Say Yes! to Kids

Welcome to the Anglican Foundation of Canada’s (AFC) Say Yes! to Kids (SYTK) communications hub. SYTK is a nationwide effort to create a sustainable, abundant source of funding for youth-focused initiatives across the Anglican Church of Canada.

Since it was launched in 2021, SYTK has provided over $625,000 to more than 100 unique beneficiaries and fundraising partners in support of youth-focused ministry and outreach from coast to coast to coast. All Say Yes! to Kids projects are different, but they share a common goal: to imagine more and to put that imagination into action to grow a brighter future for young people, today.

We invite all Canadian Anglicans to read the stories on this page and learn more about the work of our SYTK partners. More and more people are choosing to be part of this exciting movement that is changing the conversation, energizing the church for new ministry, and transforming the way we work together to fund for impact in this important area of our common life.

Building Bridges Between Churches and Communities

In a post-pandemic world, as churches begin to re-engage with their surrounding communities, SYTK partners are offering a range of creative in-person opportunities, outside of Sunday morning worship, where young people and families can reconnect.

Let Your Light Shine Outreach
St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church, Napanee, ON (Diocese of Ontario)

In early Spring 2022, St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church used the SYTK campaign to launch a renewed focus on community-minded youth outreach. “We raised $3,800 from our Let Your Light Shine Benefit Concert and were able to increase support for the church’s youth group—investing in outdoor recreation equipment and their annual retreat,” says Michelle Hauser, Coordinator for the local SYTK effort. “Proceeds also kick-started the funding effort for the 2022-2023 High School lunch program run by Morningstar Relief Mission, a charity that our youth have a long history of supporting.”
Drawing a Circle of Love
St. Barnabas, New Westminster, BC (Diocese of New Westminster)

When Krista and Addison met for the first time in spring 2022, at the Drawing a Circle of Love play program at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in the Diocese of New Westminster, they were experiencing exactly what the program developers had envisioned. “We wanted to strengthen the bonds of friendship between our congregation and our neighbourhood,” says the Rev. Emilie Smith. “The girls, like so many other children at the program, have become fast friends, spending the whole morning together laughing and playing.” St. Barnabas was a 2021 SYTK partner that received a $5,000 grant.
Family Fun Day
Parish of All Saints Dain City, Welland, ON (Diocese of Niagara)

With $3,190 raised from the 2022 SYTK campaign, the parish of All Saints Dain City held its first-ever Family Fun Day on Saturday, July 9. “This event sent a message to the people of Dain City that All Saints is a welcoming, loving, and inclusive church that truly cares about its community,” says Wendy Scott, Rector’s Warden. “We hope this will become a yearly event and that we will be able to offer many more youth-oriented programs such as day trips, craft days, picnics, movie, and game nights. The Church is the only organization that does not exist for itself, but for those who live outside of it. This signature event was an important next step in living into our mission as a faith community.”
Young Voices of the North
Christ Church, The Pas, MB (Diocese of Brandon)

The Goal of Young Voices of the North is to use the 2021 STYK grant of $5,000 to provide a healthy platform for the youth in Northern Manitoba communities to design and produce podcasts expressing their authentic lived experiences in their own unique voices. Based out of Christ Church, The Pas, the podcast will engage both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous youth The Pas, Opaskwayak Cree Nation (Church of the Messiah; Church of the Redeemer), and the Regional Municipality of Kelsey; a vast area, with unique assets and needs. Over time, it is hoped that growth of the podcast will enable travel to more remote communities in the deanery.
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Restoring Right Relations with Indigenous Communities

Through friendship and healing gardens, intercultural camps, and other sharing and learning experiences, SYTK partners across the country are increasingly focused on projects that seek to restore right relations with Indigenous communities.

Revitalizing Arctic Youth Nation
Anglican Diocese of the Arctic

The Diocese of the Arctic has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic filled with hope and purpose and will use the nearly $15,000 raised through the 2022 SYTK campaign as seed funding to create the position of Diocesan Youth Coordinator. This individual will take a St. Paul approach: embedded in a community for 2-3 months at a time to launch and shepherd programs, while equipping local people to keep those programs running. The Diocese is committed to creating safe spaces for young men and women to gather and hear of the love and mercy found in Christ, and to responding to the crisis of youth suicide by growing a climate of hope: letting young people know that God has a plan for them and will guide, restore, and bless them.
Indigenous Family Camp
Camp Okema, Christopher lake, SK (Diocese of Saskatchewan)

Proceeds from the 2022 SYTK campaign, which raised just over $3,800, helped Camp Okema to run an Indigenous Family Camp of Healing and Reconciliation. Okema was well positioned to run this camp as an organization with a longstanding relationship with Indigenous clergy, communities, and children. At the camp, Indigenous clergy and leaders led drumming, beading and prayer services. Children and families gathered to pray, eat, learn, and participate. Settler volunteers attended to serve and build relationships.
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Building Bridges Through Music and the Arts

It should come as no surprise that SYTK partners are using arts and music as a way to build bridges to young people: developing fun and exciting community outreach programs that are appealing to the young…and young at heart!

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Fostering Spiritual Growth and Development

From coast to coast to coast SYTK partners are recognizing their responsibility towards young people and leading a variety of faith formation programs—supporting children, youth, and young adults—to foster spiritual growth and development, laying the foundation for a lifelong connection to the Anglican Church.

Youth Retreat Programs
St. Paul's Anglican Church, Halifax, NS | Diocese of Nova Scotia & PEI

Thanks to a 2021 SYTK grant of $5,000, fall and winter retreats for St. Paul’s teen youth group, were a huge success. The students came home saying that they had enjoyed the opportunity to take serious time to consider what faith in Jesus means to them. In 2022, St. Paul’s continued to champion the SYTK movement raising $2,675 to further the objective of creating a well-funded program of out trips, socials, and retreats. The goal is to give youth opportunities to get out into nature and build connections in ways they cannot do with a regular weekly program. With an abundant source of funding, the pastoral care of young people can always remain fresh and vibrant.
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Champions for Recreation and the Environment

Many SYTK partners are champions for summer camping ministries and year-round outdoor recreational opportunities. These programs and services are vital for youth social and physical development, building confidence and resilience, and for helping young people better understand their role in caring for the Earth responsibility to care for the Earth.

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Responding with Compassion and Urgency

As the cost of living continues to rise and awareness about the affordable housing crisis across Canada grows, SYTK partners are committed to taking action to support young people and families in a variety of ways.

Inner City Sault Ste. Marie Project
Pauline's Place, Sault Ste. Marie, ON (Diocese of Algoma)

Pauline’s Place, a non-profit housing provider in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, received a 2021 SYTK grant of $5,000 to launch an innovative new program using art therapy, photography, and culturally based healing to better serve their youth client base.
High School Lunch Program
Morningstar Relief Mission, Napanee, ON (Diocese of Ontario)

Morningstar Relief Mission is the leading provider of community meals to vulnerable citizens of all ages across Lennox & Addington County. The 2021 SYTK grant of $10,000 enabled this trusted community partner to provide local high schools with hot meals on a weekly basis. “Healthy meals will only benefit those students who find themselves without the means or support to feel fed, nourished and valued,” says Kevin Alkenbrack, Executive Director. “This will be a pilot project, that we hope will lay the foundation to offering meals, and general support, to high school students beyond the pandemic either alone or in partnership with our founder, and neighbouring church, St. Mary Magdalene Napanee.”
Beds for Children
Home Again Furniture Bank, Mount Pearl, NL (Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland)

Making childhood dreams come true became that much more possible thanks to a 2021 SYTK grant of $15,000 to the Home Again Furniture Bank. “We are so grateful for this grant from the Anglican Foundation,” says Maureen Lymburner, Executive Director, Home Again, “because we will be able to provide beds to children and youth who have been sleeping on floors, sofas, air mattresses, or other makeshift beds.” Lymburner says too many families and youth-headed households on the Northeast Avalon, situated in the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador, are living without basic furnishings, including beds. The grant was awarded in November as part of AFC’s Say Yes! to Kids Request for Proposals.
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Nurturing, Mentoring, Connecting

Many SYTK partners are developing creative mental health and well-being initiatives that nurture relationships between young people and trusted adults and mentors: helping them to live fulfilling lives in communities where they are connected to a church that truly cares.

Resilience & Mental Health
St. James' Anglican Church, Cambridge, ON (Diocese of Huron)

Through a 2021 SYTK grant of $2,100 St. James’ Mental Health and Resiliency Program provided a safe space for at risk or vulnerable young people to explore, feel and express their experiences and emotions, particularly as they related to the COVID 19 pandemic. Professional facilitators and instructors taught new skills to empower young people to cope with big feelings and challenges, in ways that supported their mental and physical health. The program created an opportunity for young people to come together in person, and experience social connection, learn and have fun. Weekly gatherings with peers and consistent adult volunteers successfully reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation among participants.
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Say Yes! to Kids 2023

AFC has already begun planning for the 2023 Say Yes! to Kids peer-to-peer campaign. Like the 2022 campaign, it will be a partnership fundraiser where any church or charitable entity, affiliated with the Anglican Church of Canada, is eligible to participate and raise funds for their youth-focused projects.

All fundraising partners will receive mentorship, communications support, and training from AFC’s Development and Communications team. To find out if the SYTK campaign is right for you please contact Michelle Hauser, AFC Development & Communications Officer at [email protected].