YMCA Youth Diversion

CHI - Youth Diversion Program Copy

A group of youth standing beside each other.

Program Partners

YMCA of Northern Alberta, Edmonton Police Service, Homeward Trust Edmonton, Boys & Girls Clubs/Big Brothers Big Sisters Edmonton, Making The Shift.

Youth Diversion Program is a partnership between YMCA of Northern Alberta and Homeward Trust. Youth Diversion is a demonstration project in the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS) project with A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. The program is funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy Program.


YMCA Youth Diversion connects at-risk youth involved in low-level criminal activity to positive community supports and resources. By providing the means and confidence to address their life’s challenges, the program seeks to prevent youth ages 12 and up from court involvement and the criminal justice system. 

YMCA Youth Diversion partners with Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) DIVERSIONfirst program, Homeward Trust Edmonton and Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sister's of Edmonton & Area to intervene at a critical juncture of a youth’s life, build meaningful relationships with the youth and their family, and helps youth seek accountability for their actions and positively move forward. Our program provides individualized support and engagement for youth that are referred from DIVERSIONfirst and works to ensure every youth’s unique circumstances are considered, and that they are empowered to achieve success and be positive contributors in the community. 

Through consistent communication, in-person or virtual meetings, and connecting youth to meaningful activities, our staff guide youth through the Restorative Justice process in order to identify how their behaviour impacts others and help them see their future with a positive outlook. 

The YMCA Youth Diversion program is a part of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab which is multi-year, multi-phase project delivered in partnership between A Way Home Canada and Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy program. YMCA Youth Diversion also connects youth with local agencies to ensure they get all the extra support they need such as housing support and counselling resources.

Click here to read about Jen, a YMCA Youth Diversion participant and how the program impacted her life.


YMCA Youth Diversion will:

  • Provide an individualized approach to meet each youth “where they are at”.
  • Engage with youth and their families and community supports at their earliest stage of involvement with the youth justice system.
  • Empower youth to move forward in a positive way.
  • Provide ongoing support that youth can reconnect to at any time.
  • Provide access to internal YMCA programs.

Referral Process

YMCA Youth Diversion receives its referrals primarily via DIVERSIONfirst. YMCA Youth Diversion seeks to be part of the intervention at the onset to begin building a meaningful relationship with both the youth as well as their family and personal network.

To learn more, please contact the Program Supervisor at 825-333-6500.