helping kids be all they can be

Children and youth are one of our region's greatest assets. But, too many young people in Durham today are struggling due to poverty, food insecurity, and mental health challenges. The United Way helps give youth in Durham Region the support they need to get a great start in life, do well in school, and reach their full potential.

Emotional & Physical Wellbeing

According to the most recent figures, 10% of children in Durham Region are living in poverty.

It is well documented that childhood poverty has a lifelong impact on kids' mental and physical health.

For example, in Durham, 12% of families do not have reliable access to healthy food. A lack of proper nutrition significantly weakens a child's ability to learn and grow during these critical early years. Other aspects of poverty, including substandard housing, are also linked to negative mental health outcomes in adulthood - including increased risk of depression.


Access to food, affordable housing, career planning, and mentoring are all factors in lifting children from poverty. Your donations last year allowed for:

  • 191,800 nutritional snacks to be delivered to children.
  • 21,000 children and youth to participate in mentoring, counselling, leadership, sports, and recreation engagement.
  • 2,000 women and children to receive support emergency shelter, counselling, and outreach services.


CDCD Report on Child Poverty in Durham

Engagement In Learning


It's no secret that education is the great equalizer. Through education, kids become leaders and develop skills to improve their lives and their communities. In the fight against poverty, and to mitigate its impacts, early childhood education preparedness is critical.


The United Way is committed to ensuring that all kids have access to learning opportunities, by partnering with organizations such as:

  • Girls Inc. Durham to provide girls with in-school activities in reading and literacy, leadership development and bullying prevention, health and sexuality, and substance use prevention.
  • Precious Minds to support programs for kids with developmental challenges, that help them build their communication, personal care, and work readiness skills.


Your donation allows kids to participate in programs that enable success at school. Some numbers for your consideration:

  • $500 covers the cost of registration and books for two youth returning to high school
  • $520 will allow 26 girls to attend an 8-week in-school lunchtime literacy program.

Connectedness and Community Involvement


Community programs are of tremendous value to the most vulnerable families in our community.

For kids, they are a safe and loving place to go when they get out of school or in the summer - a space to do their homework, have a healthy snack, and form lifelong friendships.

Kids who attend after-school programs have higher rates of school attendance, show more positive attitudes toward school, and — most importantly — are less likely to drop out of school. And those who participate in camp or similar activities have an opportunity to develop strong social skills from peers and adult mentors.


Although essential, extracurricular activities can be expensive. Without support, parents would be put in the position of paying for programs that they may not be able to afford. That's why the United Way helps provide critical funding to organizations including:

  • Firehouse Youth Centre, where kids age 12-18 can participate in free drop-in activities ranging from structured sports to video games, musical instruments, and games such as air hockey.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Durham, where kids age 4-8 can participate in social and developmental activities all year round. Drama club, sports club, and woodshop are just some of the many options!


What programs does your donation to the United Way help fund? Here are some figures for your consideration:

  • $125 will send a teenager to Adventure Camp for a week in the summer with Boys & Girls Club Durham
  • $364 will send a child to Simcoe Hall Settlement House's After School Program for the entire year

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