Supporting our community thrive with the Kujenga Youth Wellbeing Program

In the first three months, the Kujenga Youth Wellbeing Project has surpassed initial goals and expectations.  The Kujenga Youth Wellbeing Project is a four-year project geared to supporting families to enhance their social and emotional wellbeing.

What we hope to accomplish

Enhanced social, emotional, and cultural pride for Black and racialized families, through the development of programs that focus on African, Indigenous, and Caribbean culture, diverse histories, and exposure to mentors that represent the ethnic identity of participants; and,

Increased positive parenting skills, strategies, and attitudes for black and racialized families by offering parent-sessions led by youth to equip parents to engage in community resources and address social isolation; and,

Improved mental health through reduced stress and anxiety amongst black and racialized youth by providing outreach and counseling options that are culturally relevant, trauma-informed, as well as supportive; and,

Increased support for youth transitioning out of care and youth leaving high school (grade 11 and up) which includes civic engagement, leadership programs, mentorship, and volunteer opportunities to engage in their community and lead projects.

Build and nurture community partnerships across the region, outreach, and collaborate with organizations, as evidenced by the number of community partnerships and the quality of relationships developed, and market upcoming programs and initiatives.

Our Programs

Ifarada's fundraising campaign

Parent Workshops and Family Outreach programs facilitated by social workers and/or child and youth practitioners.  Our family outreach program is designed to support families experiencing difficulties with relationships, family conflict, anti-Black racism and other forms of racism, and more.

Our therapeutic group programs are designed to support children and youth to address their emotional and social wellbeing.  The groups are skilled based and rooted in enhancing children's capacity to manage anxiety, bullying, low self-confidence and self-esteem, identity and more.  Therapeutic groups are typically five to eight weeks in length, and range from in-person to virtual depending on the group. Admissions are available at any time.

In collaboration with Durham Family and Cultural Centre, we have excellent programs designed for youth transitioning to adulthood, accessing professional and career support, and receiving mentorship. Young people can join our three week life skill and coaching development session throughout the year.  Connect with community partners and professionals to jump start your career development.  Or, attend one of our monthly workshops designed to learn micro skills such as computer literacy, resume and cover letter building, financial literacy and more.

Join our movement

We are looking for community partners to build collaboration, and support the community. Consider becoming a partner today!

Our Partners

Review our Quarterly Reports

Youth Program Final Report September - December 2022

Ifarada Wellbeing - Sept- January

Upcoming Initiatives

Join our Youth Advisory Council.  Our youth advisory council is an integral part of the Kujenga Youth Wellbeing Project.  Youth members help advise, consult, and advocate for youth within our programs, and help to shape future programs.  Youth advisory members receive $250 / per involvement.

TD Impact Fund

Youth programming is vital to supporting the positive development and growth for youth.  There are many benefits that support the purpose for youth programming which can be divided in several categories. These programs can serve to address the physical, development, and social needs of youth as they build the necessary skills to become successful adults. Youth programs come in various forms such as community service programs, mentoring programs and neighborhood youth centers. In July 2021, the TD Bank group awarded Ifarada with a grant that supported the youth programming: Young Queens, Nia Gwenda, Askira Girls, and Adrinkahene.

The power of groups...

Youths belonging to racialized communities are at a much higher risk for social exclusion, maltreatment, and risk-taking behaviour because of systemic racism, oppressive structures, and historical/intergenerational trauma stemming from the colonization of what is known as North America. Furthermore, Black and racialized youths are at a higher risk to develop negative peer association, lower self-esteem or self-loathing, disassociation from their culture or lack of cultural identity, internalizing negative and racist discourse about their community, and being ostracized from typical institutions of socialization

Understanding the Impact

Ifarada's programs are led through the support of the Executive Director, and volunteers. With added staff team members, who facilitated the programs, coordinated the volunteers, and developed the content, Ifarada was able to increase its impact throughout the funding period.

12 Volunteers

From September to December, 12 volunteers from undergrad and grad programs facilitated 5 groups.

317 Direct Support

Participants check in with facilitators once per week on an individual level. Parents are also provided tips and strategies on how to support their youth.

49 Group Hours

Groups take place online on a virtual platform. Groups are 2 hours in length on a weekly basis.

31 Youth

From September to December, 31 youth ages five to sixteen years old participated in the group programs.

Key Themes

In 2021, our world continued to experience a global pandemic. This experience was difficult for our participants, our volunteers, and our families. In response to these difficulties, our programs focused on responding to COVID-19 and building our youth to manage and enhance their functioning.


Askira means "warrior". Through unique programming, Askira girls focused on self-esteem building, social skill development, and emotional regulation.

Our impact...

Our participant's ages 5 to 9 years old shared their experiences with the virtual program. Our programs included a strong emphasis on culture and ethnic identity. In addition, our girls participated in engaging activities that enhanced their functioning.

"I learned about my culture, and other cultures around the world, how I am unique"

“I like drawing my own tree ‘all about me’ and the staring contest to show how eye contact brings us together”

“Me as a warrior would have her black hair in a bun, and a blue suit and my real-life superpower is running fast, and being kind”

“I learned about different emotions, and other girls in the group also feel sad sometimes”

“Everyone is nice,  I made friends in the group, and people listen to my story”

“My skin colour is brown and it is a good part of me”

COVID-19 Impacts on our family...

The girls shared about the challenges that have occurred in the past two years of their life, including feeling scared at times, lonely, and sometimes missing out on activities they had previously joined in with. The girls noted that the group was “fun” and a place to talk about their feelings. We supported the girls to learn about using their inner strengths, and safe people in their life to cope with difficulties that come up when going back to in-person learning. Facilitators came up with creative activities, to aid a fun atmosphere while learning about labeling, identifying, and coping with emotions; emotional regulation skills, and other topics such as helpful communication skills, and self-awareness. Breathing activities, such as candle breathing, were an engaging way to teach skills for emotional regulation and coping with big emotions. Children shared they would remember skills taught in the group in their school day. Parents noted it was a space where their child felt comfortable to join back each week, with accessibility due to Zoom access and facilitators' helpful reminders of the sessions. Facilitators were aware of the technical issues that may arise as a barrier to participation and would call caregivers to assist if needed, or follow-up.

Youth identified how the pandemic impacted their lives.

The group supported these struggles by processing through talking and therapeutic art activities exploring the surrounding emotions, (for example sadness, loneliness, fear, anger, frustration), and facilitators building a safe place for belonging and social connection in our group. Finding strategies in the group to find opportunities to continue pursuing interests and activities in creative ways, exploring ways to support healthy friendship, discussing safety and supporting wellbeing in the virtual world, including social media personal boundaries, and moving away from internalizing harmful experiences on social media to support positive identity and self-esteem. Promoting use of coping strategies, such as mindfulness, self-awareness of somatic symptoms to cue participants to rest, breath, do something that makes them feel safe, and coping tools to support mental health.

Explore our other great programs

Upcoming Groups

Groups are held on a quarterly basis, with intakes occurring one month before the start date. Join any time to access our waitlist. Group dates: January-March, May to June, July-August, and October to December.

Register for youth programming

Registration for youth programming is open to participants and families at any time. Participants have access to a counsellor and family support.

Share your perspective? Have you attended one of our groups? Share your story with our team or complete our survey.

Review the reports

Program Evaluation Report

(September to December 2021)

Summary and Impact Statements

(September to December 2021)

With thanks to TD for the invaluable support.

Nia Gwenda: Program

About Nia Gwenda: Girls with Purpose

Nia Gwenda is a girl focused youth based group for ages 12-18 years old. The group aims to educate and support girls to develop their life skills and build relationships within themselves and with others in their lives. 

Process:  Each youth is interviewed individually prior to the group starting for an intake assessment.  This may take 1-3 sessions and is not included in the total group sessions.  The youth meets again individually with the facilitator during the group on one occasion and at termination of the group.

Cost: There is no cost for participants. Nia Gwenda depends on the donations of others for space, facilitators, food, and materials. If you wish to donate to our program, please contact us at:

Program Length: These sessions are included in the total group sessions and are incorporated in the group fee.  The group sessions run for 1.5 to 2 hours at a time, for a total of 8 to 12 group sessions on a weekly basis. 

Photo by Luis Quintero on

Purpose: Nia Gwenda provides support, skills training, cultural awareness and mental wellness for girls.  The group supports youth develop connections with other group members, provide a space for them to address difficult challenges in their lives, and assistance to deal with mood and behavior difficulties.  The group teaches youth skills on how to manage their mental health and moods, to learn relaxation and mindfulness skills, to develop independent skills, and to enhance their communication skills.  The group incorporates social and cultural awareness within the group, teaches cultural norms and expectations, and encourages youth to connect their identity with cultural beliefs and standards.  The group incorporates treatment approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, narrative therapy, and art and music therapy.  We use social media within the group.  Snacks are provided within each group.

With Purpose...

"every woman, was a little girl with hopes, dreams & purpose" Nicole Perryman


Our first ever program evaluation was drafted by one of our students, Mariyam during her placement at Aset Group Consulting and Counselling Services. The evaluation was a way to capture our past accomplishments for Nia Gwenda, with the hopes of continuing our efforts in the future, documenting our successes and stories, and improving our services to girls and their families. To read the document, you may find it here: Nia Gwenda: An Overview


Join the conversation, if you are a girl, parent or care provider wanting to learn more about our programming, email us at: If you would like to share your Nia Gwenda girl story, please submit your comments at: Share your Story.

Interested in joining?

Nia Gwenda is made for you! Learn more about our programs, join one of our sessions, or follow our initiatives!