2013 Awards Winners






Winner : Les Habitations L’Escalier, a youth employment organization operating in Montréal and the Eastern Townships of Québec

“For several months now, I’ve been living at a shelter called l’Escalier. I also work at Distributions l’Escalier, and it’s my first job! With this job, I am also able to work from time to time at their Champêtreries farm. I like it there because you are constantly moving and learning new things! This experience allows me to meet new people and it also give me a place to relax and escape the stress of the city. I love it! Living and working at l’Escalier pushes me to think about my future. This has made me realize that I want to go back to school. The intervention team at home and work are very happy with my work and this gives me more confidence. Now I know how to cultivate onions! Before I didn’t even know that you had to rip the onions out of the earth.”

The initiative : La Ferme aux Champêtreries, a job entry program for young adults aged 18 to 30 who face barriers in accessing employment due to low educational achievement, lack of work experience, prior problems with addictions, family instability, and/or a precarious financial situation.

  • Paid work placement for 6 months on a farm
  • Partnerships with local employers in the region facilitates participants finding employment at the end of the placement

Impact for youth :

  •  Develop transferable technical, personal and social skills
  • Gain work experience in horticulture, agriculture, cooking, distribution, warehouse operations, and customer service
  • Skill development makes integration into community, education or occupational pursuits easier
  • Experience being members of a community  
  • In 2011-12: 6 months after placement, 55 % of participants had work, 26% had returned to school, and 3 % embarked on a new training program








Winner: Niagara Resource Service for Youth (o/a The RAFT) based in St. Catharines, ON provides hostel and outreach services and independent living supports to high risk and homeless youth in throughout Niagara Region.

“I couldn’t live at home anymore. My dad and brother partied all the time and I couldn’t get any sleep or school work done. I missed school all the time because I was staying in Fort Erie and my school was in Ridgeway. My school thought it would be a good to meet Amber [Youth Reconnect Worker] and get some help. We met at my school. She helped me a lot and got me a really nice apartment. I couldn’t go to my high school anymore because I missed so much school. Amber got me into EDVanced where I can catch up on credits faster and be able to graduate on time. I should be able to go back to my high school next year if I get caught up. I would like to be back with my friends. Amber checks up on me all the time making sure I go to class and I know if I need anything she’s always there for me. “ RAFT participant

The initiative: Youth Reconnect which aims to keep precariously housed youth in school and connected to their community.  Working in partnership with local agencies, this homelessness prevention program:

  • Accepts referrals from high schools, community partners, social service agencies and police services
  • Helps youth access resources and increase their self sufficiency
  • Provides advocacy services, life skills training, one-on-one mentoring, and emergency hostel access
  • Helps youth find affordable housing, live independently, and remain housed
  • Facilitates family re-unification whenever possible and safe to do so
  • Focuses on assisting youth reduce involvement in high risk behaviours

Impact for youth:

  • Over 75 % of participants remain in school
  • Over 90 % of participants remain housed after 3 months with the service and 70 % remained housed after 6 months
  • Estimated to have reduced shelter usage by 370 youth individuals in 2011
  • 100 % of participants reported feeling safe and supported compared to only 30 % before connecting with the services
  • Increased feelings of connectedness with their own communities
  • Increased knowledge and ability to access a variety of community resources



Winner: This is a collaborative inter-agency partnership involving: Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Youville Centre, Operation Come Home, Eastern Ottawa Youth Justice Agency, and United Way Ottawa

“This is the best that I have ever done in my life, I am in school, I’m clean and I got a job.”

“Addiction and Mental Health Counselling helped me to break away from a vicious cycle. I deserve better and my daughter deserves better.”

The initiative: Project s.t.e.p.: provides substance abuse treatment as well as prevention and early intervention for young people in non-traditional academic settings. Each partner agency has a specific client focus, such as homeless youth, Aboriginal youth, teen mothers, at-risk or street involved youth.

  • Helps youth re-engage with academic achievement
  • Connects youth with addictions and mental health counselling
  • Multi-agency collaborative initiative with a common evaluation framework between agencies, common data collection and reporting platform

Impact for youth:

  • Increased access to individual counselling
  • Improved school attendance
  • Youth addressing mental health and addictions challenges and achieving high school equivalency
  • Increased motivation to continue on a path to independence and healthy living
  • Reduced participation in high risk activities





Winner: YWCA Metro Vancouver, a multi-service organization serving over 55,000 people annually through 43 programs.

“Crabtree Housing has helped me in so many ways. The support and encouragement I was given to make healthy, life changing choices was the most important piece for me. I was able to overcome my addiction to drugs. I was able to end toxic relationships and get a full-time job. I successfully regained custody of my daughter within a year. I take pride in providing for my daughter today and I am forever grateful to Crabtree’s staff, programs and the clean, safe apartment I lived in while making the most important decisions of my life.” Nora

The initiative: YWCA Crabtree Corner Housing provides 12 units of safe transitional housing and supports for young women who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addictions and who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are currently parenting or are working to regain custody of their children.

  • Housing and supports are for up to 18 months
  • Initiatives to reduce barriers to affordable long-term housing such as grants to clear outstanding utility and housing debts
  • Resources to support personal and professional development

Impact for young mothers:

  • Support in recovering from drug and/or alcohol use
  • Success in connecting with other community resources
  • Opportunity to develop social and community networks
  • Pregnant women delivering healthy babies and retaining custody or regaining custody
  • Securing long-term housing after leaving Crabtree Corner


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