The Studio is one of Delisle’s most popular services. It’s a safe place where youth aged 13-21 can hang out in the evenings to socialize with peers, prepare and eat freshly cooked meals, and enjoy hobbies or games – there’s even an onsite recording studio!
Three youths who regularly visit The Studio recently worked on a planning committee for Join The Community, a youth resilience grant. To wrap up the initiative, they created photovoice projects that describe their overall experience with The Studio, covering their cautious first experiences to having the time of their lives. Although nervous at first to join a new community, all three youth had life-changing experiences at The Studio that will stay with them forever.
Click each image to read the full story.
Our 43rd Annual General Meeting was a great success. Highlights of the meeting included our wonderful keynote speakers and award-winners.
Dr. Peter Szatmari shared his perspectives on child and youth mental health as a seasoned professional in the field. His insightful speech put Canada’s efforts in a global context, and inspired attendees to apply this broader view of the topic to their own experiences here in Toronto.
New DYS Board member Mike Scott spoke passionately about his daughter’s experience with Visions, one of our Day Treatment programs. We heard his thoughts, as a father, on the difference that DYS made in the life of his daughter, and in their family as a whole. We are proud that our organization has made such a difference for his family.
Mary Muir took home the Motivator Award for her achievements with James’ Journey, a fundraiser dedicated to removing the stigma associated with mental illness and supporting the In-School & Counselling Programs at Delisle Youth Services. Since 2013, James’ Journey has raised nearly $60,000 for Delisle’s in-school and counselling programs. You can join her in her efforts by donating to James’ Journey here.
Jenna took home the youth-focussed “Stepping Forward, Speaking Up” award for her involvement in the Merge Day Treatment program, and delivered a passionate speech about her experience with Delisle. She’s also featured in one of our summer student youth mental health videos, where she speaks about Merge.
Thank you to all who came out to the DYS AGM. If you didn’t make it out, you can still download a copy of the Delisle Youth Services Annual Report.
Check out these four videos created by our talented summer students, Marc and Shayna. They’ll help you learn a little more about trans youth, bust a mental health myth, and hear about some of the services here at DYS:
In I AM ME: The Lives of 4 Trans Youth, Jhun, Christopher, Leo, and Rachel share their opinions on topics like pronouns, coming out, and the trans community.
Mental Health Myth-Busting! dispels five of today’s most common myths about mental health issues. Watch the video to help #BustTheStigma.
Learn about DYS’s Merge Day Treatment Program. In this video, we hear from staff and students about the importance of Merge.
Counselling Intake at Delisle is a simple and friendly overview of what to expect when you come in for counselling intake at DYS.
We hope you’ve learned a little more about Delisle Youth Services and our youth clients. Please share these videos with those who may benefit from them.
Three of our volunteers were recently recognized for their outstanding dedication to the Delisle Youth Services community. Chelsea Davies-Kneis, Rebecca Magnus, and Linda Tyndall received Outstanding Volunteer Awards from the City of Toronto, which honour exceptional volunteers in the Eglinton-Lawrence area. The awards were formally distributed by M.P.P Mike Colle at a ceremony in June. We couldn’t be more proud of these three women.
Visions is a Day Treatment Program offered by Delisle Youth Services in order to help high school students who struggle with conventional education. By accessing alternative learning options, these youth are empowered to explore opportunities for their future as all high school students should. This June we were pleased to graduate a new group of students who benefited from the Visions Day Treatment services this year. Cat was one of many happy students to graduate.
Cat spoke at the graduation ceremony and had this to say:
Two years doesn’t really seem like a long time, but when I look back it feels like part of another life. I started at Delisle after a long struggle with depression and anxiety. I had been to a hospital program where I didn’t really develop the skills that I needed. From there I went to a private school, which lasted all of five seconds. From the moment I came to visit Delisle’s day treatment program, Visions (though it hadn’t been named Visions yet), I loved it. The reason I didn’t go straight from my hospital program to Delisle was because of its location. Through these past two years the location only ever affected what I was eating for lunch, because of its lack of spots to eat.
Once I started Delisle I changed. I became who I am today thanks to everyone that played a part in helping me find myself, from teachers to CYW’s to the youth. It sure as hell took me a while to get comfortable with everyone, such as my amazing CYW Adriana. But when I did, it wasn’t like I was talking to my therapist. I made a connection with this person who could relate to everything I was feeling, and could point me towards the right direction. She changed my life, and I cannot thank her enough. But she is not the only one that played a part in helping. Deena, the boss lady, has also helped me. She sits at her desk, and we don’t get to see her as often as the CYW’s but you definitely know when she enters the room. Deena helped me a lot when it came to letting go, something that truly still scares me. Her lovely, yet sort of crazy ways are part of why my experience at Delisle was so good. Nothing that I write or say comes close to the importance these people have had on my life.
School is school and I’ve been to a few schools, but I’m going to miss this one the most. It’s part of me, the time I’ve spent here. It amazes me that the girl that walked through the kitchen door two years ago is leaving as a very different person. As scary as it is to leave, I’ve learned all those things I needed and I’m going to be okay no matter what life throws my way. I still have bad days, and I still get panic attacks, but I’ve learned how to cope, how to fight through it all. Which is something I needed to learn to do. Without Delisle I would not be the person I am today, a person that I’m proud to be.
We’re proud of Cat and the rest of the Visions youth for such a successful year and happy graduation. Best of luck in the future!
Visions is only one of two Day Treatment Programs offered by Delisle. Learn more about Delisle’s Day Treatment Programs.
We kicked off the #DYSPride celebrations in style today! DYS and Studio staff were joined by youth, Toronto Library staff, and other drop-in visitors to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community the best way we know how: performances, food, and great conversations.
We were kept hydrated by our local Starbucks and DAVID’s Tea, and The Vegan Duchess kindly provided snacks that were a great addition to the other food on offer. More photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.
For years Delisle Youth Services (DYS) has worked in partnership with the Toronto District School Board to make confidential, in-school counselling available to students. Our goal has always been to provide the support young people need to stay in school and graduate alongside their peers, including counselling, group support and advocacy. We have worked with youth to develop action plans that connect them to the resources they need and to achieve the outcomes they are seeking.
To date, the schools that have hosted our counsellors have included:
- Northern Secondary School
- North Toronto Collegiate Institute
- Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute
- York Memorial Collegiate Institute
- Vaughan Road Academy
- City Adult Learning Centre (CALC)
Unfortunately, after June 2015 DYS will be operating only out of Northern Secondary School and CALC.
Our Executive Director, Marg Campbell, has written a response to a recent Toronto Star article on this change in service (Teens distressed over loss of cherished mental health counsellors, June 05, 2015) that covers our reasons for this difficult decision:
June 9, 2015
Letter to the Editor
Re: Teens distressed over loss of cherished mental health counsellors
Since 1970, Delisle Youth Services has been meeting the mental health needs of young people in Toronto. Today, we continue to work closely with our partners to ensure mental health services are available to our youth. Like many agencies, though, we face financial and structural challenges that make our work more difficult.
Most recently, those challenges forced us to reduce our services in TDSB schools. While we regret having to make that decision, we remain committed to working in partnership to ensure children and their families get the care they need, when and where they need it.
Even though the demand for our services is increasing, Children’s Mental Health providers like Delisle have not had a base funding increase from government in over a decade. In response, we are increasing our fund raising capacity. We are partnering with charities such as Second Harvest to help us feed young people in our residential and drop in services. And we share administrative services to increase our capacity and reduce our costs.
All charitable organizations are under great financial duress –that is not unique to Delisle. Like our partners in this important service system, we remain committed to conquering the challenges before us to continue providing the best possible services to our community.
Delisle Youth Services
Thanks to a Canada Summer Jobs grant, we have been able to hire youth staff members Maddie and Marc to create videos for Delisle Youth Services. Maddie and Marc are in their fourth week of work and have already exceeded our expectations by creating 4 astounding videos surrounding the topics of mental health stigma and LBGTQ+ youth. The videos represent youth at DYS as well as our community and issues at large. We are so proud of everything Maddie and Marc have done to engage youth and community members throughout this project and we hope these videos will make a splash!
This post was inspired by United Way’s Imagine a City blog and was written by a group of talented and passionate youth members of Delisle Youth Services’ Youth Engagement Committee.
Delisle Youth Services has created a safe haven for youth in high schools with their in-school counselling program. Delisle has placed child and youth workers in high schools who youth can visit for any reason, whether they are having a mental health issue or just need a break from the daily stressors of school life. The counselors maintain a welcoming environment and always have an open door.
Delisle also offers an alternative to the mainstream high school with their day program. The day program is a school and a safe space, where youth who are unable to cope with mainstream high school can go to escape some of the more hectic and stressful aspects of school life. The day program has small and relaxed classes, child and youth workers on hand, and is a place where the youth know that they matter. The teachers and child and youth workers at the day program care about their students and try to take an active role in their life. This is a place where students do not need to be scared of being ignored, ostracised, or condemned for who they are. The day program will also teach youth the tools to move on to the next chapter of their life.
The Studio is a Delise operated youth drop-in center where youth can drop by, relax, and be themselves in a judgment-free space. The Studio runs many activities that give youth the opportunity to try things out in a pressure-free environment. The Studio has a recording studio where youth can make music; it has countless art supplies, and different workshops on issues relevant to youth. The Studio is also home to the STARS Project which is specifically for LGBTQ youth. The STARS Project is especially important because it gives LGBTQ youth a space where they are surrounded by people who understand and support them. With The Studio, Delisle has created a supportive youth-driven community.
On Thursday July 4th, two of Delisle’s skilled counsellors, Angela and Andrea, delivered a presentation to the staff about mental health. This may seem redundant, right? We work in a mental health agency, after all. The purpose of this presentation was to educate non-frontline workers (finance, admin, etc.) about mental health and to act as a refresher for frontline workers.
We have a strong commitment to a high standard of care for the youth and families we serve. In order to best support our clients, it is important for staff to take care of themselves as well. We have amazing resources at our fingertips so there are opportunities for us to share our ideas, thoughts, and best practices.
This workshop was a prime example of Delisle practicing what we preach. We want to be our best at work and in our personal lives. Talking about mental health reminds us that there is always something new to learn, and that it never hurts to be refreshed. Opening ourselves to more learning will make us more open individuals who are able to create safe spaces for others at work and at home.
We want to extend a huge thank you to Andrea and Angela for their commitment to mental health and for their knowledge on the subjects.
You can read about the new National Standard in Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace here.