Every year, thousands of vulnerable youth don't get a chance to realize their potential. At Trails, we don't believe it has to be this way. The right amount of guidance, support and structure could change everything. These seemingly simple things is what stands in between vulnerable youth in our communities from reaching their potential. Trails is about prevention. Helping our participants identify their strengths and imbuing them with a desire to seek further education and/or productive careers.
Trails supports vulnerable youth (ages 12-17) from some of the most challenged regions of Toronto. Our youth come from multicultural backgrounds that represent the communities of Toronto. Trails provides participants with a foundational code of conduct; Roots & Wings, Fun with a Purpose, and Physical & Emotional Safety, that influences their choices, behaviors and actions in support of building healthy and meaningful relationships.
We take great pride in knowing that the four year Trails model and the curriculum we've developed produce lasting results.
We have proof that we are on the right track - 90% of youth who have gone through the Trails programme go on to post-secondary education.
Warren Clarke is one of the 2000 alumni of the Trails Programme. Warren began Trails at the age of 12 in 1992, was a member of Sweet and Sour Group, graduating in 1997. As a young boy Warren grew up in an inner city environment during early to mid-90s, and Trails became a place where he developed skills to grow up in this environment, the relevant knowledge to help deal with real-life issues, and the confidence to become responsible for his future.
In 2015 Warren graduated with a Masters in Anthropology from Guelph University. He has published pieces of his MA thesis research, Youth Outreach Work: Using Solidarity to Empower Youth, in the Canadian Anthropology Society Cultural News Letter “Social Movements and Solidarities” (Fall 2015). Warren's recent article submission to Youth Voice Journal was nominated and shortlisted for the Youth Research Project Award of the Year Category for the IARS Research and Youth Leadership Awards 2015.
O Rian Reid, in 2002 at the age of 12, started as a member of the Red Hotz. In 2007, he graduated from the Leader in Training Programme. In 2010, he became a recipient of the Danielle Dion Bursary, where he completed his Master's degree in Materials Science in September at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in 2015. He continues to give back to Trails as an Alumni Mentor, helping other graduates find their wings.
Shivani Bhat, member of the Blazzing Hott Group began Trails in 2004 and graduated from Trails in 2008. Upon completion of high school in 2010, she currently conducted her master's thesis in nutrition at the University of Cambridge, and received the Research Experience Award from King's College London.
"If the analogy holds, that building a strong foundation brick-by-brick raises well rounded adults, Trails constructs walls. There is no single brick that defines Trails contribution in the lives of its Alumni, but rather, a cascade of bricks that, together, foster individuals with the confidence, charisma, and character to redefine the world around them. Fundamentally, Trails has instilled the value of initiative in me. It is the confidence of knowing that acting on your ambitions can make them a reality."
"Overall my experience at Trails has been a transformative experience. I don't know what direction my life would have taken if it were not for the support and guidance of the program and Mr. Sylvain Dion my mentor."
"I had so many great moments at Trails. The most I enjoyed was the Year 4 Summer Canoe Trip. On that trip I gained so much confidence in myself. I also improved my leadership skills. Trails helped me a lot over the years. I improved so much in school. I got my first 92% in art! I also got an 87% in history which I won an award for, and I got 100% on my culminating project! Trails has pushed me to become a better person in life. I am also so much better at home. I help a lot around the house and my family is really happy! I am so thankful that I am part of Trails, and I am really thankful that I have great people supporting me just like you."
"I want to thank you for all you have done. It is far more than you know. A lot has happened in the past 5 years. My mom died right before I came to Trails and my Aunt died of cancer when I was in year two. I was put into foster care but changed homes five times. I am now adopted and live in a stable home but through all that Trails has been the one thing that has always been there for me.” - Brad Cosburn, Graduate 2013