About Youth Assisting Youth

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Who we are

Youth Assisting Youth is dedicated to investing in the leaders of tomorrow and transforming the lives of at-risk and newcomer youth through the power of mentorship. For over 40 years, we’ve paired volunteer young adult mentors aged 16-29, with youth ages 6-15 to engage in activities aimed to develop mind, body, character, and leadership skills. Our charity connects volunteers to enriched mentorship experiences that profoundly impact the most vulnerable youth and their families in communities across the Greater Toronto and York Region.  


Mentors needed


Active Mentors & Mentees


Success Rate


Founding Year

What we do matters

When you’re young, your friends have a big influence on you. They have a lot of say in what music and clothing you like, the activities you do, and the choices you make. By harnessing the power of friendship, peer mentoring helps encourage healthy lifestyles for kids who need guidance and a helping hand.

We are a Toronto and York Region non-profit providing youth mentorship programs that enable young mentors who want to transform lives. They stand-up as role models, activity partners, friends, and help their mentees realize their full potential. Our volunteer mentors also go through their own transformations, developing leadership and social skills to become outstanding professionals and members of their communities.

Since 1976, we have developed our youth mentorship program from helping over 30,000 kids. Our evidence-based, customized program uniquely recruits, assesses, and matches youth based on personality, interests, and location. We take the time to get the match right. We also provide on-going training, 24-hour support for our mentors, and organize monthly activities to bring our matches together.

What we do works

Our peer mentoring program works. Our kids do better in school, they stay out of trouble, they turn around to give back to their communities, and many come back to be Youth Assisting Youth mentors themselves. There are many youth charities out there, but few carry over 40 years of proven successes.

We have a 98% percent success rate of keeping kids out of the criminal justice system and in school. But even with our successes, our need for volunteers and support is still great. We have over 400 kids waiting to be matched with a mentor, and we need your help.

Our Programs

Peer-To-Peer Mentoring

Peer mentors age 16-29 act as positive role models to help at-risk and newcomer kids age 6-15 reach their full potential.

Girls-Only Group Mentoring

Girls (mainly newcomer girls) receive mentoring over 10 weeks based on their needs, ranging from support for emotional wellbeing to self-defense.

Clicks and Stones

An educator (and mother of a cyber-bullied child) goes to classrooms of grade 7 and 8s to educate and fight cyber bullying.

Saddle-Up For Success

Newcomer and at-risk kids get out of the city and visit a horse farm to learn how to ride horses and connect with nature.

Mental-Health Training

Mentors receive training on mental health to understand and help their mentees develop a healthy lifestyle and positive outlook.

Learning Disabilities Training

Mentors are trained to understand their mentee’s unique way of learning and help them succeed in school.

Where We Operate

Why We Are Different?

Peer mentoring leads to a more transformative experience than adult mentoring

We help children that other mentoring programs don’t

We offer expertise to help kids with mental-health diagnoses

We conduct in-home assesxsents for every mentor and mentee

We offer extensive training for volunteers

We provide 24/7 emergency support

We run dedicated activities at free or low-cost

Our average mentoring match lasts for five years

Where Does The Money Go?


1994 City of Toronto Safe City Award

2000 Diana Princess of Wales Foundation

2001 Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award

2003 Ministry of Citizenship Outstanding Achievement Award

2004 Mayor’s Community Safety Award

2006 Dubai International Award for Best Practices

2010 Bhayana Family Foundation Award (United Way) – Team Achievement

2010 State Farm Good Neighbour Award

2010 Toronto Foundation – Vital Youth Award – Girls Only (GO) Program

2012 Harlequin “More than Words” Award – Sally Spencer

2013 Toronto Foundation – Vital Ideas Award – Youth Mentoring Program

2015 Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award – Volunteer Kathy Bodnar

2014 Bhayana Family Foundation Award (United Way) – Dedication, Mona Dogen