Impact Tomorrow, Today

For more than 60 years, YSB has been a community leader in helping youth and their families access services and programs they need to build happy, healthy lives. In that time, we have established ourselves as trusted experts in several key areas: youth mental health, community services, youth justice, youth engagement, and youth employment.

YSB plays a leadership role and works in close collaboration with other agencies and groups in the community that are dedicated to providing the best possible services to young people and their families and communities. We continually draw on and expand our expertise in our day-to-day dealings with the 2,500 to 3,000 people who come to YSB for help each month.

OUR REACH

Access and Opportunity

Every month, more than 2,500 youth and families rely on the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa to help them deal with the difficult issues they face — issues like poverty, abuse, family violence, depression, addiction and homelessness. With 350 caring professionals operating from 20 locations across Ottawa, we are equipped to deal with the breadth and complexity of these issues.

We’ve been helping local youth find their strength, determination and ways to accomplish their dreams since 1960, and we’ve set out an ambitious strategy to continue to meet the growing need for our programs in the areas of community service, mental health, youth engagement, employment and youth justice.

Community Service

  • Each year, more than 1,200 youth rely on us to help them access and maintain the most basic needs — food, shelter and safety
  • In just one year, the Young Women’s and Young Men’s shelters provided 20,000 individual nights of shelter for youth in need of a safe place to stay
  • Over 80% of youth served by our Housing and Trusteeship Program avoid becoming homeless after working with our staff on life‑skills, conflict resolution, budgeting and housing

Mental Health

  • Thousands of Ottawa youth struggling with mental health challenges come to us for help each year
  • With our 24‑hour Crisis Line and our Mobile Crisis and Residential Crisis Unit, we’re able to support youth and families at their most critical and vulnerable times

Youth Engagement

  • Engaging youth in our organization and in civic life helps them find their power within
  • By participating in YSB’s youth advisory committees, young people build leadership skills and become involved in their communities
  • Last year, we provided opportunities for youth voice within YSB through 31 training workshops, 5 youth events, 6 panel presentations, 144 youth advisory meetings, 11 Info and Health Fairs, 16 forums and conferences, and 25 community meetings

Employment

  • We have helped thousands of young people gain valuable work experience and job placements
  • Our Employment Services report an impressive 79% success rate for young people accessing services and finding work

Youth Justice

  • Every day we provide specialized support to youth in custody to help them learn new skills and make positive choices
  • We provide anger management and community re-integration counselling to youth in custody

Leadership, Partnership, and Expertise

The Youth Services Bureau is a community leader in Ottawa, empowering youth to make choices today that can help them secure a better future. We are deeply engaged in youth issues and we partner with youth service organizations to provide enhanced programs and services for young people and their families.

Our leadership role is apparent in our strong connections with youth service associations and major charitable organizations. For instance, YSB is a member of Children’s Mental Health Ontario and is an accredited child and youth mental health agency.  YSB is a founding member of the Ottawa Youth Justice Network, chair of the Alliance to End Homelessness and board member of Inner City Health and the Social Housing Registry.

Our expertise is also recognized by the numerous local groups and service agencies who count us as active members:

  • Mental Health Court Working Group
  • Suicide Prevention Ottawa
  • Somali Youth Network
  • LBGTQ2S youth service providers
  • HIV Prevention and Education Council
  • Ottawa Coalition on HIV/AIDS
  • Employment Reference Group
  • Wraparound

In addition, YSB’s internal working groups are focused on areas such as youth engagement, diversity in the workplace, and quality assurance. Our comprehensive knowledge is based both on the experience we gain from working with the thousands of people who come to YSB each month and on our ongoing education and training. In addition, we partner with the University of Ottawa to learn from the data we collect and to conduct joint research projects, all of which help us continually develop our expertise.

 

Ontario Trillium Foundation

 

Ontario Trillium Foundation logoThanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, YSB has been able to improve our IT infrastructure and enhance our virtual service delivery. This stable, integrated technological environment is now a foundational platform for program and service development and service quality improvement. Trillium’s investment in YSB allowed us to support staff and clients to use a virtual service platform which allows children, youth, and families to reliably access virtual mental health sessions, housing and homelessness supports, support groups and case management services.

In the News

Help lines inundated as anxiety over pandemic builds

CBC, Mar 25, 2020

Feds commit $3.1M to Riverside Drive affordable housing project
Ottawa Business Journal, July 4, 2019

Campers spend frigid night at Lansdowne Park for homeless youth

Ottawa Citizen, December 7, 2018

Third annual hoops tournament encourages youths to reach for the top

Ottawa Citizen,  July 8, 2018

West end youth build community with basketball
– Ottawa Citizen, June 2016

Helping Ottawa’s homeless youth
– Ottawa Citizen, December 2015

Getting homeless youth back on track
– Ottawa Citizen, December 2015

Youth Services Bureau launches chat room for teens in crisis,
580 CFRA, October 16, 2015.

Youth Crisis Line,
CTV Ottawa, 
October, 2015.

Ottawa’s young women’s emergency shelter turns 20,
CBC News Ottawa, September 24, 2015.

Training centre for detained youth ‘about more than bricks and mortar’: director,
Ottawa South News, September 11, 2015.

The UpBeat: More than 240 graduate from Jobs for Youth Program,
Ottawa Citizen, September 11, 2015.

New trades training centre for at-risk youth opens,
CTV News Ottawa, September 10, 2015.

New trades centre to help create brighter future for at-risk youth,
580 CFRA, September 10, 2015.

Profile: A young aboriginal woman’s mental health struggles,
Ottawa Citizen, June 14, 2015.

Youth Services Bureau to add new web-based crisis chat service,
Ottawa Metro, May 13, 2015.

Program helps students with mental health issues gain Strength,
Ottawa Sun, February 17, 2015.

Around Town: OGHA’s Wine Wintertime,
Ottawa Citizen, January 30, 2015.

Troubled youth are the focus of nearly-finished training centre,
CBC News Ottawa, January 9, 2015.

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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.

Milo*

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