Youth Engagement

At YSB, we value what you say about issues that are important to you. We also look for ways to help you reach your full potential. Our youth engagement programs will help you develop confidence, leadership skills and a strong, independent voice — while educating the community about youth issues.

Ethno-cultural Youth Advisory

This group works with community leaders and youth services organizations to ensure that the needs of immigrant youth and their families are met and that their transition to Canadian society goes smoothly.
Learn more

Join the Ethno-Cultural Youth Advisory on Facebook


Purple Sisters Youth Advisory

This group brings attention to the needs of young women in the community — such as help addressing abuse or inequalities in the workplace, legal and school systems. It makes sure that those needs are not overshadowed by more recent or better publicized issues.
Learn more

Join the Purple Sisters on Facebook and Twitter


Spectrum LGBTQ Community Youth Group

Looking for a fun, queer chat with people your age? Want to just hang out, eat some snacks and meet new friends? Are you interested in having some discussions about sexuality, identity, homophobia and your personal experience? YSB is proud to offer Spectrum, a weekly Tuesday evening program for LGBTQ youth in Ottawa!
Learn more

Join Spectrum on Facebook

Westend Youth Motivators

Westend Youth Motivators (WEYM) are a committee of youth from diverse cultural backgrounds, who are committed to making a difference within the Pinecrest Queensway area neighborhoods. Our focus is to identify issues related to youth by bringing awareness and advocacy to youth, service providers and other decision makers. WE-YM works in partnership with the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, and Michele Heights Community Centre.

Join WEYM on Facebook


Zine & Videos: Mental Health in Newcomer Communities!

mindyourmind worked with a group in Ottawa of newcomer youth to co-create some resources with the intent of empowering youth to seek help, as well as provide some information to their parents around the issues they may be facing. They also created the narrative in the video for parents, telling them that it’s ok to ask for help if you or your kids are experiencing a mental health problem.

Click here to read the zine & see the videos, in 6 languages!

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Milo's Story

Every year when I was little, I’d think “this will be the year that everything will be okay”. And every year, I’d be crushed. By the time I was 18 I couldn’t take my dad’s drinking or my mom’s crying anymore, so I packed a knapsack with the warmest clothes I had and I left. It was freezing cold, and I was alone…but I was free.

The next few months were rough and at times very scary. I spent nights in parks, doorways and even under bridges all with just an old sleeping bag a friend had given me. One night it was so cold that I walked until the sun came up, afraid that I would freeze to death if I slept.

It took me awhile to get over the embarrassment to start asking people for money. But, it was swallow my pride or stay cold and hungry. After two weeks of doing this I learned about YSB. I didn’t know it then but, in that moment, my life changed for the better. I got connected to YSB’s Young Men’s Emergency Shelter and my first night in the shelter I slept 11 hours. I felt so safe and secure. I remember that moment clearly and I felt so hopeful I now have my own apartment in one of YSB’s long-term housing buildings, am attending college to become a graphic designer, and am working part-time to support myself.

“For the first time I can remember, I’m really excited about my future. Growing up I just thought about getting by one day at a time.” I hope my story conveys just how life changing it was for me to be able to access YSB’s shelter during a really difficult time in my life. The team at YSB supported me every step of the way, and I’m grateful they were by my side. I hope you’ll consider taking the opportunity to transform the life of another young person like me today.


*While Milo’s story is real his name has been changed to protect his privacy