youth.

"Sprott House saved me from homelessness. It’s a place where I could be myself and comfortable with my orientation. The staff have been a massive help for me emotionally and socially."

—Gabriel, Sprott House resident

“I was lost and without a roof over my head. I found the Vanauley St. YMCA, and since then, the staff have helped me apply for college as well as getting my benefits working. Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt okay and relaxed. You have made me feel at home.”

—Justin, Vanauley Street resident

Your support means at-risk youth like Gabriel and Justin can access wraparound supports including:

  • Employment, education, and mental health counseling and referrals to our community partners
  • Help navigating medical, legal, and government services
  • Support finding stable housing, returning to education, finding employment, and developing financial literacy
  • Substance use and harm reduction support

Extend a vital lifeline to our city’s most vulnerable youth.
Help give them an inclusive place where they have a chance to set themselves up for a brighter future.

food drive
 

Help feed families and students in need

While growing numbers of people cannot afford to eat, over 40% of food banks have had to close. Through food drives, meal prep programs, and partnerships with our communities, Y supporters are helping address the food insecurity that's been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“On a weekly basis now, I visit two teens living in an apartment in Brampton. You have helped me deliver hope, care, kindness, and compassion to these youth who needed all of those things. So, thank you for the fruit and the bread and the milk. But thank you the most for allowing me to partner with you to make our community stronger.”

—Vice Principal who uses the Peel Student Nutrition program operating out of a YMCA Child Care centre to bring food to students in need.

  • Together with our partners, the Y has provided over 1 million meals to students who would otherwise go hungry.
  • Y supporters have donated almost 25,000 pounds of non-perishables for local food banks through our Drive-Thru Food Drives.
  • Every week, our staff at Metro Hall prepare 1,000 individual meals for our long-time partner Second Harvest.
  • In partnership with the Mississauga Food Bank, Daily Bread Food Bank, and North York Harvest Food Bank, we’ve opened four “YMCA Pantry pop-ups,” redeploying our centres and our staff so we can operate as emergency food banks.
  • YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre has been redeployed as a food storage and sorting facility, with Y staff packaging food for the Food Bank of York Region.

Bring nutritious meals to people who need them most.
Join our community of Y supporters so we can continue delivering our food security programs.

Children in Child Care
 

Put parents at ease

Many people — including essential workers — can't do their jobs from home. During the pandemic, over 500 children received free YMCA Emergency Child Care while their parents worked on the frontlines.

“As essential workers, having someone to take care of what we cherish most, our children, was a huge load off our shoulders. We felt we could go face our work with confidence that the girls were being cared for emotionally, were being entertained, taught, and given a safe space. They have both thrived at the Y.”

—Parents who used YMCA Emergency Child Care.

Why it matters

COVID-19 kicked off a “she-cession,” potentially setting women back decades in terms of their ability to bring their talents and expertise to our workforce. One barrier is that child care responsibilities continue to fall disproportionately to women. As the largest not-for-profit child care provider in Canada, we know how critical this service is for our economic recovery.

Throughout the pandemic, we've been caring for the children of essential workers — nurses, doctors, police, firefighters, personal support workers, grocery store staff, and so many more. Moving forward, we’ll continue our 50-year-long legacy of delivering and advocating for more high-quality, affordable child care, so more families who need and want it have this option available to them.

When you give to the Y, you ensure our charity can continue serving neighbourhoods across the GTA through the pandemic and beyond.

mom working with daughter
 

Spark opportunity for someone who lost their job

COVID-19 has led to unprecedented layoffs, EI applications, and financial struggle for many. 9,349 people have relied on YMCA Employment Services to help them find new work opportunities during the pandemic.

“I used to be a freelance artist working at schools and doing shows in the community. When the pandemic hit, I had to rely on CERB and eventually, I was no longer eligible. I turned to the Y and found a career counselor who really understood my situation and, most importantly, understood me as an individual. She believed in me when I felt like no one else did — not even myself."

"Within 48 hours, the Y Employment team had helped me find an opportunity, and I got the job in less than a week. I can honestly say the YMCA gave the greatest support I could have asked for and helped me make a new and better life for myself."

—Akeem, former participant in Y Employment Services who is now employed!

When you give to the Y, you ensure our charity can continue serving neighbourhoods across the GTA through the pandemic and beyond.

older couple outside
 

Brighten a lonely senior's day

Isolation is peaking among older adults, who are doing their best to protect themselves with some of the strictest physical distancing measures of us all. On our new online community, The Bright Spot, they can meet new people, exercise, enjoy their favourite activities, and try some new ones.

"I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be a part of your group. Me and my daughter have been doing your online group fitness videos together all winter long, all through the COVID restrictions. And we continue to do so still. When we first began, it was just remarkable that we could be together and exercise, since she lives in Toronto and I’m in Winnipeg. Leslie and I normally spend a lot of time together, we travel together, we visit each other, and we’re back and forth between Toronto and Winnipeg a lot and we were really missing being together. You’ve certainly filled a gap for us and we’re forever grateful. I want to thank you all very much!"

—Gwen, Bright Spot participant

Why it matters

Since the start of the pandemic, we've been keeping in touch with our older community members over the phone, and they’ve shone a light on several things they need and want. They told us they’re having a hard time getting groceries, connecting with friends and loved ones, and maintaining routines like walking that they usually rely on to stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

The Bright Spot is our response. This online community offers everything from exercise classes and small online group discussions to trivia nights and mindfulness tutorials. By adding a little structure and a ton of fun to seniors’ days, we want to make their “new normal” feel a whole lot more comfortable.

Spark a connection. Your support means older adults can fill their days with engaging activities, new connections, and a sense of community.

Scared homeless youth
 

Welcome a newcomer and ease their transition to life in Canada

Settling in a new country is challenging enough without a pandemic. Some newcomers are adjusting to an entirely new language and culture, while others have fled war, violence, and other challenges as refugees. At the Y, they find the support they need to start building a brighter future.

“All my worries washed away as I walked into YMCA Immigrant Services. The staff were very friendly, which made me feel relaxed and comfortable. I was encouraged to sign up for the Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program, which is an eight-week class that helps immigrants strengthen their English.

But it taught me so much more than words. I learned about Canadian customs, behaviours, and rules — key things people need to know to succeed with a job search and, eventually, at work.

The program also includes a six-week volunteer placement, which I completed at a secondary school doing administrative work. This position expanded my network and connections in Toronto. It also gave me Canadian experience to add to my resume.

I am very grateful for all of the YMCA’s support in helping me improve my language skills and gain volunteer experience.

— Nazanin, YMCA Immigrant Services participant

Opportunities you can help open for newcomers

YMCA Immigrant Services are available online and in person, free of charge, to make sure new Canadians can find work, get education and training, improve their language skills, access legal and social services, learn about their new community, and find belonging.

Younger immigrants join our Newcomer Youth Leadership Development program to build a network of new friends and adult allies. Team-building exercises, practice speaking English, professional skills development, volunteerism, sports and rec activities, leadership conferences, internships, and so much more help them build skills for a brighter future.

When you give to the Y, you ensure our charity can continue serving neighbourhoods across the GTA through the pandemic and beyond.

YMCA of Greater Toronto Area 2020. All rights reserved.

Charitable registration number 11930 7080 RR0001