Shana was just 11 years old when, at her mother’s insistence, she signed up for the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Youth Leadership Program (YLP). And, although joining the weekly leadership program wasn’t her idea, “I got really attached to the people I met and I haven’t left since,” she admits.
Now, seven years later, Shana continues to be actively involved. She still enjoys volunteering through YLP, and she now also attends the Y’s newest program for youth, Teen Night, where she stays active in extracurricular activities that weren’t available through many schools this year. “It’s important for teens and youth to have access to these programs,” says Shana. “It’s not always the easiest thing to join at school. And, at the YMCA, there are great staff members who care for the people who join. They take extra steps to make sure people feel safe, healthy and included.” But it’s hard not to feel included when you’re surrounded by great friends – many of which Shana has made through Y programs.
“I’ve grown with great friends because of the YMCA, but I also get the chance to meet new ones and learn new things from them. The YMCA has become a big part of my life.”
This YMCA participant has shared his/her story, but for privacy reasons is not depicted in this photo.See all impact stories