YouACT - Alberta's Youth Justice Program

AYV is beyond excited to announce we are now live with our new program YouACT!

YouACT is a program designed to give youth, going through the justice system, support and guidance to complete the community service portion of their sanctions or charges. Our program focuses on three pillars to achieve this: mentorship, collaboration & partnership, and a strength based philosophy. Each pillar is necessary in every case to achieve success and positive outcomes. Our goal for this program is to have every youth complete all their community service hours and continue to have a strong connection with their community and self. 

AYV has always had an interest in youth justice and has worked hard to incorporate at-risk and high-risk youth into their programming. Currently, we save 3 spots in our Action Generation Leadership Residency for youth in the iHuman Youth Society Programming and each year they bring a perspective that creates a far more richer and dynamic group. But we wanted to do more. And over the past year have worked with countless individuals to address any gaps in services that meet the mandate and vision of AYV. Changes in legislation and society have dramatically amplified the challenges facing youth today. The Edmonton Youth Justice Committees are seeing more severe charges, and even facing file shortages because more youth are ending up in the system with greater offences. Many of these challenges go far beyond the resources available to current community partnerships. Our Youth Justice Program addresses a current lack of programming for youth who are assigned community services hours.

Mentorship – AYV has a core group of roughly 10 highly skilled volunteers that we call upon to work with certain youth. These mentors are familiar with youth justice, strength based work, and have strong community connections. Together with the program coordinator we work to remove any barriers for the youth (transportation, language, hygiene, unfamiliarity with conventional norms etc). If you are interested in becoming a youth mentor please contact Rhea at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Collaboration & partnerships  - AYV is working with many organizations to provide youth in our program with better, more meaningful volunteer opportunities. Part of this process is educating organizations on the benefits of engaging with our youth, and the contribution they are making to the Edmonton community at large. We have secured many organizations promise to collaborate with signed letters of agreement and move forward on a case by case basis. We provide supervision for the youth, if necessary, as well as work closely with the organization throughout the process. A few examples of organizations currently committed to working with us are Big Brothers & Big Sisters, Alberta Choral Federation, iHuman Youth Society, and many more. Our intention with this program is to work closely with service providers, workers, organizations and the youth, to create a community of support for each youth. 

Strength Based Philosophy – this is a solution focused approach that enhances the capacities of individuals, groups, families, neighborhoods and communities to deal with their own challenges. Empowerment results from being treated with respect and having strengths acknowledged and enhanced. We believe that people have resources and are capable of learning new skills and solving problems, by identifying existing competencies they can address their own concerns, therefore, be involved in the process of discovery and learning about themselves. We value trust, respect, intentionality and optimism. What is does not mean: you never say no, you fabricate strengths, being overly complimentary or insincere and you ignore gaps or concerns. Our focus is the meaningful participation of youth in their communities. We use the research completed by Dr Chris Sarra of the Stronger Smarter Institute in Australia to guide our practice. 

Research shows that for vulnerable youth, programming that promotes youth development can provide protective factors that can offset multiple risk factors. Social inclusion and community engagement are protective factors that moderate risk, helping to reduce the negative effects associated with the risk factors and help young people better handle their circumstances. AYV believes that supporting these youth to facilitate their transition into adulthood by promoting social development and inclusion is in the interest of society. For the youth our program offers mandated community services hours as meaningful, strength based, service-learning volunteer opportunities. For the community organizations receiving our youth will be provided a professional development opportunity, sense of pride and a real way to give back while contributing to improving our city. By using their strengths through strategic placements the youth can repair the damage done within community. AYV aims to give Edmonton’s youth a chance at continuous involvement with their communities, igniting them on a positive path outside of the criminal justice system.

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A bit of history...

AYV (Alberta's YouthVOLUNTEER! Society) was started in 2006 by some awesome peeps not unlike yourselves. They were looking to volunteer but couldn't find any information on how to do it. Being go getters they decided that Alberta needed an organization just for youth to help us find our own information and opportunities!  AYV is an organization run by youth for youth!