Youth Homelessness Awareness & Prevention

Interactive presentations supporting:

Student Success | Safe Schools | Equity & Inclusive Education

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Many young people struggle alone with complex issues. On average, youth under pressure start considering leaving home at the age of 12 and leave by 15.[1] They run to the street where they can encounter people who exploit them, as they struggle to survive.

Our presentations explain risks and rights to youth in a clear, thorough way. We often meet kids who didn’t know the pain they are feeling at home or at school is a normal reaction to a terrible, unacceptable situation…and we assure them that help is available.” – Suzie, School Presentation Supervisor

Our kids in shelter tell us they wish they had known the dangers of the street and the options that were available to them. We offer students current and comprehensive information and link them to resources in their local communities.

We also foster empathy and social justice by teaching students about the plight of their homeless peers, as well as ways to fundraise and advocate for them. We encourage young people to help themselves and each other.

Our in-school presentations have reached over 382,000 students since 1987. About 30,000 students participate in our Youth Homelessness Awareness & Prevention presentations annually. We believe that this program has stopped many youth from running to the street and our testimonials support this.

My students have been hearing both Before You Run in Grade 10 and Reality Check in Grade 12 for several years and I think it is a fantastic way to bookend their high school experience. The material is relevant and extremely informative." – Chaplain, Jean Vanier CHS, Richmond Hill

Before You Run (Grades 6 - 12)

Customized, age-appropriate presentation covers a broad range of youth risks and issues. Explains how the circumstances that lead young people to the street are as varied as the youth themselves. Discusses how the experiences of family breakdown, abuse, mental health, bullying, drugs and stress can act as contributing factors to youth homelessness.

The presentation includes a video featuring Covenant House youth relating their real-life experiences in a non-threatening way.

Students are given information and resources to help them make better choices. We also encourage them to access help in their local communities.

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Phenomenal! Both the material and the delivery were excellent! This presentation was much more than youth homelessness. Bullying, abuse, drugs, alcohol and more were all covered in an interesting and informative way! I am so glad that we decided to have this presentation for our students." – Guidance Counsellor, Sir Alexander Mackenzie SPS, Toronto

Reality Check (Grades 6 –12)

Customized, age-appropriate presentation deglamourizes street life and discusses the struggle homeless youth face--how they're driven to steal, sell drugs or worse, often trading their dignity to survive. Students participate in an activity that highlights the hardship of living independently, without family support, education or a career.

Includes a video featuring Covenant House youth describing the challenges of living on the street and what they did to overcome them.

Students are encouraged to be future leaders, to volunteer in their communities, to speak out, give back and pay it forward. We also provide local resources where youth can get help or get involved.

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Dynamic, culturally-sensitive, genuine, charismatic and fact-based. The best and most informative presentation I have seen yet. Every school in the GTA should see this presentation." – Child & Youth Worker, Monsignor Fraser CSS, Toronto

Toronto District School Board Director of Education Donna Quan (left) and Chair of Trustees Shaun Chen with Suzie Tarlattini, our school presentation supervisor.

Contact us

Book a presentation for your school now

For information, contact:

Youth Homelessness Awareness & Prevention Program
Covenant House Toronto
(416) 735-1388 or (416) 735-1389

[1] 101 Things You Need To Know About Youth Homelessness, St. Thomas University, NB, 2006.

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