Research Projects

There is little research to help community organizations that support marginalized youth to understand the effectiveness of programs that were previously provided in face-to-face contexts transition to online formats in the COVID-19 pandemic era. As well, there are few resources available to help community organizations make this transition from face-to-face to online learning opportunities as it requires access to technology and accommodating home environments and schedules of parents and participants.

Standardized testing scores show a two-tiered public education system exists in Canada. In Toronto, for example, schools in the Jane and Finch community consistently score lower on provincial literacy and math tests than the city’s average by 11.3% in primary school, 14% in middle school, and 24% in secondary school. In response to achievement gaps in the two-tiered public school system, community groups operate Supplement Education Programs (SEPs) that aim to improve math and literacy levels by offering academic instruction after school hours, on weekends, and during summer breaks, often combined with unconventional activities like sports or arts. 

This chapter uses comparative spatial analysis and Critical Race Theory to outline an overview of systemic and institutional barriers impeding academic achievement of racialized students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds living in under-resourced racialized communities in Toronto, Canada. Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE), a nonprofit community organization in the Jane and Finch neighborhood, is examined as a case study in closing the achievement gap in the community by investing in minimizing the inequality of opportunity impacting young children, youth, and families in the area.

February 1st, 2018  

YAAACE entered into a contractual agreement  with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Justice Tulloch to coordinate and host the Independent Street Checks Review.  The public consultation process requires YAAACE to work collaboratively with Justice Tulloch and his team to coordinate and host a series of consultation sessions across the Province of Ontario (Toronto (West, East, Downtown), Hamilton, London, Ajax, Ottawa, Markham, Sudbury, Brampton and Windsor) between February 1st/2018 and April 23rd 2018. Justice Tulloch and his team are undertaking a full and independent review of Ontario Regulation58/16 which outlines Ontario’s new rules on police street checks, a practice sometimes refer to as “carding.” YAAACE’s role in this process is to ensure that the most vulnerable citizens are heard from as it relates to their interaction with police across the province of Ontario. 

In partnership with the Department of Justice this project was born out of a desire to explore systemic issues impacting educational attainment for  young people in conflict with the law and those at risk to guns, gangs and drugs.  This project explores current educational programming for the aforementioned cohort of students.  By asking organizations to discuss what “curriculum” means to their organization and how this is later implemented for young people, this project aims to explore the ways in which this work enhances rehabilitation as well as civic and social inclusion.

On February 16–17, 2012, The Department of Justice, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, York University Center for Education and Community, The Toronto District School Board and The Youth association for Academics, Athletics and Character Education hosted a collaborative conference in the North York area of Toronto. Entitled Being Proactive: Supporting Children and Youth Mental Health and Wellness in Schools and Communities, the conference took as its specific focus the impact of violence, poverty, racism, loss/bereavement, abandonment and neglect, street/gang life, incarceration, and institutional and community apathy on the mental health of children and youth, especially those living in the city’s poor and racialized communities.