LOFT Youth Centre for Social Enterprise and Innovation

Fosters creativity, community engagement & entrepreneurship for youth in Toronto

10,000
social enterprises in Ontario employing an estimated 160,000 people

68%
of social enterprises in ontario have a poverty reduction focus

3.4
million customers served by social enterprises in ontario

LOFT YCSEI

LOFT YCSEI includes LOFT YCSEI West, a youth-centered sound studio, rehearsal space and graphic arts studio currently being built in the Junction Triangle, and LOFT YCSEI East, focuses a on LOFT Kitchen, a social enterprise community café, catering and employment training program for youth in the Christie Ossington Neighbourhood.

LOFT youth face multiple personal and systemic barriers, including food, income and housing insecurity, newcomer/immigrant status, racialized and LGBTQ youth, youth with substance use challenges, mental health challenges and criminal records, out-of-school, unemployed, homeless and street-involved youth, and youth with disabilities. Many LOFT participants are young parents. LOFT programming targets youth who lack access to supportive adults whom they can learn life skills and develop healthy, positive relationships. In addition to accessing practical supports, LOFT youth seek meaningful engagement in their communities, to be connected to others and to devote their energy to productive enterprise and activity. LOFT youth are looking for creative outlets, the chance to learn, share skills, and increase their capacity to thrive.

We work collaboratively with participants to create programs that don’t define youth by the needs they present, but rather by their strengths, goals and capacity to contribute to their own well-being and that of their communities.

LOFT Kitchen

LOFT Kitchen is a Social Enterprise cafe and catering business that trains youth in the food and hospitality industry. Youth build leadership and work-readiness skills, and are supported in goal-setting, ranging from securing daycare for their children, to re-entering high school, to finding housing.

Youth who have been isolated due to multiple barriers integrate with teams in a work setting, develop relationships with peers and become an active part of their community.

LOFT Kitchen is the exclusive catering partner for all CONC Programs, and a vital element of the Breaking Barriers program.

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LOFT Sound/Media Studio

Sound/Media Studio and Rehearsal Space at the new George Chuvalo Community Centre (GCCC), being built this year in the Junction Triangle: Youth will have the opportunity to learn, develop and share skills in songwriting, broadcasting, vocals, instrumentation, recording, producing, mixing and mastering. Mentorship and coaching in each of these areas will be a key feature of programming at GCCC. Youth will gain rare access to a professional studio where they can work with their peers to create quality recordings. Youth will gain access to rehearsal space for singers, musicians, bands, and theatre arts. Youth will explore marketing, communications, graphic design, and web development. Youth will be supported to practice creativity in diverse media.

Back Office Support at GCCC

Youth will be welcomed into a centre fully-equipped to support them as they complete assignments, develop resumes, learn about mental wellness, healthy eating, healthy relationships and violence prevention, and practice life skills. Youth will be supported in identifying and accessing the resources they need, to overcome the barriers they face, identify and realize their goals.

Before getting hired at LOFT Kitchen, I had no previous work experience and found it difficult to find a job, but through the assistance of a program at St Stephen’s I was referred to my current job. I worked at LOFT for four months, before being promoted to Front of House Lead, and I am now a mentor for new employees who are referred by similar programs.

LOFT Youth

I like working at LOFT Kitchen because it’s taught me many valuable skills I can use later on in life. I learned how to use a knife properly, basic recipes, how to use my time more efficiently.

LOFT Youth

What I like about working here is I like the flexible schedule, how understanding everybody is in terms of my mental health, and all of the skills I’ve learned like my knife skills, my time management and my overall scheduling.

LOFT Youth

Our Supporters

  • George Brown College
  • Social Enterprise Toronto
  • KLINK Coffee
  • Catalyst Kitchens
  • Barque Smokehouse
  • Northwood
  • Civil Libertines
  • Vince Gasparros
  • Spark Espresso and Fresh Bar
  • Royal York Fairmont Hotel
  • Roast Butchery
  • OCAD University
  • Sorella Toronto
  • City of Toronto
  • Pear and Pepper
  • WEST Neighbourhood House
  • YMCA Culinary Program
  • St. Stephen’s Community House
  • Davenport Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre
  • HOUSELink

© Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. Charity Registration Number: 898720651RR0001

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