Help at-risk Black Youth and Youth Offenders

Dear Community,
If you look closely into our prison system, one can notice an underlying issue of the number of Black youths incarcerated for offences which far outweigh other ethnicities. Studies show that Black youth are more likely to be charged for minor offenses and less likely to be cautioned by police. For a long time, Canada has struggled with an overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system. The Canadian Council for Social Development states that Canada has one of the highest rates of youth incarceration in the Western world, eclipsing that of the United States.
A study conducted by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Taskforce on Community Safety revealed that the major causes of youth crime in Toronto fell into five key areas: economic, social, policing, justice, and urban planning. The literature indicates that racial discrimination is a key factor affecting the lives of Black people in Toronto, regardless of their socio-economic status. Other significant factors include lower education, substance abuse, and mental health problems. We believe that consistent support and guidance can help black youth turn their life around despite their circumstances.

That’s why, at Acorn to Oak Youth Services, we believe that, “Every acorn can become a great oak given the right conditions. We believe every youth – in spite of their current circumstances – has the potential to thrive.”
It is clear that the criminal justice system is underequipped to address the complicated nature of youth crime. In fact, it takes community engagement and early prevention efforts to reduce youth crime in a sustainable way.
Acorn to Oak Youth Services is a Black-led non-profit organization that strives to help individuals and communities find a way forward from complex life situations. Our Restorative Justice Program was created 20 years ago to address youth crime and violence. The program helps to minimize the racially disproportionate rate of incarceration for young and marginalized youth in Canada. It provides a holistic and integrated justice program using counselling, social work, academic mentorship, and community hours for at-risk youth and youth offenders.
When young people get into crime or behaviour that they’re charged with, instead of being sentenced to jail, they are ordered to do this program to undergo rehabilitation instead of incarceration.
The program is open to all young people between the ages of 12 to 35 years. At the time of writing, we are primarily focused on Black youth because of the high concentration Black incarcerated youth.
With the help of a small team, of mostly volunteers, Acorn to Oak Youth Services has helped many young people in the Peel Region and the Greater Toronto Area. However, the scope of this problem is more widespread. This is why, Acorn to Oak is now seeking to expand its services across the province through satellite programs to provide tools and administer programs for other community organizations.
This fundraising campaign aims to raise $ 50,000 to support 20 young people under our Restorative Justice Program in the coming year. With just $2,500, you can sponsor an at-risk youth or a youth offender from the Black community.

We believe in the power of the community and believe that this campaign isn't merely a charity but an endeavour to save generations of Black youth tomorrow and produce a thriving community. These young people will become tomorrow’s teachers, lawyers, bankers, advocates, and politicians and enable everyone in the environment to thrive.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. Please contribute to the fundraiser in any way you can and share it.
You can visit our website for more information on how to support and engage with our programs.
Be joyful in hope!



Acorn To Oak Youth Services
Mississauga, ON
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically tax deductible in Canada.

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily.

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about.

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the  GoFundMe Giving Guarantee.