Who we are
Youth Assisting Youth grows the leaders of tomorrow through peer mentorship of at-risk and newcomer youth. For over 44 years, it has paired volunteer young adult mentors aged 16-29, with youth ages 6-15 to engage in activities to develop mind, body, character, and leadership skills. Our non-profit connects volunteers to meaningful mentorship experiences that profoundly impact the most vulnerable youth and their families in communities across Toronto and York Region areas.
What we do matters
When you’re young, your friends have a big influence on you. They have a lot of say about the choices you make, what music and clothing you like, and the activities you do. By harnessing the power of friendship and support, youth-to-youth peer mentoring encourages healthy lifestyles and increases resiliency for kids who need guidance and a helping hand.
We service the City of Toronto and all communities within York Region to provide peer mentorship programs that empower young volunteer mentors who want to transform lives and make a real difference. 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 abilities, critical thinking skills and social skills to become outstanding professionals and members of their communities.
Since 1976, we have matched more than 5,000 youth in a 1:1 peer mentoring relationship. 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, and we also provide comprehensive training, 24-hour emergency support for our youth, and organize monthly group mentoring activities to bring our youth and mentor matches together.
What we do works
Our peer mentoring program works. Our kids do better in school, gain resiliency, build strengths and improve their mental health. They also stay out of trouble, improve their relationships, and many come back to be Youth Assisting Youth mentors themselves. There are many youth charities out there, but few carry over 44 years of proven successes and Best Practices.
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 volunteer mentors and additional support is still great. We have over 400 kids waiting to be matched with a mentor, and we need your help.
Peer mentoring leads to a more transformative experience than adult mentoring
We help kids with complex issues and learning disabilities when other programs won’t
Mentors offer tailored support to help kids with a mental health diagnosis
We conduct in-home assessments for every mentor and mentee
We offer extensive Youth Mental Health and Learning Disabilities training for volunteers
We provide 24/7 Emergency Support for all mentors, mentees and families
We run ongoing group mentoring activities and events for our youth
Our average mentoring match lasts for five years
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