Banner Image

Programs In Need Of Support

Together with generous donors like you, the YMCA of Greater Toronto works to meet urgent needs so more people in our region can lead healthy, happy lives. You can make a life-changing difference in your local community by investing in an area that’s meaningful to you.

Programs that help people reach their true potential

Below, you’ll find a selection of our giving opportunities. We would love to discuss personalized options that align with your passions and interest, as well as the ways we celebrate and recognize our donors. Please don't hesitate to reach out to Renee Beneteau, Vice President of Philanthropy, at 647-981-1309 or Renee.Beneteau@YMCAGTA.ORG.

three teens on the sidewalk

Give a lifeline for youth experiencing homelessness

older man at home with yoga mat

Help older adults get active and connect with their community

girl in helmet rock climbing

Build up the next generation of leaders with transformative camp experiences

six youth walk down the sidewalk

Help youth facing barriers build skills for lifelong success

Give a lifeline for youth experiencing homelessness

1,700 to 7,000 youth experience homelessness in Toronto. 66% don’t have a high school diploma and 77% are unemployed.

You can give them a warm meal, safe place to sleep, and wraparound supports to get them on track towards a healthy adulthood at The Wagner Green YMCA (formerly the Vanauley Street YMCA) or YMCA Sprott House.
What is YMCA Sprott House and The Wagner Green YMCA?

YMCA Sprott House is one of the first transitional housing programs for 2SLGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness in Canada. Up to 25 youth rely on YMCA Sprott House for shelter and support as they work to build brighter futures for themselves.

The Wagner Green YMCA is an 11,400 square-foot emergency shelter and drop-in centre for youth who are street involved or precariously housed. It serves Queen West and Spadina community, where the need for support services is high.

Who do YMCA shelters help?

Last year, 14,525 youth found shelter, education and job opportunities, and mental health supports at the Y.

YMCA Sprott House provides one year of supported residential living for up to 25 2SLGBTQ+ young people between the ages of 16 to 24.

"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, resident at YMCA Sprott House

The Wagner Green YMCA is a diverse and 2SLGBTQ+ positive space available to young men age 16–24. Gender is self-identified.

“I was lost and without a roof over my head. I found the Wagner Green 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, resident at The Wagner Green YMCA

Why it matters

Your support means youth at risk 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

Help older adults get active and connect with their community

66% of Canadian adults aged 50+ felt isolated at least some of the time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of our strategic plan for 2020–2025, we’re committed to creating new programs for and building communities among older adults.

What is The Bright Spot?

The Bright Spot is one way we’re working to provide opportunities for physical activity and social connections. In this free online community, older adults can meet new people in small virtual clubs, join exercise classes, participate in meditation and mindfulness tutorials, and more.

Who does The Bright Spot help?

Everyone of all ages is welcome to join this inclusive community, but it’s been developed with the needs and wants of older adults in mind. The Bright Spot was launched in the spring of 2020 in the midst of lockdowns and strict physical distancing measures that our older community members told us had left them feeling lonely and isolated.

"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

Physical distancing underscored the fundamentally human need for connection and its powerful effects on well-being. Barriers ranging from mobility challenges to poverty and discrimination can make it difficult for some older adults to participate fully in their communities.

The Bright Spot is one way we’re responding. With your support, older adults can fill their days with engaging activities, new connections, and a sense of community.

Build up the next generation of leaders with transformative camp experiences

Many GTA youth experience unemployment, low academic achievement, inactivity, and a weak sense of belonging in their community.

At two incredible camping and outdoor education sites – YMCA Camp Pine Crest and YMCA Cedar Glen – youth get to participate in programs and activities designed to build confidence, teach leadership and teamwork skills, help them realize their true potential, and grow their understanding and appreciation of nature.

What is YMCA Camp Pine Crest?

With its 650 acres of beautiful Muskoka wilderness, YMCA Camp Pine Crest has been a treasured destination for campers since 1910. Traditional overnight camps and multi-week leadership development camps help immerse youth in nature, teaching them to unplug from the technology that's dominated their lives even more than usual during the pandemic.

Through white water canoeing, high ropes, rock climbing, sailing, and more, youth push out of their comfort zones, get active, and learn about environmental stewardship and minimal impact camping.

Who does YMCA Camp Pine Crest help?
  • YMCA Camp Pine Crest welcomes nearly 7,000 participants each year.
  • Our traditional overnight campers are between the ages of 6 and 15.
Why it matters

According to our research, YMCA Pine Crest campers show:

  • Increased leadership capacities
  • Improved self-efficacy
  • Deeper social ties
  • Healthier habits
  • A greater understanding of the importance of environmental stewardship
What is YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre?

This four-season YMCA is located on 263 beautiful, biodiverse acres of the Oak Ridges Moraine in York Region. Youth can attend:

  • Day camp, where they build self-esteem and healthy, lasting friendships through activities including swimming, archery, survival skills activities, and field sports.
  • Leadership programs, where they develop the skills to become employed, including as a future YMCA camp counsellor.
  • Farm camp, where youth learn about growing, harvesting, cooking, and preserving food, all with hands-on experience on our on-side organic farm. We also have an apiary where young people learn about pollinators and why protecting them is so critical.
Who does YMCA Cedar Glen help?

Youth receive financial assistance to attend Cedar Glen if needed, and are often referred by related Y programs, for example our shelters programs for youth who are homeless, 2SLGBT+ transitional housing, youth employment programs, and youth groups for newcomers and refugees.

"The YMCA Day Camp Leadership Program had a huge impact on my life, helping me get out of my shell and discover the person I want to be and the future I want to have.”
–Savana Malek, former YMCA day camp participant and camp counsellor, who is currently pursuing a career teaching art to children as a result of her experience at Cedar Glen

Why it matters

Our research shows:

  • 93% of youth in our leadership program at YMCA Cedar Glen made new friends
  • 74% felt a strong sense of belonging
  • Many said their leadership skills, independence, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills improved

Help youth facing barriers get involved in their community and build skills for lifelong success

The Ontario Medical Association warns that youth are now suffering from "social malnutrition," starved for quality time with their friends, family, and classmates in the aftermath of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.

YMCA Youth Leadership Development (YLD) programs help nourish young people’s physical, mental, and social well-being during a crisis that continues to threaten both.

What is YLD?

This long-running YMCA program was designed for newcomer, refugee, and Canadian-born youth between 11 and 18 years old. Participants receive free one-on-one advisor support and attend a free, structured group program every week. They build confidence, a network of friends and adult allies, and a sense of community and belonging.

Programming helps youth build the skills they need to succeed in school, work, and life, and includes:

  • Team-building exercises
  • Professional skills development
  • Community service and volunteerism
  • Recreation and sports activities
  • Civic engagement activities such as voter information sessions and mock elections
  • Paid internships
  • Youth leadership camp weekends

Newcomer and refugee group participants enjoy the same activities, with an additional focus on creating a positive settlement and leadership development experience. This is done with activities that support youth in making social connections, help them participate in Canadian society through recreation and volunteer opportunities, boost their confidence in speaking English, and help them apply for jobs.

Who does YLD help?

Youth in YMCA programs typically describe their household income as low or low to middle. 38% were not born in Canada. Our newcomer and refugee participants are especially diverse, self-identifying as Filipino, South Asian, Black, West Asian, Syrian, and other ethnicities.

“Learning about my sexuality wasn’t the easiest for me. But at the Y, I didn’t feel ashamed; it was a welcoming space. Now I want to empower other youth and create change."
—Keion Bisnath, YMCA Youth Leadership Development program participant

Why it matters

Our surveys show:

  • 88% of youth gain leadership skills through YLD
  • 82% build teamwork skills
  • 75% build self-efficacy
  • Participants volunteer more; are more motivated to go on to postsecondary education; and feel more confident that they know how to search for a job.

Among our Newcomer Youth Leadership Development participants:

  • 94% felt a strong sense of community belonging after being involved
  • 85% had more confidence communicating
  • 68% were more confident leading others
Banner Image

Giving has a brilliance all its own

You can make a life-changing difference in your local community. To discuss personalized giving opportunities, please contact Renee Beneteau, Vice President of Philanthropy, at 647-981-1309 or Renee.Beneteau@YMCAGTA.ORG.

We use strictly necessary, performance, functional, and marketing cookies to ensure our website runs smoothly, enhance your browsing experience, and present you with personalised content. By clicking “Accept All”, you consent to our use of such cookies. You can change your preferences by clicking “Show Options”, or at any time via the “Cookie Consent” link at the bottom of each page.

Strictly necessary and performance cookies

Strictly necessary cookies are required for the website to function properly, while performance cookies enable us to record and optimise our website performance without storing your personal data. These cookies cannot be turned off.

  • Marketing cookies are placed by us and third-party partners to help deliver more relevant content and offers to you, based on your interests.

  • Functional cookies allow us to remember your choices (such as your choice of country and language preference) when you return to our website and app.