Youth Exchange Canada: Toronto – Day Two


 
On a very rainy Sunday morning we met the exchange group at their hotel and went to Spadina station to do some icebreaker games. Then we went on a scavenger hunt on the TTC. We had to find things about the TTC with the kids from New Brunswick. We started at Spadina station then we had to go to the different subway stations. Some of the subway stations were on line 1 and some were on line 2. We had to end at a food court in the underground path where we had to wait for the last teams to arrive. Rein’s team was victorious and received Spadina station buttons as a prize.

After lunch we walked to the Rogers centre to see a Blue Jays Game. Many of our visitors were excited for the game, including some who had never who had never been to a baseball game before. We all sat together in the 200 level outfield section. Some people bought Blue Jays clothing and lots of snacks for the game. It wasn’t always an exciting game, but it was fun to hang out with everybody.

After the game we came back to the school and a delicious meal prepared by parents was waiting for us. We ate in different classrooms and got to know each other better. After dinner some students chose to play basketball in the gym and others stayed at the school and hung out. This was the first full day of the exchange week and despite the weather it was a lot of fun!

By Bailey and Alex

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

Youth Exchange Canada: Toronto – Day One

YMCA Academy students with the exchange group on Day 1
 
On our first day of the YMCA Youth Exchange a small group of our students went to go and greet the exchange students from New Brunswick who had just landed after their flight. We guided them on the TTC from their hotel to one of our exchange student’s neighbourhood where we had a feast at the local community center. Each student’s family had to contribute at least one dish to the feast, and those dishes ranged from pasta salad all the way to mini pulled pork sandwiches.

Before the feast started we introduced our new guests to a brief history of Toronto, which included the Indigenous history, and what the city was used for in the past. We then introduced them with a traditional Indigenous song and drumming. We then had Pauline Shirt, a Native elder who lives in Toronto, welcome all of the guests.

After that was finished we all ate the food brought by the parents, and then socialized with each other to get to know each other. Some teachers led the group back to the hotel and we said goodbye, before we met the next day.

By Phoenix

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.