Today, Mayor John Tory was joined by Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) at Native Child and Family Services of Toronto to announce the expansion of 20 Enhanced Youth Spaces (EYS) and Youth Hubs across the city starting today.
This expansion puts the City and TPL youth spaces to a combined total of 43 spaces and hubs with 66 full-time staff, creating connections in the lives of youth in underserved areas of the city.
EYS and Youth Hubs are built on three pillars: dedicated space, dedicated staff and locally responsive programming that are co-designed with youth. Spaces are open five to seven days per week, 50 weeks per year and are intended to help youth build life skills and create pathways to learning and employment through entrepreneurship, employment readiness and continuing education supports. Youth can visit a Youth Hub at select library branches to use a laptop, study, get connected to homework help resources or watch an online teen program.
Expansion has been a collaborative process, with new sites selected through stakeholder engagement and robust socio-demographic analysis. Site locations were selected to address service gaps for youth, enhance opportunities for those experiencing higher incidents of violence, poverty and marginalization, while providing social, recreational and literacy supports for youth. The expansion plan was informed by a neighbourhood assessment process that included input by the Youth Space Advisory Committee, whose membership includes youth, youth serving agencies, school boards and other city divisions.
As part of this expansion, partnerships have been established at EYS with the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, as well as a collaboration with The 519 to ensure Indigenous youth and 2SLGBTQ+ youth are supported through outreach and engagement strategies. This collaboration provides safe spaces, youth programming and enhanced training opportunities for City staff.
The new EYS and Youth Hubs were originally scheduled to open by November 2020; however, indoor recreation spaces were closed or restricted by provincial measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Step 3 of the provincial government’s reopening roadmap allows the spaces to open with reduced capacity.
Regular Youth Spaces have youth-centric programming during the week at different times and may not be available every day of the week. EYS are supervised spaces that are open five to six days a week, while Youth Hubs are located at select Toronto Public Library (TPL) branches to welcome youth after school or in the summer.
Find more information about Youth Hubs at TPL branches.
“Access to recreation programming and support services for youth have proven to be key factors in building up young people, their families and neighbourhoods. By expanding the program and increasing the offerings, we can ensure that we are helping as many young people in our city get the services and support they need for a healthy foundation. I want to thank all of our partners for helping us bring these expanded spaces to young people and for collaborating with us on the programs we are offering.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The City’s youth spaces are places for young people to create, connect and learn. We encourage young people to take advantage of these spaces and the engaging and inspiring programs offered across the city.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Economic and Community Development Committee Chair
“Youth Hubs build upon the continuing work of TPL and the City to provide safe and engaging places for youth to create and realize their plans and ideas, more important during these challenging times than ever.”
– Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library
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