All That Kids Can Be

Every kid should have the basic building blocks to stay on track to succeed—in school, and in life.

The issue

For some local children, growing up isn’t easy. Challenges can begin before a child even steps into school for the first time.


of children start school without a proper foundation for learning in some Ottawa neighbourhoods.


graduate from high school in some Ottawa neighbourhoods, compared to over 80% for the rest of the city.


in Ontario struggle with their mental health.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between 10 and 24 years.


in Ontario report symptoms of a drug use problem.


The mortality rate for a homeless youth is 40 times that of a young person living at home.

Our response

United Way East Ontario believes that every child across Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County has the right to a good life, a safe place to grow up, to learn, and to make good friends—no matter where they live or what their personal circumstances are. That means succeeding in school and in life, and staying on track to graduate so that they can enter adulthood ready to take on the world.

United Way plays a key leadership and support role in initiatives critical to meeting the needs of vulnerable children and youth. These include:

One of the most comprehensive initiatives in terms of membership and scope, OCYI is focused on joint research, advocacy, planning and program development in support of early years and school age youth.
Project step is a comprehensive initiative for youth with problematic substance use that ensures ready access to addiction prevention and counselling in Ottawa’s publicly funded high schools, and in community settings. Over the past two years, the work of project step increased in urgency due to the onset of the opioid crisis in Ottawa, and a coordinated, collective approach continues to be critical
United Way is also a partner and principal funder of A Way Home Ottawa, a youth-driven, local coalition working together to prevent and end youth homelessness in our city. Preventing youth homelessness is one of the key ways to end chronic homelessness, and A Way Home Ottawa convenes key community partners to changes in the system to improve support of our most at risk youth.

The outcomes

United Way also partners with local, front-line agencies to deliver vital programs and services that help improve lives, break down barriers, and create opportunities for our region’s most vulnerable people. These include early-childhood education, support for young parents, after-school programs, school-based addiction counselling, and housing supports for youth experiencing homelessness. As part of our commitment to measuring our impact, we track and report how these investments make a difference.

Outcome: Children have the supports they need to start school ready to learn

97% of participants reported positive parent-child activities that supported the achievement of developmental milestones

2,060 families/caregivers were provided with information, resources, tools, trainings, and/ or teaching skills

Outcome: Children and youth are engaged and active outside of school

67% of middle/high school-aged youth developed soft skills

7,603 youth participated in school and/or community-based after school programs and/or received individualized supports

Outcome: Children and youth successful in school and on track to graduate

84% of children and youth maintained or improved their academic competencies

704 children and youth maintained or improved their academic competencies

Outcome: Youth housing needs are met

79% of youth living in emergency shelters or transitional housing received supports to live independently

218 youth living in emergency shelters or transitional housing received supports to live independently

Outcome: Youth reduced or stopped using drugs (non-mainstream schools)

80% of youth reported a reduction in the frequency of drug use

97 youth reported a reduction in the frequency of drug use

Outcome: Youth reduced or stopped using drugs (regular schools)

14,958 youth participated in substance use prevention and education sessions

Results (In 2017-18)

A note on numbers:  In 2017, the four United Ways of Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Counties decided to join forces. Today, we operate as one entity: United Way East Ontario. As we evolve and increasingly see and seize opportunities to work cross-regionally, more data will become available to report on the local needs and investment outcomes in all of the communities we serve. For this reason, for now, many of the facts and stats on this page are Ottawa-specific as it represents our largest investment footprint.

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