Safety and Recovery for Children and Youth living in the emergency shelter

Approximately two-thirds of the residents of The Redwood’s emergency shelter are children and youth – ranging in age from newborns to teenagers.


When children and youth experience severe trauma from witnessing or experiencing  intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and gender-based violence, there can be alarming emotional, psychological, and physical impacts on their long-term health.


“Safety and Recovery for Children and Youth” living in the emergency shelter is The Redwood’s set of early intervention, tailor-made services aimed at giving children and youth opportunities to heal from the trauma they have experienced.


The Redwood’s specially trained Child and Youth program team advocates for our youngest residents from the moment they arrive at the shelter until they leave – and beyond, should children wish to stay in touch.


Their role includes connecting children to services in the community that all children need, like enrolling them in a local school and finding them a family doctor.


They make sure children’s basic needs are taken care of: nutritious meals that address their dietary needs, seasonally appropriate clothing and footwear, and supplies needed to fully participate in school.


They can also make referrals for the children to meet with our in-house Child and Youth Mental Health Clinician.

Ngasseu and Suavae, The Redwood's Child and Youth program team

In-house programs can include:

Lego-based Therapy

A program that uses Lego activities to develop important skills that have been affected by the trauma children have experienced, such as listening, turn-taking, negotiation, sharing, problem solving and working together.

Drumming Circle

Ngasseu, The Redwood’s Associate Manager, Child & Youth and Food Services who is also a master drummer, leads “Drumming Circle”, an activity that helps children to establish trust in themselves and others, develop self-esteem and self-worth, and learn healthy coping skills.

Mom & Me

A weekly structured activity of learning and unlearning for children and their mothers aimed at creating a safe space to foster healing and recovery.

Open organic conversation happens on various topics including body positivity,what safety looks like, diversity in Canada, and kindness and compassion.

The Redwood Bike Club

The Redwood Bike Club is a program that gives every child living in the shelter a chance to learn to ride a bicycle safely. 

Bike Club provides children with a sense of independence, increased confidence and opportunities for lifelong fitness.

Children who take part are provided with a new bicycle in the correct size, along with a helmet, lock and bell, all of which they can take with them when they leave the shelter!

Summer Fun

During the school holidays, the Child and Youth program team organizes opportunities for children and youth living in the shelter to explore city attractions along with their mothers.

Group outings can include trips to Centre Island, Riverdale Farm, and High Park for a picnic, swimming, and a visit to the zoo, and sometimes overnight camp in northern Ontario!

Rainbow Songs

The Redwood works with Rainbow Songs Foundation, an organization that provides high-quality, interactive music programs free of cost to families with children using shelter services in the GTA.

The Child and Youth program team works with Rainbow Songs’ instructors to present activities that build positive emotions, meaning, social connection and achievement through singing and learning to play instruments.

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