Creating pathways through education and career exploration.
The Ve’ahavta Skills Academy (VSA) is a free adult education course supporting individuals marginalized by poverty to improve their lives. VSA is offered in partnership with George Brown College, which provides library access and a certificate upon successful completion.Apply to VSA Today
Interested in volunteering for VSA? To apply to be a workshop facilitator, please fill out our online application.
While the drop-out rate for young people in Canada is 8.5% (Homeless Hub, 2016), the rate for homeless youth is exponentially higher at 53.2%
Toronto has the second highest homeless population of any Canadian city (Homeless Hub, 2014), with an average of 8,715 people who are homeless every night (Street Needs Assessment, 2018).
The great thing about Ve’ahavta is that it not only teaches you how to fish, it supplies the net, the boat and all the hooks that are needed.
— Matthew Williams
2018 Ve’ahavta Skills Academy Graduate
An innovative 12-month adult education program, the Ve’ahavta Skills Academy (VSA), in partnership with George Brown College, provides participants with practical skills and support to achieve their goals. Volunteer experts deliver workshops on a wide range of work and life skills topics, and students work weekly with a Ve’ahavta social worker to create individual goals and plans for success. Each participant completes a vocational assessment and receives a report with recommendations. With a practical plan, new skills and individualized support from a case manager during and post-program, participants increase their confidence and success. Our case managers work with OW caseworkers (with client consent) to better support participants to achieve their goals.
Success of the program is measured by three outcomes – enrolment in further education, employment or meaningful volunteer work. Our success rate is consistently above 75%.
VSA is highly effective and unique in that it provides:
- Practical group personal development and career exploration workshops
- Vocational assessments and individual program plans
- Peer-led approach and qualified program staff with lived experience
- Emphasis on building social connections
- High quality facilitators including professors, community leaders and industry experts
- A stipend for good attendance
- One-on-one support from a case manager for six months post-program
- An alumni program for ongoing support
VSA Bridge and Alumni Programs
The VSA Bridge and Alumni Programs were implemented in order to support VSA graduates through information sharing as well as the provision of guidance, hope and inspiration as they pursue their goals. Through the Alumni Program, VSA graduates remain engaged in a positive peer environment and acquire a sense of belonging. They participate in various activities including monthly meetings, learn from guest speakers and receive referrals to community resources.