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RITES for Black and African-Canadian Youth

The RITES program at Central Toronto Youth Services (CTYS) is a culturally specific, identity development initiative that supports the empowerment of Black and African-Canadian youth between the ages of 13 and 17. RITES employs an integrated, full spectrum model of support and care so participants have access to range of coordinated mental health clinical and program supports and resources.

We understand that daily exposure to racism, discrimination, homophobia, violence and poverty can lower young people’s self-esteem, impact their mental health and compromise their potential for overall success. RITES implements an asset-focused, strengths-based approach informed by evidence and research on the effects of racism, stress management and racial identity and is informed by various Africentric cultural, social value systems and practices. The focus of RITES is to support young people in building practical skills of leadership, conflict transformation, resilience and problem solving in a positive and healthy environment.

Through a group learning model we aim to instill a sense of kinship and create awareness of assets within the Black and African-Canadian community. Facilitators aim to create an environment where youth feel a sense of safety, love and good energy. Youth are able to explore various Africentric value systems, principles and grounding rituals while connecting to elders, their community and nature.

How Do I Access This Service?

CTYS will be offering a virtual RITES group which will run on Thursday’s from 4pm to 5:30pm. Our RITES program is also partnered with George Harvey C.I., Thistletown C.I. and the George Hull Centre for Children and Families. At this time, the two school groups are only open to students in these schools.

If you are interested in any of the above groups, please complete the referral form and fax or e-mail it to any of the staff listed below at 416-924-2930. You will also find a poster and two frequently asked question sheets which will provide additional information such as group start dates.

If you have questions or for more information, please contact:

  • Althea at 416-910-5582 althea.reid@ctys.org  OR
  • Josette at 416-731-0224  josette.leader@ctys.org