Gaining Ground Strategy
Over the Next 4 Years
Commitment 1: Address the urgent need for stable housing among youth and their families.
Over the last two years, 88% of our ministry teams across the GTA have had to address housing insecurity with the youth they serve and support.
Recognizing the urgent need for stable housing among those we serve, we will support our YU youth and their families facing housing insecurity through a collaborative multi-faceted approach, including providing housing opportunities and fostering “radical hospitality” in the Christian community.
Commitment 2: Develop multi-service spaces offering wholistic supports to youth and their families.
Studies show that youth with at least one consistent, trusted adult in their life minimize their risk of disengaging from education and employment, and more strongly develop their identity, empathy, and a sense of hope for the future.
In order to deepen our wholistic engagement with youth and their families, we will pilot safe and familiar multi-service spaces.
Commitment 3: Mobilize neighbourhood churches to integrate community youth and their families.
According to 12 of our most experienced frontline staff, churches embedded in their neighbourhood with an intentional plan and multiple approaches to welcome and engage youth are most likely to help these young people experience long-term belonging in their faith community.
Given our desire to increase engagement between neighbourhood churches and community youth throughout their lives, we will proactively encourage, equip, mobilize and partner with local churches to design and implement effective support structures and ‘pathways of integration’ for neighbourhood youth.
Commitment 4: Launch new ministries among both under-served youth and neighbourhoods.
Youth Unlimited currently serves in five of Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.
Given our vision and desire that every youth in the GTA will be transformed by God’s love, we will proactively start up ministry initiatives to serve new neighbourhoods and/or under-served youth populations.
Commitment 5: Cultivate a collaborative partnership with YFC South Sudan.
After more than two decades of civil war, the median age of South Sudan is 18.6 years, compared to 41 years in Canada.
As part of the international YFC movement, in order to more effectively fulfill our shared vision of reaching every young person locally and globally, we will enter into a collaborative partnership with YFC South Sudan.
Housing in the life of a Young Parent
Having a stable roof over your head and a place to call home brings a level of dignity that many of us take for granted. Housing (or lack thereof) has such an impact on the mental health of a youth and brings stability to many different aspects of their lives. I have seen a number of young moms' lives take a beautiful turn for the better when they find stable housing. There is hope for the future when they are no longer transient. (Lee Sommerfeldt, Young Parents Program Leader)
The importance of community hubs
Integral mission is close to the heart of God. This wholistic focus by God is expressed through His relentless pursuit of people and His desire to personally meet their needs - both spiritually and physically. Serving as a youth worker in Scarborough since 1996, God has been stirring in my heart, and the DOXA Team, over the last few years, to begin to pursue a multi-service space to facilitate a more wholistic approach to youth ministry in our urban context. (Calvin Russell, Director of DOXA)
Neighbourhood Church Mobilization
A church partner's perspective
Our relationship with Youth Unlimited has not only changed the landscape of our church, but our surrounding neighbourhood, as well. YU’s support equips us to better understand our community’s needs. We have developed meaningful, trusting relationships with community families, and have witnessed God transform the lives of the youth to whom we minister. (Rob Cripps, Lead Pastor, Capstone Community Bible Church)
Engaging Under-Served Youth
Touching the hearts of young people must be done in a heartfelt manner. The best approach to engaging unserved youth is to help them meet their most basic need for identity. We are excited to collaborate with Youth Unlimited and Paul Buchan. Our new boxing initiative has been an excellent approach to meeting some of the needs of unreached young people. (Melad and Azza Markos, Founders of Love Unending Ministries)
South Sudan Partnership
A mutually beneficial partnership
*What an honour and joy to see YU partner with YFC South Sudan! God provided James Thomas Ochuho, a young man who grew up in a Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. We trained him and, at the end of December 2021, he decided to return to Juba to start YFC South Sudan! This ministry is growing very well, reaching youth through school and sports ministries, and computer training. I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do as we provide wholistic ministry to young people who have been devastated by decades of civil war. (Luc Dushimerugaba, YFC East Africa Regional Director)