United Way Simcoe Muskoka provides one-time grants to help support youth-led projects in communities across our regions.
Our youth leadership projects require groups of up to six imaginative youth, aged 14 to 24, to create innovative projects that help their community.
These projects are created and led by local youth who want to make a difference and make local issues #UNIGNORABLE.
Applications for 2020 projects are now closed. We thank everyone who submitted an application. Funding will be announced in March 2020.
Did you miss the application window? Click here to view the eligibility requirements for a Youth United project to get thinking for next year or get involved with United Way Simcoe Muskoka’s GenNext group!
For more information about Youth United projects or the application process, please contact:
Assikinack Elementary’s Mental Health Awareness Team was motivated to increase the happiness and well being of their peers. After conducting a survey to determine the needs of their fellow students, they found that people experience a lack of focus and confidence in classrooms, but higher levels of self-confidence outdoors. Unfortunately, previous vandalism left little to no usable outdoor space. The Assikinack Elementary project will plant new trees and build an outdoor obstacle course to take some of that outdoor space and confidence back.
Innisfil Festival of Colours was a 5km Colour Run/Walk in May that inspired school involvement and got people active! Students walked or ran along a specific route through coloured chalk clouds. Students from surrounding elementary schools were invited to attend so that their transition to high school can be a little easier and a lot more fun. The Festival of Colours also brought some cultural awareness to the community, specifically to Hindu culture. The project used Youth United funds to purchase the materials and buses needed to successfully run the event.
Nighthawks Lunch Program is a youth-driven nutrition program created by students at Orillia Secondary School in order to reduce hunger in surrounding elementary schools. With funding from Youth United, the Nighthawks program is able to provide a healthy lunch to 72 students each week. The lunches are prepared at OSS after school one day a week and delivered to the two elementary schools overnight to be served the next day. This Youth United project ensures that kids get the nutrition they need to succeed in school and be their best.
SASSY Snacks is a student nutrition program in Midland that supports four local elementary schools. By partnering with Youth United, the school board, the Karma Project, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and Eat Well to Excel, the youth-led program purchases Good Food Boxes, fresh produce and other supplies to make a deliver healthy, tasty snacks to students in Midland. SASSY Snacks will also be coming up with their own recipes and hosting peer-to-peer events to celebrate their work.
Self-Care Sanctuary is a project led by a talented group of cosmetology students who have partnered with Green Haven Shelter for Women. Their program offers a personal health day for women and children experiencing issues due to poverty. It includes a self-care talk, free salon services, a healthy lunch, a yoga session and a take-home self-care package. The Self-Care Sanctuary introduces affordable salon services for women to become more independent and confident. The project will host a similar day for Grade 8 students, too.
Youth United projects aren’t just run by youth; they’re approved by them, too!
The Youth Council is a group of young leaders who work together to vet the project applications. The Council, aged 14-24, are a crucial part of the decision-making process. They review the grant applications, make suggestions and ask questions about the programs, and ultimately submit their recommendations to our Community Impact Standing Committee.
Being a part of the Youth Council is a rewarding way to get invaluable experience, complete volunteer hours and create positive change in Simcoe Muskoka.
Applications for the Youth Council are now closed. Check back in the fall for opportunities to volunteer with the Youth Council!
An interactive week that encouraged Collingwood Collegiate Institute students to celebrate diversity in fun ways. The goal was to reduce stigma, encourage students to be more open and accepting and allow students to learn more about all of he different facets that make everyone unique.
A group of students built a gaga ball pit in the yard of their school for use during recess and Physical Education classes. They wanted to “help students develop social skills, make friends and collaborate with other people.”
A group of inspiring youth created a brochure to hand out to their fellow students at Eastview Secondary School. Their goal was to inform other youth about the benefits of volunteering and to get more volunteers for the Special Olympics.
A creative youth team gathered together to plan and a design a youth-dedicated programming space within the Community Health Hub in downtown Midland, with the goal to have a space that local youth will truly want to hang out in.
Two youth leaders from Lakehead University took the lead on bringing high school students together in the summer to maintain a community garden and learn about gardening, Indigenous knowledge, sustainable environmental science and business from local experts.
A free drop-in sports night program for grades 6 to 8 at the Wellness Centre to help youth make healthy choices and learn positive life skills.
A program that provided Collingwood youth an opportunity to go to a lunch or dinner, to have access to healthy and affordable local food and to learn valuable food skills.
Monthly community lunches for clients, volunteers and local community members to create a family-friendly event, show what the Lighthouse does in the community and offer shared nutritious meals.
A six-week program run at the Allandale Recreation Centre for transitional-aged youth to promote health living and increase commitment to regular physical activity.
A Children’s Mental Health Day was organized for Grade 8 students to learn more about mental health, how to support each other and the importance of nutrition and healthy habits.
GBDSS business students partnered with local businesses to sell chocolates featuring statistics and stories to increase awareness of youth mental health needs and services in North Simcoe.
Outreach at area high schools to recruit new youth volunteers and build capacity for special olympics.
Innisfil kids go gaga for GaGa Ball
Lakehead Community Garden Has Opened
Earth, water, seeds and students at Lakehead Orillia planting
Photos: Lakehead’s Wiigwasitig Gitigaan opening ceremony (Facebook gallery)
Collingwood teens celebrate diversity (newsletter story)
Can success be measured in carrots and laughter (blog)