June 11, 2021
Youth Advocating for Mental Health: A Spotlight on Monarch Park Collegiate

Students from Monarch Park Collegiate chose LOFT’s Transitional Age Youth program as the recipient of a Youth Philanthropy Initiative grant.

Early in 2021, a group of students from Monarch Park Collegiate learned about the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI). YPI is an inclusive approach to grant-making that grows compassionate communities by connecting high school students to social issues, local charities and philanthropy.

Students were asked to select charities, forming groups around shared interests. They researched their chosen organization, spoke to representatives, and presented their findings to the class in a bid to award the winning charity with a grant.

A group of very dedicated students – Erik, Samantha and Jet – chose to research LOFT’s Transitional Age Youth (TAY) program, which provides a safe place for at-risk youth dealing with mental health issues, addiction and precarious housing. 

Presentations were completed and, after five rounds of voting, the class came to a consensus. LOFT’s TAY program was chosen as the recipient of the $1,250 YPI grant.

When selecting a charity to research, the most important factor for the winning students was an emphasis on mental health. In completing the assignment, they deepened their awareness of issues in their community and were able to successfully represent the importance of LOFT’s work. 

“When we heard our names called, we were instantly filled with happiness and pride,” says one of the students.  “We brought awareness to the issue and – thanks to the YPI grant – were able to donate to the cause.  Together we build a stronger, more positive and more inclusive community.”

Thanks to this dedicated group of students, the Youth Philanthropy Initiative grant will assist LOFT’s TAY program in providing mental health support to young people across Toronto and the surrounding area.  Youth have been highly impacted by the challenges of COVID-19.  People between the ages of 15 and 24 are already more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.[1] During the isolation of the pandemic, these challenges have multiplied.

LOFT is grateful to community members, like the students from Monarch Park Collegiate, whose acts of kindness help us to provide unwavering support to those most vulnerable in our communities.

 “I am thrilled that my students chose the TAY program to champion,” says Chef Martin Aller-Stead, a Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Co-op Teacher. “Thank you to LOFT and TAY for doing what you do.”

[1] Pearson, Janz and Ali (2013). Health at a glance: Mental and substance use disorders in Canada. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-624-X.