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MEDIA RELEASE                                            October 31, 2018

$705,600 OTF Grant to Grow Social Programs for York Region’s 2SLGBTQ+ Youth

Richmond Hill, ON – AIDS Committee of York (ACYR) has been awarded a $705,600 Grow Grant by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to expand its My House Rainbow Meeting Spaces program. The grant will help ACYR build on the success of its My House program and help foster social connections for isolated 2SLGBTQ+ youth through increased access to safe and inclusive social and recreational spaces in York Region.

The project will positively impact at least 2,500 isolated 2SLGBTQ+ youth in York Region by offering them increased access to spaces and opportunities to participate in social networks, organize recreational activities, seek wellness supports, become informed about community resources, gain knowledge and skills as volunteers and peer leaders, and engage with their community in a meaningful way. ACYR will deliver this project through a strategic partnership with diverse community groups including Canadian Mental Health Association – York Region Branch (CMHA-YR), Vaughan Community Health Centre (VCHC), City of Vaughan’s Recreation Services Department, 360°kids, and Pflag York Region.

Established in 2011, My House is the only peer-led social and recreational space of its kind in York Region that 2SLGBTQ+ community members and their allies can access on a drop-in basis. Since inception, My House has largely delivered programs along the Yonge Street corridor of York Region (from Richmond Hill to Newmarket). Through this project, the services of My House will be expanded across the south east-south west corridor (Vaughan, King, Markham, and Whitchurch-Stouffville) and northern areas (East Gwillimbury and Georgina) of the region.

“We are truly grateful for this support from OTF. Having access to a greater number of safe and inclusive My House programs in multiple new geographic locations across York Region will help reduce the social isolation experienced by 2SLGBTQ+ youth. With this grant we will be able to deliver My House programs at partner agency sites. This will help enhance meaningful social engagement of 2SLGBTQ+ community members and improve their knowledge of and connections with the broader social service network in the region,” said Vibhuti Mehra, Executive Director of ACYR.

To learn more about ACYR’s My House program, please visit http://www.acyr.org/myhouse/

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.

The AIDS Committee of York Region (ACYR) was founded in 1993 and formally incorporated as a registered charitable organization in 1996. ACYR’s mission is to create safe, confidential, and inclusive spaces and services in York Region where people can access dignified support and meaningfully engage in self-determined pathways to well-being. We envision an informed, healthy, stigma-free and compassionate community.

ACYR offers specialized and combined programs for:

  • People living with HIV/AIDS (newly diagnosed to long-term survivors)
  • People affected by or at risk of HIV and Hep C
  • People who use drugs
  • People who identify as 2SLGBTQ+
  • People supporting vulnerable and marginalized community members

Media Contact: Vibhuti Mehra, Executive Director
AIDS Committee of York Region
647-381-0295 vmehra@acyr.org
www.acyr.org