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how we work

We focus on solutions.

Choices for Youth strives to provide at-risk youth and emerging adults with programming and services that meet their present and long-term needs. Our work is informed by the lived experience and expertise of young people, feedback from program participants, input from community partners, and guidance from national programming and research.

We approach our work with the belief that every young person has immense potential, and that with the right set of supports they can achieve their goals.

Our Vision


A world free of social and economic barriers, where young people feel able and encouraged to pursue their aspirations and potential.


Choices for Youth is a professional services, youth-focused, non-profit, charitable organization that creates spaces and conversations, and operates programs and social enterprises to help vulnerable youth secure stable housing, employment, and education while improving health and family stability. 

With a focus on prevention, intervention, and support, we help youth and their families break cycles of poverty and homelessness and transition to healthy, stable, and independent lives.

operating principles

Choices for Youth combines trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, and harm-reduction practices with an empowerment philosophy and Housing First for Youth Framework. This ensures that all activities meet the needs of young people, promote flexibility and innovation in our response to breaking down barriers they may face, and are all designed to be evaluated in partnership with young people accessing the programs and services.

Our Approah


Harm Reduction - Parchment - Compressed.



Housing First - Parchment - Compressed.p

Housing First

for Youth

Trauma Informed - Parchment - Compressed

Trauma-Informed &

Recovery-Oriented Practice

Youth Empowerment - Parchment - Compress



Community Partnerships - Parchment - Com



As an organization that has been working with the at-risk youth population for close to 30 years, our approach is defined by a combination of a number of core philosophies and practices that are research-backed, low-barrier, and solutions-oriented.

Our approach to programs and services encompasses the following:

Click the icons above to take an in-depth look at how they guide our work.

housing first for youth

As a first step, we strive to house youth as quickly as possible. With housing comes the feeling of safety, the provision of shelter, and the critical opportunity to focus on addressing their personal challenges. Once housed, our next step is to provide youth with wrap-around supports so they can do just that, and take steps towards healthy and independent lives. As a group with distinct needs, Housing First for Youth also means offering a range of youth-appropriate housing, and ensuring each young person defines for themselves the type of housing they need. Some may want to live with housemates and others may need a place of their own, while many will want to live in a community setting.

HArm Reduction

Harm reduction accepts that we aren’t always able to make perfect choices, and instead focuses on helping youth make the choices that cause them the least amount of harm in that moment. Through continued support and relationship building, we then work to equip youth to make healthier choices in the future.

community partnerships

Our ultimate aim is to broaden the network of support available to youth, to expand their circle of care, and to help break down social stigma and isolation. Strong partnerships are critical to making this happen. They allow us to:

  • Integrate a number of services for youth into our Outreach Centre, making them easier to access.

  • Plan outings and activities like camping trips, ball games, and gym days to provide youth with experiences that create connections and reduce isolation.

  • Bring individuals and businesses into our work as allies in building a better future for vulnerable youth and families.

trauma-informed &
recovery-oriented practice

Many of the young people we work with have dealt with difficult circumstances and traumatic experiences. As a result, many have mental health, addictions, and behavioural challenges that can make it harder to build trust and take steps forward. We always seek to understand the underlying causes of these challenges and work with youth at their own pace and without judgement. Building positive relationships, having motivational conversations, and celebrating incremental change are key pieces to supporting young people.

youth empowerment

The courageous young people who seek out support to build a better life are their own experts. Working from a place of empowerment means trusting that expertise and ensuring they are engaged in decision-making that affects their lives; that they have platforms and spaces to speak up and share their perspectives; and that their voices are embedded in our formal and informal structures and organizational processes. The Youth Leadership Council is just one example of how youth empowerment is integral to our work. Learn more about their work here or read their latest letter in our Annual Report.

Our Values & Culture

our values & Culture

It's who we are.

As our organization grows and the needs of youth change, our values and cultural commitments remind us to focus on those we serve, and to build positive environments around all of our supportive programming.

Equity, Diversity and inclusion statement

Choices for Youth (CFY) strives towards a culture of inclusion and empowerment, one where there’s a sense of belonging and safety while prioritizing diversity across the organization, including in its Board of Directors composition, employment practices, staff, policies, programming, and services. CFY actively works to support program participants, staff, and volunteers who identify as Indigenous, Black, racialized and/or as members of other equity-seeking and/or religious, cultural and other communities; members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community; people with disabilities; and people from a variety of social and economic backgrounds. CFY is committed to providing support and accommodations to all involved with the organization, including employees, program participants, and volunteers. Should you require support or accommodation(s) to enable your participation within CFY’s programs, and/or during the hiring, selection, or employment process please let us know at any point. 

We identify as allies with:

- The feminist community

- The 2SLGBTQIA+ community

- The Indigenous community

- The disabilities community

- The movement to end racism

- The movement to end violence against women

- The movement to protect religious freedom

- The movement to end poverty

- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

- The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, including Housing as a Human Right

core values

Act with empathy and kindness

Choose to see the potential

Cultivate safe, inclusive spaces and promote diversity

Work hard, with boundless ambition and strategic excellence

Inspire hope and create opportunities that empower

cultural commitments



Putting young people first

Being champions for social justice

Connecting to our individual sense of purpose


Feeling like family

Building relationships based on trust and respect

Understanding one another through conversations


Responding to changing needs

Striving to learn continuously 

Fostering innovation

Interested in joining the Choices for Youth team? Click below!

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