Founded in 1992, Youth Central celebrates and empowers Calgary-based youth. As a charitable non-profit, we offer diverse programming aimed at inspiring, engaging and celebrating youth through community-building and social inclusion. Our volunteer, leadership and outreach programs invite local youth aged 12 to 18 to develop new skills and gain a sense of belonging through community participation.
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.
I first started volunteering as an 11 year old because I thought it would be fun. Over time, I began to understand that volunteering is also about developing life skills, maturity and contributing to the community.
Volunteering on the Youth of Distinction Awards committee has allowed me to recognize youth across Calgary for their talents and services. as a committee member, I selected recipients for the awards and helped plan the ceremony at the Calgary Zoo. Youth Central has also allowed me to express myself creatively through the YAA blog, which I write for on a monthly basis.
I first started volunteering as an 11 year old because I thought it would be fun. Over time, I began to understand that volunteering is also about developing life skills, maturity and contributing to the community. Now, I volunteer for projects that fuel my passion and to meet people who are also passionate about solving issues. Having been rejected from many opportunities simply because of my age, the opportunity to be involved with Youth Central is something I am very thankful for.
As an active member of Youth Central, I have also been given chances to grow as a person, share my skills and gain experience for later in life. As a Youth Central volunteer, I’m embraced for my age and am able to learn and mature through exposure to a wide variety of experiences.
After high school, I plan to study biological sciences and eventually pursue a biological research career. Although Youth Central has not impacted my interest in biology, my involvement with the organization has increased my chances of achieving these post-secondary and career goals. Volunteering has also made me a better communicator, improving my ability to present research and reach out to others for opportunities in fields I am interested in.
Maybe the world isn’t perfect, and maybe there are problems that I cannot solve, but being involved with Youth Central has shown me that I don’t need to change the world, I just need to change someone’s world.
Before joining Youth Central I had a very negative mindset and constantly put myself down by telling myself that I was just a kid and I could never change the world. And maybe the world isn’t perfect, and maybe there are problems that I cannot solve, but being involved with Youth Central has shown me that I don’t need to change the world, I just need to change someone’s world. I do believe I’ve done that, and I suppose that is what being with Youth Central means to me; it is a chance to do good, when I didn’t think I could.
I used to volunteer to simply accumulate hours. I volunteered to buff up my applications, but then I joined Youth Central and I started volunteering with a desire to get more involved in my community and to learn as much about it as I could. I volunteered to help in places I felt passion for. Within a few weeks of volunteering with Youth Central, my motivation to volunteer was no longer a desire for hours, but rather experience. I want to learn something new everyday, and I cannot think of a better way to do it than volunteering.
Looking at the numerous experiences Youth Central has provided me, I think my favorite would have to be each and every connection I’ve made. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the time a lady gave me a candy after I wheeled her back to her room nor will I forget bonding with younger kids while playing with trains with them.
After high school, I’d like to go to business school and see where life takes me. Although, Youth Central did not direct my decision to go to business school, I do feel that it has impacted and shaped me a lot.
The opportunity to be a part of Youth Central and to be such an active voice in my city means the most to me because it shows me just how vital community, understanding and leadership are to creating safe spaces and environments where we can be heard.
My favourite experience with Youth Central was getting involved with a Downstage Theatre workshop project last year. We had the amazing chance to write poetry, stories and songs about our experiences and what it means to us to be youth in a rapidly changing world. The goal of the project was to create a link between youth voices and the fine arts, and it was a side of volunteering that I’d never seen before. Plus, I got to meet so many cool artists and directors from Downstage Theatre that I’m still connected with today.
The opportunity to be a part of Youth Central and to be such an active voice in my city means the most to me because it shows me just how vital community, understanding and leadership are to creating safe spaces and environments where we can be heard. To me, being a part of Youth Central and YVC is all about making an impact in your community that you want to see in the world, and understanding that your voice is important.
I volunteer because it’s fun! Volunteering is such a rewarding way to spend your time with other youth who are equally passionate about community and giving back. It’s also a great way to bring everyone together. I’ve met so many people my age who I’ve become incredibly close with that I’d never have met if I didn’t volunteer.
Everything I’ve learned from being a Youth Central volunteer is so important to who I am and I’m confident I’ll be able to take these skills to post-secondary as well. I’ve become more familiar with my community and the people in it, project planning, community outreach and how to take initiative for things you are passionate about. All this has helped me spark an interest for community and leadership, and these are things I know will continue to be a priority for me in the future.
My involvement with Youth Central has helped me with two key areas in my life. It has helped me become more assertive, which I use to advocate for the needs of the volunteers, and helping me to recognize diverse strengths in volunteers to help them best succeed at a project.
I have learned what it means to be both an effective leader and a compassionate leader while simultaneously learning to understand how much more important people are than projects.
I feel as though the Mayor’s Youth Council and Youth Central as a whole have not only shaped me but have been one of the most defining experiences of my high school career. This program has completely transformed my take on leadership. I’ve learned what it means to be both an effective leader and a compassionate leader while simultaneously learning to understand how much more important people are than projects.
Before I joined Youth Central, I viewed leadership as being able to achieve the goal at all costs, no matter the effect it has on a person’s well-being. In joining the Mayor’s Youth Council, I met people who completely changed my perspective and showed me how important it is for every team member to be at peak emotional well-being. Now I know it’s okay if we need to take an entire meeting just to check up on the whole group or just laugh and enjoy ourselves because people (especially high school students) need that relief and need to talk to people when they are experiencing challenges. I am so lucky to have joined Youth Central because I’m not sure that I would have learned this very valuable lesson otherwise.
Over the course of the past few years, I have met so many people from different countries, backgrounds and walks of life who share their stories with me. These stories and deeper connections push me to find as many outlets of volunteerism as I can. I want to learn from these groups of people so that I can help even more people and better understand the world around me.
After high school, I hope to pursue a career in law. I would say that Youth Central has definitely impacted my decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in political science. Once again my involvement with the Mayor’s Youth Council seriously piqued my interest in municipal affairs and the functioning of not only municipal but federal government structures as well. It has inspired me to try and understand how I can give back to my country in a way that pushes for significant change in both our legal and political systems.
Every opportunity I gain from the program is a new learning experience in which I meet new people or try things I've never done before. I get to experience local community projects and be of service to them. Experiencing issues first-hand allows me to become an executor in tackling these issues.
I first joined Youth Central as a general volunteer with the Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC) program. I later became involved with YVC Steering committee and the Calgary Youth Foundation.
One of my favourite experiences with Youth Central has been working with the Cinderella Project, which happened to be my very first volunteer project. I’ve had the opportunity to help graduates get ready for their graduations, see their faces light up when they find “the dress” and even give them fashion advice about which accessories to choose. Graduating high school is a milestone achievement and getting to celebrate with these grads is truly heartwarming.
Every opportunity I’m exposed to through Youth Central is a new learning experience in which I meet new people or try things I’ve never done before. I get to experience local community projects and be of service to them. Experiencing issues first-hand also allows me to understand how to tackle them.
I volunteer because I enjoy being immersed in my community in unique ways. I would never have had the opportunity to work with a farmers market, be a part of a fashion show or a hip-hop dance competition. The friendships I’ve made through each project are also an intangible reward. Through every new experience, I continue to love volunteering with Youth Central and I hope to continue fostering amazing experiences.
After high school, I am planning to study neuroscience at the University of Calgary. Throughout the time I have been a part of the program, I have met various volunteers who wanted to pursue this degree as well. Having kept in touch, they shared their experiences within the program and influenced my desire to apply.
Thanks to dedicated staff, motivated youth volunteers, and a strong board of directors, Youth Central continued to see growth in 2019. Like many organizations, we too have had to navigate the challenges of economic uncertainty in Calgary. Youth Central was grateful to rely on the unique skill set of our board as they supported our goals engaging local youth, expanding our connections, and elevating our profile in the community.
The board focused on governance in 2019 because good governance makes for a great organization. We took a fresh look at the Youth Central policies and procedures, revising and updating as needed. Consulting, evaluating, and communicating the implications of policies may not be thrilling, but it is essential work in building a resilient foundation.
We also launched an in-depth review of Youth Central’s guiding mission, vision and strategic plan. A broad range of feedback was collected from alumni, community partners, funders and external stakeholders to clarify Youth Central’s communication and relevance to the community. We gleaned insight about the quality, impact, awareness and perceptions of our work and how concepts like “volunteerism,” “leadership” and “social connections” inform our mission and vision. We are excited to expand upon this work in 2020.
2019 was a busy year for Youth Central, as we engaged over 1100 youth. Our volunteers impressively donated over 30,000 volunteer hours to the Calgary community and helped 93 community organizations and agencies meet their goals.
On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank all those who supported Youth Central in 2019, whether you gave your time to strengthen our communications, consulted on our behalf to elevate our awareness, or supported us with a financial contribution – Thank you!
As we enter 2020, we’ll be focused on finalizing a new strategic plan, as well as developing even more capacity within our board of directors, our staff and the organization as a whole.
We look forward to the upcoming year.
Chair, Board of Directors
The Youth Central Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring that the mission and vision of Youth Central are being fulfilled through strong leadership, effective planning, and sound fiscal management. Thank you to the Youth Central Board of Directors for their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm.
Board Chair: Matt Grant – Technical Manager – Canadian Government Affairs, Enbridge Inc.
Vice Chair: Mathew Burpee, CA, CFA – Managing Director, Kepler Capital Corporation
Treasurer: Yisha Pang, CA – Senior Advisor Financial Reporting, Enbridge Inc.
Secretary: Julianne Rohel, CHRP – Strategic HR Specialist
Derek Fraser, CFRE – President, iDoPhilanthropy
Bryce Kapsha – Benevity Expert/Team Lead, Benevity
Dean Koeller – President, Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation
Jeff Lowe – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, SMART Technologies
Elizabeth Lunney, CFA – Managing Director, Private Investment Counsel, ATB Investment Management Inc.
Sarah Pervez – Principal Consultant, Community Voices Consulting Inc.
Henry Su – Chief of Staff, Embark Trucks
Alberta Motor Association
Antyx Community Arts Society
Applewood Park Community Association
Arbour Lake Residents Association
Arusha Centre (Open Streets Calgary)
Association Canadienne-Francaise de l’Alberta
Auburn Bay Community Association
Auburn Bay Residents Association
Autism Calgary Association
Bethany Care Calgary
Bishop O’Byrne Housing Association
Braeside Community Association
Calgary & District Labour Council
Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts
Calgary Earth Market Society
Calgary Scotiabank Marathon
Calgary United Games Association
Canadian Cancer Society
Canyon Meadows School Council
Catholic Family Service
Centre for Suicide Prevention Centre
Children’s Birthday Miracles
Closer to Home Community Services
CommunityWise Resource Centre
Create Calgary’s New Children’s Festival
Fairview Community Association
Festival Society of Marda Loop
Food for Peace
Friends of Fish Creek
Give a Mile
Heritage Park Historical Society
Hispanic Arts Society
HIV Community Link
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Inn From the Cold
Intercare Corporate Group
L’Arche Association of Calgary
Mahogany HOA Volunteer Committee
Marda Loop Communities Association
Mid-Sun Community Association
Monterey Park Community Association
Moonlight Market Foundation
New Brighton Residents Association
Northstar Residents Association
Outrun The Stigma
Palliser Bayview Pump Hill Community Association
PARK (Promoting Artists Redefining Kulture)
Parkinson Society Canada-Alberta
Parks Foundation Calgary
Pineridge Community Association
Portail de L’immigrant Association
Prostate Cancer Canada
Ranchlands Community Association
Renfrew Community Association
Richmond Knob Hill Community Association
Rosanne Goetz Visual Communicaitons and Consulting
Rotary Club of Calgary East
Salvation Army Community Services Calgary
Sien Lok Society of Calgary
Signal Hill Community Association
Silvera for Seniors
Southfour Fastpitch Softball Association
Southwood Community Association
Strathcona Christie Aspen Community Association
Temple Community Association
The Balance Foundation
The Shotokan Karate-do Association of Calgary
THIRD ACTion Film Festival
Touch Canada Broadcasting
Triwood Community Association
Twin Views Garden
United Way of Calgary and Area
Venezuelan Canadian Association of Calgary
Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society
West Hillhurst Community Association
Westgate Community Association
Whitehorn Community Association
Wildwood Community Association
World Partnership Walk Calgary
WP Puppet Theatre
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission; The Calgary Foundation; Anonymous Donor at the Calgary Foundation; Family & Community Support Services (FCSS); Youth Central’s Volunteer Engagement and Expansion Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps
Anonymous Donor; Government of Alberta; TD Bank Group; The Home Depot Canada Foundation; The Prosser Charitable Foundation
Penny Hume; Birdies for Kids, presented by Altalink; Canada Life; Government of Canada – Canada Summer Jobs; Roman Catholic Diocese Of Calgary; Trico Homes; Youth Volunteer Corps
Galvin Family Fund at the Calgary Foundation; Rotary Club of Calgary East; The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
Adam Stewart; Al Schreiner, in memory of Jeanne Strangeland; Alan and Geri Moon; Amanda Bustard; Andie Shaffer; Anonymous; Baljit and Nancy Dhaliwal; Byron Neiles; Calgary Youth Foundation Fund – Youth Central at the Calgary Foundation; Calvert Home Mortgage Investment Corporation; Canwest Productions Inc.; Cassie Gao and Ziyan Cheng; Chelsey Tattrie; Cindy Trieu; Connie and Eric Morris; ConocoPhillips Canada; Countryside Landscapes & Garden Centre; Cremers and Elliott Chartered Accountants; Cristina Zaganelli; Dean Koeller; Derek Fraser; Derrick Hunte; Douglas Nyhoff, in memory of Jeanne Strangeland; E2 & Associates; Elarbe Professional Services Inc.; Elizabeth Lunney; Ever Active Schools; Gerald J. Maier, in memory of Jeanne Phyllis Strangeland; Green Calgary Association; Harry & Martha Cohen Foundation; Henry Su; HEX Entertainment; Jamie Petrowich, on behalf of SMART Technologies; Jeff Lowe; Jemison Jackson; Jemm & Joules Event Management Inc; Jennifer Acevedo; Jim Pasieka; Jon-Scott Kohli; Julianne Rohel; Karen McIntosh; Lisa Kindree; Liquid Capital Smart Solutions; Lynn Berry; Mahogany Homeowners Association; Marc Brebber; Margaret Bertagnolli; Marketplace Events; Matco Financial Inc.; Mathew Burpee; Matt Grant; Michael Yeung; Nicholas Kokorudz; Patti Phelps; Peter Burpee; Purdy’s Chocolatier; RBC Foundation; Robert Nicolay, in memory of Jeanne Strangeland; Ros Doi; Rosanne Goetz; Rui Jiang; Ryan Duerr; Sandstone Asset Management Inc.; Sarah Pervez; Scott Townend; Shawn Freeman; Sir Winston Churchill High School – Amnesty International Club; SMART Technologies; Social Venture Partners – Calgary; Stephen Guppy; Sylvia Galica-Casuncad; Terry Booth; Tom Horner; Trung Bien; TWT Group; United Nations Association in Canada – Calgary Branch; Victoria Stosky; Wayne Stewart; Wendel Business Machines Corp.; Wentao Li; Wild Rose Brewery Ltd.; WinSport Canada; Yisha Pang; Yusi Liu; 1150547 Alberta Ltd.