Founded in 2007, the Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) is a community organization that seeks to engage children and youth from all communities – particularly those from marginalized and poor under-resourced communities through participation in year round comprehensive programming and activities (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts). Y.A.A.A.C.E’s mandate is twofold: to build capacity in all children and youth thus enhancing their capacity to become twenty first century learners and global citizens.


The Youth Association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education (Y.A.A.A.C.E) uses a social inclusion framework that enables participants to access opportunities, engage in academic activities, build self-confidence, and enhance self-identification. Y.A.A.A.C.E’s social inclusion framework is a socio-mechanism designed to impact the lives of children and youth so that they grow, learn and play in a context that is responsive and supportive of their needs, interests, expectations and aspirations, thereby enhancing the likelihood of them becoming twenty first century learners and global citizens.


Y.A.A.A.C.E’s social inclusion strategy is a socio-mechanism co-constructed by frontline workers, educators, researchers, academics, law enforcement personnel and stakeholders with a vested interest in children, youth and community. The objective of the social inclusion strategy is to nurture and incubate the vast potential of children and youth   becoming twenty first century learners and global citizens. The program design pivots on the provision of comprehensive year round programming (academics, athletics, recreation, technology and the arts). The operational framework is as follows: outreach and wraparound; arts, athletics and expanded opportunities; academic intervention and support (the Weekend Academy and Summer Institute); research and curriculum development (specifically, the creation of a curriculum that targets reflective education and seeks to mitigate negative environmental factors that compromise academic engagement for students in racialized communities).

  1. Outreach and wraparound – Identifying children and youth who would benefit most from our programming and providing wrap around comprehensive program support and a multi-layered support system that consists of coaches, mentors, educators and field-specific professionals.
  2. The Arts, Athletics and Expanded Opportunities – Providing children and youth access to arts-related programming, technology, athletics, recreation and expanded opportunities without the dracian costs. YAAACE relishes the opportunity to deliver affordable quality programming accessible to all children and youth.
  3. Academic Intervention and Support – Engaging children and youth struggling academically through intensive academic support. YAAACE has implemented programming tasked with closing the achievement/opportunity gap by identifying the most volatile demographics of students and putting the appropriate intervention strategies in place.
  4. Research and curriculum development: Developing a curriculum for children and youth that targets five growth areas: identity, resilience, opportunity, accountability and self-advocacy, supported by evidence-based research.
  5. Advocacy and Reflective Services: Collaborating with various universities and levels of government allows YAAACE the ability to continue to write and publish about issues impacting racialized children and youth in marginalized and under-resourced communities.
The “Social Inclusion Street Team” seeks to mitigate the marginalization and attrition of children and youth who reside in the Humber River – Black Creek and surrounding communities and those from similar communities with similar demographic data across Canada. The team is tasked with enhancing the social determinants of student engagement and achievement. The Social Inclusion Street Team” will function as a conduit between the school boards, the community, and YAAACE. The team will work with the various stakeholders to identify the most volatile cohort of students to ensure that they have access to academic support, recreational programming. expanded opportunities, comprehenulve wraparound support, cultural considerations of care and reflective services, etc. The prevention and intervention strategies that will be put in place will seek to build capacity in marginalized students by providing them a viable alternative to guns, risk, and attrition.

Toronto’s Jane-Finch Community suffers from one of the highest violent crime rates in the province of Ontario and is widely acknowledged as one of the most socially and economically disadvantaged communities in all of Canada.  

It is believed that the Jane-Finch community has the highest concentration of youth gangs in Canada.