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All That Kids Can Be

United Way believes that every child has the right to a good life, and a safe place to grow up, learn, and make good friends—no matter where they live or their personal circumstances.

The issue

For some local kids, growing up isn’t easy. Challenges can begin before a child even steps into school for the first time. All the issues facing children and youth were amplified when the pandemic began. Years later, many kids are still struggling. 


Of high school students in Ontario used alcohol in the past year. 


children and youth

have to wait up to two and a half years for mental health care in Ontario. 


of grade 7-12 students in Ontario Indicate a moderate-to-serious level of psychological distress (depression and anxiety). 


of front-line providers

serving homeless youth during the pandemic reported youth had experienced a significant increase in feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

Our response

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

Partnering for success

COVID-19 dramatically changed how organizations offered critical hours (summer and before/after school) programs. The Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative developed the ‘Make a Plan for Safe Return’ project, which provides best practices, training, and resources so that organizations and groups can feel comfortable providing vibrant and safe programming to children, youth, and their families.
Osgoode Youth Association
delivered free, effective counselling services for youth ages 12 to 15, as well as supports for parents and caregivers. One-on-one counselling sessions were offered at the Osgoode Youth Association in a youth-friendly, safe, and accessible space.
A Way Home
a youth-driven coalition working to prevent and end youth homelessness in the city through strategic community planning. In June 2020, AWHO contributed youth-specific strategies that would advance the goal to prevent, reduce, and eliminate youth homelessness in Ottawa as part of the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan refresh.

Stepping up for youth

As part of the initiative’s work, they met virtually with local girls and women to discuss and identify the challenges they were facing. These conversations helped to break down barriers and identify required tools, training, and resources to improve wellbeing, accessibility, and self-confidence.
CRC Killaloe
this multi-service community resource centre serves the remote and rural communities in West Renfrew County. They use a unique rural program model that includes taking programs and services into surrounding small towns, providing vital community connections and opportunities for rural children and 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 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 ready to learn

92% of participants reported increased confidence in their parenting ability that supported the achievement of developmental milestones.

721 families/caregivers were provided with information, resources, tools, trainings, and/or teaching skills.

Outcome: Children and youth are engaged and active

89% of middle/high school aged-youth developed soft skills.

2,021 youth participated in school and/or community-based, out-of school time programs and/or received individualized supports.

Outcome: Children and youth are resilient

79% of children and youth reported decreased levels of stress.

33 children and youth reported decreased levels of stress.

Outcome: Children and youth have improved mental health

98% of children and youth improved mental health outcomes.

2,526 children and youth improved mental health outcomes.

Outcome: Children and youth are successful in school

5,936 children and youth worked towards achieving academic goals outside of school.

Outcome: Youth housing needs are met

92% of youth living in emergency shelters or transitional housing received supports to live independently.

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

Outcome: Youth reduced or stopped using drugs 

77% of youth reported a reduction in the frequency of drug use (project step).

273 youth reported a reduction in the frequency of drug use (project step).

Results from 2021 investments

As we continue to align our work across Ottawa, Prescott-Russell, Lanark County and Renfrew County, our reporting on outcomes will grow and strengthen each year. This year, for the first time, our outcomes reflect results from across the region. 

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