photo of two staff members from 360°kids in York Region

November 14, 2023

A 360° Journey Through Love and Acceptance

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5 mins read

York Region, ON

Watch the video to see how 360°kids, an Energizing Life Community Fund recipient, is addressing the challenges faced by at-risk and homeless youth in York Region.

Watch the Video

For many young individuals, life can take unexpected turns.

A week before his 18th birthday, Tash made the courageous decision to diverge from the religious missionary path his grandmother wanted him to follow. In response, Tash’s grandmother told him to pack his bags and move out of her house. The prospect of homelessness loomed over Tash’s head, evoking fear and uncertainty.

In his moment of crisis, Tash reached out to a trusted teacher who then introduced him to 360°kids, a York Region non-profit organization that is dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by at-risk and homeless youth. The organization’s mission is to prevent youth homelessness and provide support to young individuals who are experiencing housing instability, while also fostering a sense of belonging, community and empowerment.

Photo of Tash and friend

Approximately 20% of Canada’s homeless population consists of young people between the ages of 13 and 24. Family breakdown is the biggest driver of youth homelessness in the country. In recent years, there has been an increase in instances of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth gaining the courage to come out to their parents or caregivers only to face rejection instead of acceptance.

Finding Hope During a Dark Time

The initial fear of homelessness was overwhelming for Tash, just as it is for many who find themselves in similar situations. The idea of not having a safe place to call home can send shivers down anyone’s spine. However, 360°kids’ Queer Agenda program offered Tash more than shelter; it provided a lifeline of hope. As a 2023 Energizing Life Community Fund recipient, 360°kids is using the $25,000 grant to continue peer-led initiatives that reduce barriers faced by queer and trans youth when accessing housing and shelter supports.

Dina Singh, Marketing and Communications Manager at 360°kids, explains that youth who turn to the organization share a common aspiration to find a place where they can be free from societal judgement and prejudice — a place to belong and feel seen.

“This program is particularly inclusive, extending its support to at-risk 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. It strives to create an environment free from homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, educating both the youth participating in the program and the 360°kids’ staff.”
Photo of Dina Singh
Dina Singh,
Marketing & Communications Manager, 360°kids

For Tash, finding a haven where he was accepted and understood proved invaluable. 360°kids is a place where all 2SLGBTQIA+ youth's true selves are celebrated without judgement or prejudice.

While living with his grandmother, Tash often felt invisible and misunderstood. Their connection seemed to lack depth. However, since joining 360°kids, Tash underwent a remarkable change. He found an environment where he was valued for his authenticity and where he could embrace his identity without fear, rejection or judgement.

This journey with 360°kids is not simply about finding shelter: It’s about achieving a profound transformation from rejection to belonging; from fear to hope. The program not only provides housing but it also offers a community that supports, understands and uplifts every person it serves. It’s a subtle reminder that, even in the most challenging situations, there is always a place where anyone can find acceptance and support.

In the end, Tash’s story is not just about one individual but about countless young people whose lives have been positively impacted by 360°kids. It’s a testament to the power of community and belonging, highlighting that there are people who are filled with compassion and acceptance for you as you are, regardless of the challenges life presents.

icon of hands holding a heart

How to help someone experiencing homelessness:

  1. Offer non-judgemental support: With their permission, approach the individual while demonstrating empathy and using non-biased language. Provide them with information about local shelters, food resources and services available in the community.

  2. Offer food and hygiene supplies: Providing a warm meal or hygiene supplies can offer immediate relief. Carry a small care package with essentials to distribute when you encounter someone in need.

  3. Connect with outreach teams: Many communities have homeless outreach teams or non-profits that are dedicated to helping street-involved individuals. Contact these organizations if you see someone who needs assistance.

  4. Listen and demonstrate compassion: A compassionate conversation can make a world of difference. Loneliness is a common issue among those experiencing homelessness. If they are willing to share their story, listen and offer emotional support.

Homelessness is a complex issue with various underlying causes. While these tips can offer short-term relief, addressing the issue on a broader scale requires coordinated effort and support from communities, governments and organizations like 360°kids.

Watch Tash’s story and see how 360°kids is creating a safe and inclusive space for York Region's youth.

For more information, visit

360°kids: (905) 475-6694

The Energizing Life Community Fund

Hydro One is committed to supporting organizations and communities by funding projects that focus on the physical, psychological and emotional safety and well-being of Ontarians.

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