For Youth Initiative

Summary of organization/program

For Youth Initiative (FYI) is a non-profit, charitable organization operated by youth, for youth. At FYI we aim to encourage civic engagement and increase access to educational, recreational, economical and cultural opportunities.

Contact information



  1652 Keele St.
, Toronto, Ontario
, M6M 3W3

  (416) 653-3311




Geographic region

  • Local


  • At risk youth, and youth in the community. 
  • Cultural and media arts program: ages 13-29 

History/Background Information

Established: 2000

FYI recognizes the severity of needs of the large number of marginalized and youth at risk in the communities we serve. As such, FYI is committed to provide relevant services that are initiated and managed by local youth in the immediate community. Civic engagement, critical analysis, leadership, youth empowerment, skill building and community building are encouraged and incorporated in all community development work. In full recognition of the barriers to full and equitable participation faced by youth FYI strives to create opportunities that involve youth in community program planning, development, decision- making and implementation

Historically, For Youth Initiative started as a project in the former City of York to respond to the crucial and pressing issues of youth disengagement, violence, crime, poverty and alienation among at-risk youth in the area. One of the key factors contributing to youth disengagement has been the lack of youth-safe and youth-friendly space in the neighbourhood for recreation and other activities. For Youth Project was formed in 1995 having evolved out of the work of the York Community Agency Social Planning Council’s Multicultural Committee, which had been focusing on youth. This committee identified there was a great lack of services for youth in the City of York, particularly as it related ethno-cultural youth, and that many youth were not accessing the services that were available to them. A partnership of eight organizations, including four ethno-specific agencies, formed a Steering Committee to oversee the work of FYP.

Initially, the work focused on increasing access to social recreational opportunities for youth, but has since expanded to include increasing access to all youth services and mobilizing young people to act on issues of their concern. For Youth Initiative incorporated in the year 2000, at which time we expanded our mandate to include a satellite location in Etobicoke. In 2004, FYI acquired charitable status and in 2005 we became a United Way Member Agency.

Dominant Media Forms


music production

live performance

multi media presentations

fine arts


  • For Youth Initiative is an organization that is committed to creating healthy communities by increasing life-chances of youth at-risk. We will do this through the provision of empowering programs and services that are youth-driven, inclusive and accessible.
  • For Youth Initiative aims to create healthy communities where youth are fully engaged and equal participants in society.

Statement of Principles

We will do this through the provision of empowering programs and services that are youth-driven, inclusive and accessible.


not provided

Samples of work

  • Along with the programs listed below, FYI also runs immigrant settlement programs (no media focus)
  • Life Skills

    Life Skills is a multi dynamic stream, which compliments all other aspects of programming at FYI. At FYI, we define life skills as supporting individuals to acquire adaptive and positive behaviors to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, thus creating character and confidence in our youth. Our programs include cooking, employment preparation and volunteer opportunities in the community. We define leadership as the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task; And by being mentors to the youth we see them acquiring great skills and evolving into responsible adults which is one of the most important focuses of this stream of programming.

    Reel 2 Real – is a program that aims to critically analyze movies and popular culture and how they impact our society.

    121 Humber Leadership – aims to encourage positive social transformation with young people living in the Humber Community of West Toronto .

    Cooking Program – Learn to cook diverse and delicious dishes! Fajitas, Pasta, Caribbean cuisine and many other culturally diverse foods from all over the globe!

    Gamez Nite – Join us Fridays after Cooking Program from 5-7pm to for fun and games! We play ludi, XBOX, cards, dominoes and much much more!

    For more information on Life Skills programs at FYI, please call the Life Skills Coordinator at 416-653-3311 ext. 225

  • Female Specific

    F.Y.I.’s Female-Specific Stream (F.E.M.M.E.) is a multi-layered initiative that has blossomed with the support of several community agencies and individuals committed to enhancing the lives of young women in the Weston – Mt. Dennis community. Geared towards transformative healing and social change, this dynamic stream offers a variety of workshops, certification trainings and learning opportunities — with a focus on sexual health, celebration of ethnic diversity, gender-sensitive mentorship, employment training, life skills, multi-genre arts and more.

    For more information on the Female- Specific programs at FYI, please contact the F.E.M.M.E Support Worker  at 416-653-3311 ext. 226.

  • Cultural & Media Arts

    Cultural and Media Arts (CMA) at FYI is a dynamic program that allows youth 13 – 29 to build their creative skills in a meaningful way. Always focused on creating tangible results, we produce community focused and streetwise material that resonates with youth across the GTA. The CMA Coordinator also assists youth interested in entering the entertainment industry to assess their strengths and creativity and connect them with key industry individuals.  Youth are empowered through a variety of multi-disciplinary weekly programs that feature monthly workshops in media literacy, graphic design, photography, audio engineering, studio recording, new media, social networking, graffiti, fashion design, visual art, dance and poetry. We believe that self-expression is a key factor in determining success later in life.

    Programs include:

    Victory! – A magazine created by youth for youth and new media program focused on developing literacy, graphic design skills community engagement. To download the latest copy of Victory! Magazine, please visit our website at . 

    Graffiti Arts 101 – Individuals will learn the history of Graffiti Arts, from its inception on Egyptian walls to political messaging in South America and Africa, to the streets of the United States. The end product will be a legal mural within the Weston-Mount Dennis Community promoting healthy lifestyles.

    Coming Up!

    In Tha Lab 101 – This pilot project aims to create an extensive introduction to the music industry, music recording/ production and how to begin a career as a musical artist. The end result will be a FYI mix tape consisting of songs created by the participants.  
    For more information on the Culture and Media Arts Programs, please contact the CMA Coordinator at 416-653-3311 ext. 229.

Funding Sources