Canadian Olympian Sarah Wells Teams Up With YMCA of Greater Toronto to Promote Proactive Youth Wellness During Mental Health Awareness Month

25 May 2023

Canadian Olympian Sarah Wells Teams Up With YMCA of Greater Toronto to Promote Proactive Youth Wellness During Mental Health Awareness Month

Sarah Wells and YMCA of Greater Toronto host high school tour to spark discussion around youth well-being and employment opportunities

Toronto – May 25, 2023 - Canadian Olympian and Founder of the Believe Initiative, Sarah Wells, is teaming up with the YMCA of Greater Toronto to host a limited-edition YMCA Believe tour in the Greater Toronto Area this month. In line with Mental Health Awareness Month, Sarah and the Y will engage with youth to raise awareness of the importance of prioritizing well-being, making an impact on the community and taking action.

The YMCA Believe tour is another way the YMCA of Greater Toronto is stepping up to support youth in the community and shine a light on potential hurdles and a path towards accomplishments. The tour will take place from May 26 to June 2, and aims to educate high school students on the resources available at the Y and beyond – like its employment services, health and fitness and leadership and mentorship programs – while also helping youth engage with their community and inspire proactive wellness.

The tour will also highlight Sarah’s story when she faced mental health challenges and a slump after competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in 400 metres hurdles and the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015. Through a keynote discussion and Q&A, the YMCA Believe tour will share the power of resilience and self-belief through action.

“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 YMCA of Greater Toronto offers a variety of programs and services to support youth well-being including various job opportunities, Teen Night™, youth exchange programs, Health & Fitness classes, YMCA Ignite and youth leadership and mentorship programs. The partnership with Sarah Wells and the Believe Initiative is just another way the Y is reaching new communities and helping youth reach their full potential.

“We often talk about mental health in terms of reactive strategies, but it's important to prioritize proactive wellness. Taking action towards our goals not only builds resilience but also provides a sense of purpose and meaning, which are crucial for mental well-being,” says Sarah Wells, Canadian Olympian and Founder of the Believe Initiative. “I'm excited to be partnering with the YMCA of Greater Toronto to promote proactive wellness and inspire students to believe in themselves and their potential.”

The Believe Initiative has already reached over 150,000 students at over 500 different schools across North America. In partnership with the Y, Sarah is able to reach even more students and offer them insight into overcoming challenges and pursuing their dreams. With the Y, youth can take what they’ve learned and implement proactive wellness through services and programs like YMCA Ignite, a portal to help teens develop their career path, Teen Night™, a weekly drop-in for teens to get involved with their community, job opportunities and more.

“I was diagnosed with scoliosis and brittle bones as a toddler, and hearing Sarah speak about the challenges she faced really inspired me,” said one student who attended a Believe Initiative event. “When it comes to physical activity, I am a little behind everyone else, but Sarah’s story taught me to believe in myself. Now, I know I can overcome whatever challenges that I may face.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Y, visit If you would like to learn more about the Believe Initiative visit

About Believe Initiative Founder Sarah Wells

Sarah is a Canadian Olympic hurdler, Founder of the Believe Initiative, Pan Am silver medalist, and Amazing Race Canada finalist (just to name a few things). Sarah’s reputation was built through overcoming challenges and achieving the “impossible”. Before finding the sport of track and field, Sarah was cut from every high school team she tried out for. It was thanks to a teacher who suggested she try running, and believed in Sarah before she ever believed in herself. That teacher became her coach, and together they made the Olympics just a decade later. Sarah recognizes not everyone is going to have that “teacher” or person in their lives, who believes in them, so the Believe Initiative was created in 2017 to be that person for as many people as possible.

About the YMCA of Greater Toronto

The YMCA of Greater Toronto is a charity that ignites the potential in people, helping them grow, lead and give back to their communities. For 170 years, the YMCA of Greater Toronto has provided opportunities for people to shine through a variety of programs and services including health and fitness, licensed child care, camps, employment and immigrant services, education and training, and services for youth, families and seniors. Promoting equity and boosting well-being across more than 440 locations in the Greater Toronto Area, the Y is a leading charity that helps everyone shine. For more information visit

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