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Supporting Our Youth

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Supporting Our Youth (SOY) is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada based organization. It runs programs and events geared to supporting the special needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and intersex youth.

What is SOY? Edit

Supporting Our Youth (SOY) is an exciting, dynamic community development project designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered youth in Toronto through the active involvement of youth and adult communities. We work to create healthy arts, culture and recreational spaces for young people; to provide supportive housing and employment opportunities; and to increase youth access to adult mentoring and support.

SOY History Edit

The Toronto Coalition for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth was formed in 1991 as an open network of social service professionals, health care providers, educators, youth, parents, activists and other individuals concerned with improving the quality of life for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in Toronto. The Coalition found that the division between lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and adults was an issue for Toronto's queer community. Young people expressed feeling alienated from the community and separated from adults at precisely the time in their lives when they were most vulnerable and isolated. Adults expressed regret that a city the size of Toronto, with its large lesbian, gay and bisexual community, didn't offer more youth-oriented, youth-focused social and recreational alternatives.

After forming a volunteer advisory committee and conducting a six-month study to determine the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth, the Supporting Our Youth Project was launched in April of 1998. Funded by the Trillium Foundation, Supporting Our Youth was originally developed as a three-year community development project, designed to create opportunities for lesbian, gay and bisexual youth in such areas as sports and recreation, arts and culture, employment, and mentoring and housing. Based at Central Toronto Youth Services, a children's mental health centre in downtown Toronto, this exciting, dynamic project evolved into an ongoing effort, with a variety of innovative initiatives, a hardworking and dedicated staff and enthusiastic, committed volunteers.

In September 2004, SOY officially became a program of the Sherbourne Health Centre, where we continue to offer the same opportunities for adults and youth to build community together in unique, exciting and creative ways.

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