Healthy Kids

Olympian partners with the Y to inspire students to shine!

06 June 2023 - by YMCA of Greater Toronto

You may recognize Sarah Wells from the 2012 Olympic Games where she competed in the Women’s 400m Hurdles. Maybe you know her from the 2015 Pan American Games where she took home a silver medal. Or perhaps you watched Sarah and her partner Sam Effah come in second on the seventh season of Amazing Race Canada in 2019. Whether you know Sarah already or this is your introduction to an incredible athlete, one thing is for sure — she is an inspiration.

Sarah believes that setting goals, even if you fall slightly short, is worth it. Sometimes setbacks can tell us as much about ourselves as successes. Sarah feels that “hard work doesn’t always lead to success but being resilient and getting back up will always lead to another opportunity.”

Sarah Wells presents on stage in front of a photo of her jumping a hurdle and next to the word "Believe" in lights.

A new partner

Sarah wants the youth of today to take care of themselves: physically, mentally and emotionally and she has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Toronto to share her message.

“We are thrilled to partner with Sarah Wells and the Believe Initiative to promote proactive wellness and inspire youth to prioritize their mental well-being,” says Medhat Mahdy, President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Toronto. “At the Y, we believe in creating a supportive and inclusive environment where young people can be themselves and build the confidence to reach their full potential.”

The Believe Tour

In total, Sarah and the amazing team at the Y visited six schools all across the GTA from Scarborough and Toronto to Brampton and North York. Together, they were able to inspire over 3000 youth to take action and let their potential shine at the Y. If you know a young person that is looking for a place to work, hang out, lead or give back, the Y has the perfect program, including:

Work at the Y: Did you know the YMCA of Greater Toronto has been recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People? The Y is a great place to work for people just starting their careers with opportunities for seasoned professionals too. Whether you are looking for seasonal employment or something long-term, the Y has the job you’ve been looking for. View our current employment opportunities.

Youth Exchanges: Have you ever thought about exploring another region of Canada, meeting new people, learning Canada’s official languages and exploring Canada’s cultural diversity? The YMCA, through the support of Canadian Heritage, currently offers two exchange programs: Youth Exchanges Canada & the YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange program.

Teen Nights: Teen nights offer safe spaces where teens can be themselves. At Teen Nights, you can play sports, join a dance group, go for a swim, work out in the weight room, take a music or art class, or just hang out with your friends. Teen Night is 100% free — you don't need a YMCA membership to participate. Just bring a piece of photo ID to get your complimentary Teen Nights access card. Find a Teen Nights location near you.

Youth Leadership Programs: Develop your leadership potential today. The YMCA Youth Leadership Program will help you develop your leadership potential and provide you with opportunities to learn, grow and make contacts. If you’re new to Canada, then the Newcomer Youth Leadership Development Program (NYLD) is ideal for you!

Health and Fitness Options:Joining the Y is more than joining a gym. Our members help one another grow, lead and give back so we can all shine brighter, together. Get unlimited access to group fitness classes, state-of-the-art conditioning rooms, swimming pools, recreational sports, online fitness and more.

Sarah Wells poses with Sherry Perez holding her silver medal.Sarah Wells and Tyra Daniels sit on a stage, smiling.

To learn more about Sarah Wells and her Believe Initiative, visit her website at


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