Jury Selects Project as part of the New Leaf Community Challenge.

Nov. 22, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – The Ottawa Community Foundation presented a cheque for $125,000 to Youth Ottawa and the Social Planning Council of Ottawa to tackle youth unemployment in the Ottawa region in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Youth Active Media (YAM) is a videography initiative that teaches high school aged youth, primarily from at-risk communities, to create short films about issues that affect their lives. YAM is also a social enterprise that provides some of these youth with career-building opportunities to earn income by producing videos for a range of clients including social service agencies. All youth who participate in the training develop a range of both soft skills and technical skills that increases their employability.

YAM was one of three proposals presented to a jury of community leaders and experts at the Ottawa Community Foundation’s fourth annual New Leaf Community Challenge on Wednesday at The Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.

“Youth unemployment is 13.6% in this city, more than double the city-wide rate,” says Marco Pagani, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Ottawa. “The impacts of youth not finding employment or starting on a career path when they leave high school can be devastating both personally and to the community and broader society.”

Originally launched in 2014, the New Leaf Community Challenge was designed to inspire and support innovative, collaborative approaches to addressing critical issues in Ottawa. The focus in the first two years was on food security and local food systems. A total of $250,000 was awarded to MarketMobile and the Deep Roots Food Hub. Since winning the New Leaf Community Challenge, these projects have increased access to healthy, affordable food, and helped build longer-term food sustainability for Ottawa. Last year’s winner of the youth employment theme was LiveWorkPlay, which continues to secure jobs for youth with intellectual disabilities, including significant involvement from the federal government.

The 2017 New Leaf Community Challenge attracted a variety of project submissions focused on improving the employment situation for youth who transition from high school to employment. In addition to the Youth Active Media, the other proposals were:

  • Prince’s Charities Canada and the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation presented ‘Get Into,’ a collaborative program designed to provide youth with training, work experience and permanent employment in a variety of sectors.
  • Youth Now Canada and the Parkdale Food Centre presented a proposal to provide agriculture-based training and work opportunities for at-risk youth.

“All of the projects presented at today’s Challenge were creative, compelling and, most importantly, designed to support positive, systemic, sustainable change in our community” said Pagani. “While I know it was a difficult decision for the jury, I am confident Youth Ottawa and the Social Planning Council of Ottawa will contribute to improving the employment situation for our young people.”

For more information about the New Leaf Community Challenge and the top three project submissions, visit https://www.ocf-fco.ca/new-leaf-community-challenge/

About the Ottawa Community Foundation

Established in 1987, the Ottawa Community Foundation is a public, non-profit organization created by and for the people of Ottawa. Working directly with its community of donors, partners and stakeholders, the Foundation is committed to acting as a catalyst for positive, systemic and sustainable change in Ottawa and beyond. Priding itself on enabling generous citizens to enhance the quality of life in their community while achieving their own charitable objectives, the Foundation currently manages assets worth almost $130M, and has provided over $100M in grants to the community since its inception. For more information about the Ottawa Community Foundation, visit www.ocf-fco.ca

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For further information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Danielle Côté