Recreation: YAK delivers a wide range of free or low-cost recreation programs that appeal to youth with different abilities and interests in the ‘critical hours’ after school, five days a week. Programs include: Move It! After School (active play and gym nights), art programs (based on the principles of art therapy and expression), music programs (including guitar lessons and drumming circles), social events (movie nights and coffee houses), and cultural programs.       

Social and Emotional Learning:  YAK offers programs that help youth develop social and emotional skills such as self-awareness, self-expression, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Programs will include the Health Unit’s Managing Powerful Emotions, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, yoga/meditation, goal-setting and conflict resolution.       

Mental Health:  YAK’s staff team is trained in the 9 Kids Helpline Modules and some have formal Mental Health First Aid, suicide intervention, trauma-informed care, harm reduction and addictions trainings. We will continue to provide one-on-one mentoring and coaching, and referrals to other mental health services. We are in the process of doing bereavement training with Hospice to start up a monthly youth bereavement support group.    

Kitchen Program:  YAK provides free healthy snacks and suppers four days a week. We will continue to run our Kids in the Kitchen program to teach youth about nutrition, food preparation and cooking.     

Safety:  We continue to provide workshops to help youth stay safe at school, at work, at play, and online. Topics include how to deal with bullying, staying safe online, safety at work, substance abuse and addictions, and human trafficking.    

Housing:  YAK will continue to support youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing basic necessities such as food, clothing and toiletries. We will continue to refer youth to other organizations such as Cornerstone Landing, who can assist youth to find secure housing.    

Transportation:  We are actively seeking funding to provide transportation for youth to ensure they are able to participate in programs at YAK (through Lanark Transportation) as well as connect with STEO to find out if YAK can be a new bus stop on some of the routes.         

Homework Help and High School Completion:  We offer homework help and encourage youth to achieve their high school diploma. 

Workforce Readiness Training: We deliver programs to help youth prepare for the workforce. Training will help youth develop ‘hard’ skills and certification (e.g. WHMIS, Smart Serve and Safe Food Handling), and ‘soft’ skills such as workplace expectations, etiquette, communication and workplace conflict resolution. 

Youth Facilitation Team YAK is in the process of securing funds to begin a new program that trains older youth on pertinent local social issues to run fun, interactive workshops for younger youth on the topics of their choice. The workshops will be a for fee service, and the start of our new social enterprise.

Youth Service Provider Conference It has been noted that many youth service workers in and around Lanark County are in need of specialized trainings and resources, yet there are currently no organizations taking the lead to offer it. YAK is in the process of securing funding to offer a training conference weekend for all local youth workers.