The R.I.T.E.S. 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. R.I.T.E.S. employs an integrated, full spectrum model of support and care so participants have access to range of clinical mental health programs, 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. The R.I.T.E.S. Program implements an asset-focused, strength-based approach informed by evidence and research on the effects of racism, stress management and racial identity. It is also informed by various Africentric cultural, social value systems and practices. The focus of R.I.T.E.S. 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. Within the program, youth are able to explore different Africentric value systems, principles and grounding rituals, while connecting to elders, their community and nature.
Youth accessing the group service can also access individual counselling with a R.I.T.E.S. Clinician.
How Do I Access This Service?
CTYS will be offering a virtual R.I.T.E.S. group which will run on Thursdays from 4pm to 5:30pm. Our R.I.T.E.S. program is also partnered with George Harvey Collegiate Institute, Thistletown Collegiate Institute and The George Hull Centre for Children and Families. At this time, the two school groups are only open to students in these schools. Interested students should speak with school personnel to learn more about the R.I.T.E.S. Program.
If you are interested, please complete a referral form and e-mail or fax it to either 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 program information such as group start dates.
If you have questions or for more information, please contact: