Youth in Transition
When kids are experiencing a period of transition in their lives, they need extra support. Our innovative Youth in Transition (YIT) program is designed to help kids in the community cope with a major change in their lives. The program was created to serve youth that are resistant to accessing services in an agency setting.
Life changes can be devastating for a kid who already has serious
struggles and little support. Transitions may include aging out of
Children’s Aid Society care, moving out of a shelter, going back to
school, moving to Toronto from a small town or another country, becoming
a parent or grieving a loss.
Our YIT workers help these young people to find housing, jobs or education programs and deal with everyday challenges. Because many of these youth have been involved with child welfare, some of our workers specialize in helping youth leaving "care" achieve greater success.
Our YIT workers meet with youth regularly, often in the youth’s home, a coffee shop or another agency. These community meetings are convenient, personal and outside of an agency setting, which makes the youth feel valued and secure. We make sure our kids know that they are not facing their challenges alone and we are here to help.
We are there for these kids to provide support and guidance with housing, school, employment and whatever the youth identifies as a need. We will accompany youth to their appointments, whether it is with their landlord, addictions or mental health counsellor, school counsellor, Ontario Works representative or lawyer. We will even support a youth by being present when they meet with a family member.
Building local support networks
We counsel youth and teach life skills, such as cooking, navigating the transit system or controlling emotional reactions. When we visit youth in their neighbourhoods, we orient them to resources available to them. We introduce them to their food bank and the other local agencies that provide support. We make sure they know where to find the local laundromat, discount grocery store or pharmacy. We also explore hobbies and social groups with them. Joining a youth group, basketball team or a pottery class can help kids feel more fulfilled and connected to their community. These supports are vital to their successful transition to independence.
Our youth have tremendous responsibility thrust upon them that is often beyond their ability to fulfill. They lack knowledge of their rights and are sometimes dismissed or overlooked by agencies and professionals. Many of our kids struggle with learning disabilities or mental health issues, and they lack family support. They are expected to negotiate their place in an adult world much earlier than most kids, yet they have far fewer resources. The kids who are referred to the YIT program often struggle to meet expectations. The non-judgmental, customized and intensive support of this program is sometimes the one last lifeline for kids who have run out of options.
Through this program, I am able to show kids that they are capable of accomplishing things. Since I am meeting them in the community, I can reinforce positive behaviours as they are happening and help point them in the right direction if needed.”
– Tyler, YIT Worker
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