YMCA Youth Exchange Silent Auction

On Thursday March 28th, 2019 the YMCA Academy hosted a silent auction to help raise funds for the Youth Exchange program. Parents and community members/organizations graciously donated a wide variety of items which drew lots of people over to our auction. We had tons of books, shoes, pottery, gift cards, appliances, and 3 bikes!

We raised over $2500 which will significantly help us create an amazing experience for the exchange group. 14 youth and their leaders will be visiting from Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick and we have planned a full week of activities.

Thank you to all of our donors for making this event a great success!

  • Everyday Bikes
  • Massage Addict, The Beaches
  • A Good Sleep
  • Mud Makers Studio
  • ARTAX Taxation for artists
  • The Monarch Tea Co.
  • Tiffany Clare, Author
  • Ampersand Inc.
  • Penguin Random House
  • House of Anansi / Groundwood
  • KidsCan Books
  • bella wella
  • And thanks to our community of parents for their many generous donations!

    Ending Homelessness – One Youth At a Time

     

    Students and staff from the YMCA Academy once again braved the cold to help support Youth Without Shelter.

    On Friday, February 1st, 25 students and staff participated in the 9th annual Time4Change (formerly Tokens4Change) fundraising event. The money raised goes to providing youth access to transit and empowering support programs at Youth Without Shelter, an emergency residence and referral agency in Etobicoke. Transit fare allows youth to attend school, seek a safe place to call home, find employment and new beginnings.

    In January, the entire school participated in a workshop led by Youth Without Shelter, that educated students on the important programs they provide and why it is such a need in Toronto.This led many students to sign up and through the event gain deeper understanding through learning. Our students had the opportunity to teach commuters about the issue of homelessness and be engaged in powerful discussions. One youth was approached by a woman currently living in shelter who thanked them for their efforts. Another person commended us as they had volunteered at this event before and knew how challenging it is. Some passersby were impressed with our chants and enthusiasm, while others donated so that we would be quiet! Either way we were able to educate the public and bring in lots of donations, big and small, which helped make the event a success.

    This year’s Time4Change event saw almost 600 volunteers canvassing at 27 locations. The grand total raised in just one day was $88,000!

    Thank you to everyone who participated and donated to this great cause!

    Students participate in the Shoebox Project!

    This holiday season the YMCA Academy community came together to support woman impacted by homelessness by creating gift-filled shoeboxes. Students first learned about homelessness in Canada and then brainstormed what gifts women would want and need. Each advisory group decorated a shoebox, wrote a card with an inspiring message, and filled their box with thoughtful gifts to make a woman feel special.

    The Shoebox Project for Women operates throughout Canada and the United States, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to women in need. In Toronto the shoeboxes are distributed to women accessing a variety of services such as the YMCA Women’s Shelter, CAMH, Native Women’s Resource Centre, Covenant House etc. The aim of the project is to remind women that they have not been forgotten and that they are a valued and respected member of their community.

    This project aligns with the YMCA’s core values and provided many benefits for our students including:

    • helping them to dissect the complex issues surrounding poverty and homelessness, particularly as they relate to women;
    • teaching them to challenge stigmas and stereotypes;
    • fostering empathy and understanding;
    • promoting community engagement and volunteerism.

    It was great to hear students asking thoughtful questions about homelessness and to see them taking time to draw pictures and write kind words for their shoebox recipient. Through this project we have supported women in need, but also supported our students to be more engaged citizens.

    We had so many generous gift donations that we were able to create an extra box (so 11 in total!) and make a donation of additional items to a shelter. So, thank you to everyone who helped make this project a success and we hope to make this an annual tradition.

    Visiting the Toronto Humane Society

    The YMCA Academy aims to develop programming based on students’ interests and needs. Among our students there are currently lots of animal lovers and many interested in pursuing animal related careers. This lead staff to plan a trip to the Toronto Humane Society so students could find out more about the possibilities that lie ahead.

    All three Learning Strategies classes came together for this trip based on the curriculum link to career exploration. Students learned about how the Humane Society helps care for homeless animals and were led on a tour of the facility. They got to meet lots of adorable cats, dogs, and small pets and were excited to learn their names, take pictures and interact with them from the other side of the glass. Students also had a chance for some up close animal visits inside the education center where puppies were brought in to play.

    The primary objective of the trip was for students to learn about animal related careers and how they might one day get to work with animals. We heard from two Humane Society employees, a dog trainer and the manager of shelter care, about their jobs and how they got where they are. They told us that to do their jobs it takes a love of animals, a lot of dedication, and strong people skills. One important take home point for the students was that related experience, for example volunteering or dog walking, is really valuable when trying to get an animal care job. This information points many students towards the next step in a pathway to their dream job.

    Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

    Cooking Club Bake Sale!

    This past December the Cooking Club ran its first Bake Sale and it was a great success! Students in the club, which is an after-school program aimed at learning valuable cooking skills and healthy eating, helped to plan and run this event. They prepared dry soup mixes for the sale (which were a big hit!) and made lots of goodies, including many batches of their special protein balls. The wider Academy community very generously donated everything from cookies, cupcakes and squares to homemade dog biscuits and holiday gifts. The fully stocked tables were set up outside the gym entrance and Academy students, YMCA staff and many hungry gym members came by to support our cause.

    Students from Cooking Club signed up for shifts to help sell our products and explain our club and school philosophy of experiential learning. They were responsible for proper food handling and making change for customers.

    We had set a goal of raising $1000, an amount which would cover the costs of running the Cooking Club for one whole school year. When all the money in our cash register had been counted we had almost $1200!! So, a big thank you to all those who supported this event! Stay tuned to the Academy’s Instagram account to see the healthy and delicious recipes that Cooking Club is able to continue to make.