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January 2024

A Collaborative Mindset

A conviction that our team has had from the beginning of this project of starting Young Life ministry in Toronto, is that in order to fulfill our mission in this city, we will have to collaborate with churches and other organizations. Young Life is starting from scratch in the city of Toronto, but God is not. To that end, I have been deliberate in building an expanding network of friendships and connections with people and organizations that serve and care for young people.

This month, I wanted to highlight one of these connections. Mikhaila Tao is the program director for Woven, an anti-trafficking program of the Salvation Army in North York. When Mikhaila first described Woven to me, it sounded so similar to the work that we do in Young Life that I knew it was something that we wanted to be connected to. Since August, Mikhaila has joined Edith, our Toronto staff associate and me for weekly training dialogues, Below is a brief interview with Mikhaila about the work that she and her volunteers do with teenage girls in North York.

Mikhaila, what is Woven?

The purpose of Woven is to prevent incidents of human trafficking through providing teenage girls a safe space and community where they can grow in self-confidence, receive support, and be poured into through intentional mentorship relationships. Our desire is for each girl to fully know her worth and value, and for her to be transformed as she comes to know Christ's great love for her. A Majority of the girls who attend Woven come from low-income families, single-parent households, and are first or second-generation immigrants. Each week we build community through playing games/doing activities and hold a small teaching time on important topics such as purpose, value, healthy relationships, self-esteem, coping with hard things, etc. We have discussion groups where the girls can freely voice their thoughts, experiences, and share what's happening in their worlds. We invite the girls into leadership development opportunities through having them volunteer during March Break and Summer Day Camps, which has served to be very transformative for many of them.

How have you benefitted from Young Life Training?

Participating in Wednesday training dialogues with Glenn and Edith has been invaluable to me. Two of my greatest challenges in launching Woven have been finding others who are involved in similar work (reaching youth who would not normally step foot in a church), and starting a brand-new ministry from the ground up with few resources and no blueprints. My heart and Young Life's heart for teenagers is one in the same, and getting to extract wisdom, support, and practical advice from those who have gone before me is an answer to prayer. I've been knitting YL's heart and strategies into Woven, and I believe Woven's impact will be greater because of it. Young Life Toronto is proud to be a friend of Woven and a partner with Mikhaila and the rest of her team. No one organization can meet the needs of every young person in Toronto. Our hope in Young Life is to continue to pursue collaboration with other community organizations and churches that care about adolescents so that more are reached in the name of Jesus.


Certificates Awarded for Completion of the first Young Life Leadership Class

Ten participants earned completion certificates that signify their commitment to learning the basics of Young Life foundational principles of ministry. Congratulations to everyone! This class, and subsequent classes are more than just opportunities for information transfer or book learning. Each class equips participants for ministry with young people, and individuals who complete a class are then eligible to apply to be a Young Life leader.


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