Our partner with street-involved youth…
Since 1944, Youth Unlimited (Toronto YFC) has been reaching out to, and caring for, young people in the Greater Toronto Area from every culture and walk of life. Placing the highest value on grace, trust, hope and truth, Youth Unlimited specializes in guiding young people to “one more chance” when it appears there are no more.
In 1991 the agency first began seeking out homeless youth too afraid, uncertain or untrusting of adults to seek help – those so deeply wounded that they would remain “hidden” before seeking the assistance of a shelter, drop-in centre or meal program.
Light Patrol is an outreach program of Youth Unlimited (Toronto YFC) that responds to the needs of Toronto’s homeless and street-involved youth. Since 2001, Light Patrol has been assisting and guiding vulnerable young people and helping them transition away from the destructive elements of street life. They are a mobile outreach program that travels within Toronto’s inner city areas, searching out and assisting youth who are on the extreme margins of society. While the target age group is those under 25 years, they provide immediate care for any needy person who seeks their help.
Light Patrol has developed three specialized teams to respond to the challenges of this complex work:
Homeless Youth Outreach:
A large red and black RV serves as a mobile base for the homeless youth outreach initiative called “Curb Light”. This 30 foot motorhome gives Light Patrol it’s most visible presence on the street, travelling three times a week on a designated route throughout Toronto’s city core. Known for nutritious home cooking and warm hospitality, Curb Light travels to several locations per night where homeless young people await. Beyond the thousands of hot meals served each year, countless clothing articles, hygiene items, sleeping bags and blankets are distributed to those in need.
Special Care for Girls:
Girls are especially vulnerable to the dangers of the city streets. Light Patrol’s “Safe Light” team cares for the needs of young women whose journeys commonly involve abuse and sexual exploitation. Safe Light begins with outreach activities that bring practical help to girls who face the cruelest elements of street life. Recently, their outreach efforts have expanded into massage parlours and include help for human trafficking victims within various ethnicities and language groups. Girls also participate in weekly group activities or meet individually with staff for counseling and teaching.
Street Health Unit:
Most street youth in Toronto have at least one serious health concern. Health Light not only provides immediate medical care, but also advocates for the health care needs of street youth and assists in recovery planning and support. At Youth Unlimited, they always promote healthy options, while discouraging harmful and illegal practices. Light Patrol is well known on the streets for relief work. While this is an important accomplishment, the food and material goods distributed are not the things that restore hope. The long term effectiveness of their work comes through caring relationships, community building and holistic care (physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual).