Gaining Ground Strategy

Empty three-lane street at night painted with a left-turn arrow

Over the Next 4 Years

Youth Unlimited continues to be guided by our Making Space pathways in the areas of vulnerable youth, mental health, church integration of youth, and living out wholistic transformation. In the coming four years, we believe God is inviting us to ‘gain ground’ – to invest and reach into new places, new spaces, and new ways of doing things to see more and more transformed youth transforming our city. Our Gaining Ground strategy is guided by five commitments. We are excited for you to join us on the journey!

5 Commitments

Stable Housing

Commitment 1: Address the urgent need for stable housing among youth and their families.

Over the last two years, 88% of our ministry teams across the GTA have had to address housing insecurity with the youth they serve and support.

Recognizing the urgent need for stable housing among those we serve, we will support our YU youth and their families facing housing insecurity through a collaborative multi-faceted approach, including providing housing opportunities and fostering “radical hospitality” in the Christian community.

Multi-Service Spaces

Commitment 2: Develop multi-service spaces offering wholistic supports to youth and their families.

Studies show that youth with at least one consistent, trusted adult in their life minimize their risk of disengaging from education and employment, and more strongly develop their identity, empathy, and a sense of hope for the future.

In order to deepen our wholistic engagement with youth and their families, we will pilot safe and familiar multi-service spaces.

Neighbourhood Church Mobilization

Commitment 3: Mobilize neighbourhood churches to integrate community youth and their families.

According to 12 of our most experienced frontline staff, churches embedded in their neighbourhood with an intentional plan and multiple approaches to welcome and engage youth are most likely to help these young people experience long-term belonging in their faith community.

Given our desire to increase engagement between neighbourhood churches and community youth throughout their lives, we will proactively encourage, equip, mobilize and partner with local churches to design and implement effective support structures and ‘pathways of integration’ for neighbourhood youth.

New Ministries

Commitment 4: Launch new ministries among both under-served youth and neighbourhoods.

Youth Unlimited currently serves in five of Toronto’s 31 Neighbourhood Improvement Areas.

Given our vision and desire that every youth in the GTA will be transformed by God’s love, we will proactively start up ministry initiatives to serve new neighbourhoods and/or under-served youth populations.

South Sudan Partnership

Commitment 5: Cultivate a collaborative partnership with YFC South Sudan.

After more than two decades of civil war, the median age of South Sudan is 18.6 years, compared to 41 years in Canada.

As part of the international YFC movement, in order to more effectively fulfill our shared vision of reaching every young person locally and globally, we will enter into a collaborative partnership with YFC South Sudan.


Stable Housing

This commitment will: 1) Build upon our existing emergency residence; 2) Focus on raising awareness among the Christian community of the urgent need for housing, and 3) Provide opportunities for radical hospitality (such as training and equipping volunteers to offer short-term stays within their homes). We will also explore partnerships with like-minded organizations building affordable housing to provide relational supports and contextual programming to youth and families transitioning to stable housing.

Housing in the life of a Young Parent

Having a stable roof over your head and a place to call home brings a level of dignity that many of us take for granted. Housing (or lack thereof) has such an impact on the mental health of a youth and brings stability to many different aspects of their lives. I have seen a number of young moms' lives take a beautiful turn for the better when they find stable housing. There is hope for the future when they are no longer transient. (Lee Sommerfeldt, Young Parents Program Leader)

Multi-Service Spaces

Building upon the well-established Scarborough presence of our DOXA team, we will pilot a ‘hub’ space in this community to offer comprehensive supports to young people and their families. This space will engage other YU teams and partnering churches to impact youth and families in a variety of ways (job skills training, counseling, fitness programs, etc.). As our strategy unfolds, we will also explore piloting a mobile space to meet the unique needs of those served by our Rahab team.
Red Central Services blurb

The importance of community hubs

Integral mission is close to the heart of God. This wholistic focus by God is expressed through His relentless pursuit of people and His desire to personally meet their needs - both spiritually and physically. Serving as a youth worker in Scarborough since 1996, God has been stirring in my heart, and the DOXA Team, over the last few years, to begin to pursue a multi-service space to facilitate a more wholistic approach to youth ministry in our urban context. (Calvin Russell, Director of DOXA)

Yellow blurb saying "Living out wholistic transformation"

Neighbourhood Church Mobilization

We will work to expand our network of meaningful church partnerships, especially among diaspora communities. Specifically, we will pilot partnerships with three churches in different neighbourhoods and equip them to help see youth flourish in these communities of faith. Finally, we will grow and train a network of volunteers within church communities to offer wholistic support through circles of care to youth experiencing vulnerability.

A church partner's perspective

Our relationship with Youth Unlimited has not only changed the landscape of our church, but our surrounding neighbourhood, as well. YU’s support equips us to better understand our community’s needs. We have developed meaningful, trusting relationships with community families, and have witnessed God transform the lives of the youth to whom we minister. (Rob Cripps, Lead Pastor, Capstone Community Bible Church)

New Ministries

We will aim to launch three new neighbourhood-based outreach programs in under-served communities, as well as one new specialized program reaching a specific demographic of under-served youth. To support this growth, our recruitment strategy will focus on building a team of young frontline workers in these initiatives.
Red Central Services blurb

Engaging Under-Served Youth

Touching the hearts of young people must be done in a heartfelt manner. The best approach to engaging unserved youth is to help them meet their most basic need for identity. We are excited to collaborate with Youth Unlimited and Paul Buchan. Our new boxing initiative has been an excellent approach to meeting some of the needs of unreached young people. (Melad and Azza Markos, Founders of Love Unending Ministries)

South Sudan Partnership

We will humbly and thoughtfully build upon our new relationship with YFC South Sudan to: (1) create opportunities for learning, (2) grow our interculturalness to effectively reach all youth, and (3) engage YU programs in the partnership to reach more youth locally and globally. We will seek opportunities to strategically support YFC South Sudan programs and launch effective and safe service opportunities.

A mutually beneficial partnership

*What an honour and joy to see YU partner with YFC South Sudan! God provided James Thomas Ochuho, a young man who grew up in a Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. We trained him and, at the end of December 2021, he decided to return to Juba to start YFC South Sudan! This ministry is growing very well, reaching youth through school and sports ministries, and computer training. I look forward to seeing what the Lord will do as we provide wholistic ministry to young people who have been devastated by decades of civil war. (Luc Dushimerugaba, YFC East Africa Regional Director)

Supporting the Commitments

For Youth Unlimited to move forward with this Gaining Ground strategy, recruiting young ministry workers, primarily through our internship program, will remain a key focus. Over the next four years, we will continue building the internship program to support the growth and development of both existing and new ministries, while also developing youth workers for effective service. Click the link below to learn more about our internship program. If you would like to learn more about how you or your church can help Youth Unlimited gain ground in one of these five commitments, contact Carl Nash, our Ministry Director, at

Learn about our Internship Program