As York Region moves back into lockdown and into an unusually difficult holiday season, I thought it would be an appropriate time to reflect on the many positives we were able to accomplish at 360°kids this year. Through the quick thinking and adapting of our staff, the support of our volunteers and the dedication of our donors, we as an organization were able to do a real 360° and step up to the challenges that 2020 brought to us.
Our counseling program went virtual in April and saw our Counsellors’ caseloads grow to 160 youth, an increase of 540% from the year prior. The team stayed dedicated in supporting the mental health and well-being of our young people during an emotionally turbulent time.
In our employment programs, 252 intakes were completed with youth between April 2020 and November 2020. At a time when many in the community were facing layoffs and job loss, our youth were being equipped with the tools and skills needed to succeed and support themselves.
Housing continued to be an important focus to help youth move from crisis to stability. We supported 114 youth across York Region in our housing programs, ensuring that these youth had a safe place to stay, a plan of action on how to move forward and a 360°kids team member they could count on when they needed help.
iGrad, our alternative school, did not skip a beat throughout the year as we continued to support youth through its online learning format. 360°kids staff worked to facilitate drop offs and pickups of work and materials needed to support student learning, and as always, the students were already connected to that extra layer of support with their case worker.
I am proud to say that while the pandemic may have changed the way we worked with the youth, our commitment to meeting their needs never stopped. This could not have been achieved without the support of all of you.
Thank you for your phone calls, e-mails and words of encouragement. Thank you for continuing to help us raise awareness about homelessness and its impact on young people. And, of course, thank you for your donations that enable us to provide essential services to homeless youth.
Have a safe and happy holiday season,