Youth Central (formerly Child and Youth Friendly Calgary) envisions a society where all youth participate in shaping a vibrant community. This vision is based on the firm belief that young people who experience involvement and philanthropy at an early age grow up with an ongoing sense of responsibility. Youth in modern society are undervalued and should be challenged to do more: they need to be included in all aspects of community life.
Through various initiatives, Youth Central provides youth the opportunity to volunteer, serve on steering committees, voice their opinions to business leaders and politicians, learn about the diversity in their community, serve on a youth foundation and develop citizenship skills. Youth Central achieves its mission by way of nine innovative programs and events – each with a different focus on youth engagement. The programs are primarily aimed at youth between the ages of 12-18.
When junior and senior high school aged youth get involved in Youth Central’s programs, they gain experience in areas of volunteerism, philanthropy, teamwork and leadership. In addition, youth enhance their self-esteem while making new friendships. The community is opened up to them and they learn about its rich diversity, at the same time gaining valuable employment skills to help prepare them for the future!
Inspiring, engaging and celebrating youth through community participation.
All youth participate in shaping a vibrant community.
We believe that youth are awesome!
We honour the power of the youth voice and the importance of youth in our society.
We value a community in which all youth are respected and encouraged to be active citizens.
We value the diversity, skills, creativity and talents of our volunteers, participants and staff.
We value community partnerships that align with our vision and mission.
JoAnne James, producer of the Calgary International Children’s Festival, returned from a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, with an exciting idea to build a child friendly city. While Edinburgh’s initiative was focused on tourism, the original concept of Youth Central was that of developing diverse opportunities for children and youth to get involved and have a voice in their communities.
Penny Hume became Youth Central’s (formerly Child & Youth Friendly Calgary) first executive director in 1992 and she continues to steward this award-winning charitable non-profit organization today. Youth Central is a worldwide recognized authority for including youth in the community. The Youth Central concept is spreading and has assisted many cities around the world in developing their own youth-inclusive initiatives modeled after their programs but tailored to their own community’s specific needs.
In 2010, Child and Youth Friendly Calgary decided that it was time for a much-needed face lift. The organization needed something more representative of what the organization has grown into – youth-driven, fun, creative and primarily targeting teenagers aged 12-18. Youth Central was the name selected.