By welcoming young people into your work, you are helping us grow compassionate communities. Year after year, we hear from students that the visit to their charity was the moment their learning became meaningful. When they have the opportunity to see firsthand the demand for social services, and the effort of a committed professionals it is, in their own words, “eye-opening”.
On this page, we’ve put together information and resources to help you navigate the YPI process, and to get the most out of your time working with student teams. If you ever need more support, we’re here to help!
During COVID-19, YPI has asked students to do online research only, and not to request charity interviews. This is so we can be in solidarity with local charities that are busier than ever, providing critical services while experiencing reduced donations and stretched staff during the pandemic. If you receive requests from students that you cannot accommodate, we encourage you to redirect those students to your website for online research and/or to contact the YPI team for support in doing so.
What is YPI?
YPI is a simple premise with extraordinary results. With every grant awarded through our school-based competition, YPI channels financial resources, public awareness, and volunteers to local social service charities.
Since 2002, YPI and our partners have granted millions to charities on behalf of these passionate young people. Together they have challenged stigma, changed behaviours, and introduced millions of Canadians to the work of thousands of charities.
Check out a selection of the organizations our students have worked with in the past.
Did you know?
Below, we’ve collected the answers to some of the most common questions about working with student teams.
For a social service charity, YPI provides an opportunity to engage young people from within the same community in which you operate so they can become informed advocates for the work that you do. The students who have contacted you are participating in a project-based competition as part of their school curriculum, and they have identified your charity as carrying out important work that benefits people living in your shared community. These students are eager to visit your charity, learn more about you, and then advocate for the work you do in hope of securing your organization a $5000 YPI grant!
Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, YPI has asked students to do online research only, and not to request charity interviews.
YPI is powerful for students because it connects them to real issues affecting their communities, and the charity visit is a key part of this. It can deeply personalize the social issues for students, opening students’ eyes and minds to the needs of vulnerable people living around them and the vital work being done to help. These visits have the potential to forge a powerful connection that will often drive students to be strong advocates and to explore their own roles and responsibilities in bringing about positive social change.
Note: During the COVID-19 pandemic, YPI is not recommending in-person interviews or visits to charities, in keeping with public health protocols. In the case where you have capacity to speak with students, we recommend a telephone or video interview. This is to protect your staff , volunteers and clients (as well as students) from possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Many participating charities take students for a short tour of their location, and then sit down to allow them to interview. If you have programming that they could see first-hand, or opportunities for them to participate as volunteers, this hands-on element can be extremely effective. Where this is not possible, try to engage students with real stories of how people have been helped by the work that you do. Create opportunities for them to speak with other staff about their work. Volunteers can be great spokespeople, too; what about your organization inspires them to give their time? Talk to them about upcoming events, new initiatives or specific challenges your organization is working on that you would particularly like the community to be aware of.
There can be a lot of information to absorb! Print materials you can send them home with, like annual reports, brochures and program calendars, will be a great reference when they are creating their presentations.
It’s important to communicate any boundaries that may exist with your organization. For example, if your building is scent-free, or if taking photos, video or audio recordings would be disruptive to confidentiality, let them know ahead of time (if available, direct them to media they would be permitted to use).
- Young people often have a lot of social media experience; if appropriate, they may be able to help build your organization’s online profile, or offer creative ways for engaging your audience more effectively.
- We’ve seen some great videos produced by YPI students, showcasing the work their chosen charities do. See if your student group would be willing to create a video for your charity to share online.
- In many cases, students continue to volunteer with their chosen charities after YPI. Ask your group if they’d be interested, especially if you have any upcoming events where they could be helpful.
There is no restriction on the number of teams you can meet with! You are, of course, encouraged to set boundaries around your own staff/volunteer capacity but charities are welcome to meet with any number of teams. Each school has their own $5,000 grant to give out, and the decisions made at each final event are independent from every other school enrolled. In other words, if you are represented by students at more than one school, it is possible to win more than one grant (even in the same year).
We are here to support you in having a valuable and positive experience with YPI. We’re happy to guide new organizations through their first visits, hear feedback from you, and work on challenges as they come up.
Give us a call at 1-888-489-1044 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us online!
Connect with YPI on social media, where we engage with students, teachers and other charities from communities across Canada. We absolutely love seeing how students are getting involved in your work, so please tag us in any posts you share! Whether it’s photos, stories, or quotes from student visits, sharing your YPI experience with our audience can help raise continued awareness for your cause.