“I got into my dream university!”

Alyah is a recent graduate from the RBC Raise the Grade program and is now attending post-secondary at Queens University!

Mentor Lauren Ouellette (left) working with her youth Alyah Opel (right).

Raise the Grade has helped me tremendously with my homework, staying on track with my grades, and figuring out my career aspirations. I’m so thankful for a program like RBC Raise the Grade, because I know I can count on my mentors when I need help in any aspect of my life. I graduated high-school in June 2019 and just started the Kinesiology program at Queens University! I got into my dream university and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my mentors in RBC Raise the Grade. Thank you Lauren and Olivia for all your help over the last three years and St. Alban’s for providing this program for youth!

Alyah Opel

About the RBC Raise the Grade program

The RBC Raise the Grade program is an educational program of Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and supported by RBC Future Launch.  You will be matched 1-on-1 with a mentor volunteer who will help you discover your own interests, work on your homework, study tips, and figure out your career path! The RBC Raise the Grade program at St. Alban’s Boys and Girl’ Club happens every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  Program participants can register by contacting our Raise the Grade coordinator, Cindy Nguyen at cindy@stalbansclub.ca

INC Studio holds beat competition

Our INC Studio held a two day beat competition this August. Eight participants from INC Studio and visiting faction Loop Sessions challenged each other in a friendly display of musical innovation and beat production, with the audience choosing their winner for the final prize! We would like to especially thank Pizzaville and Loops Sessions for their partnership and support during these events!

Congratulations to Selah Beats for taking home top prize! Selah Beats is a 16 year old beatmaker based out of the west end of Toronto, who first developed a taste for beat production two years ago. Selah has a love for pop centric and out there styles which has been improved on working with Loop Sessions staff and participants. Congrats again and enjoy your new Playstation Mini.

Opening week of Camp Howland Lake!

The Youth Adventure campers and staff had the honour of being the first group to stay at the newly opened Camp Howland Lake. The only structure on the grounds is the dining hall – so we set up bunk beds and stayed there for a week from July 22-26.

There were so many great memories and experiences from the week. Here are some of the best (or most memorable!) moments from the group!

Some of my favourite moments were when we went fishing and kayaking and I like how we all did things together in a group and the most hilarious moment was when Fabian was saying the scary story – it was so much fun.

~Layla S.S.

My Favourite memory was when I went fishing

~Adam S.

My favourite thing from camping was swimming and jumping off the dock.

~Olivia D

My favourite memory was teaching the youth how to fish! I loved seeing how excited they got about fishing. I love that the girls were more excited about fishing then the boys and that everyone had a chance to catch at least one fish. The funniest moment for me was when Karol was trying to take the fish she just caught off the hook.

~Kat (youth staff)

My funniest memory was when I fell trying to climb up my bunk bed and when I pushed Fabian into the water.


I had a blast at the first week of Camp Howland! My favourite memory was when all the staff planned a scary story walk for the campers; we went when it was pitch black. I WAS SO SCARED OUT OF MY MIND…in such a fun way.


My funniest memory was when Fabian tried to push me in the water, when I was on the kayak and I tipped over into the lake.

~Sam M.

Leann Hughes – Song writing contest WINNER!

Congratulations to Leann Hughes for winning the 2019 St. Alban’s song writing contest with her track, Taking Me Higher. 

Jo’el Douglas presents the prize cheque to Leann Hughes, 2019 Songwriting contest winner.

Leann has been active in the Toronto music community for a 5 years, starting when she first found her voice on her church’s choir. From there, Leann started exploring jazz and RnB. She recently started writing her own songs as she felt limited by the songs provided to her and felt she could create her own. With the help of INC studio, Leann creates amazing songs both for herself and for music lovers!

Listen to the winning track, Taking Me Higher.

St. Alban’s youth visit Sunchild First Nation School in Alberta!

St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club at Crescent Falls Clearwater County, Alberta. May 25, 2019

In part 1, we described the wonderful time we had when the students of Sunchild School came to visit us here in Toronto. Now on to Part 2 – our turn to visit them! On our trip to Sunchild First Nations School in Alberta we were pushed out of our comfort zones. We camped in Tipis for the day, went mountain biking, went to a PowWow, went for a hike in the mountains and learned about the community, helped the elders and painted a mural during our community engagement day.

This youth exchange trip was a really great experience for me. We got along really well with the students of Sunchild school. I have some really amazing memories with my friends from Toronto and my new friends in Sunchild. Even though we will probably never see them again, it was an extraordinary experience I will never forget. If we had the choice again I’d do it in a heartbeat. Also I learned “Paskwaw mostos” – this means buffalo/bison in Cree.


My favourite thing that we did was when we went to the mountains and then went to the pow wow at the school.

Photo of one of our twins dancing Fancy Shawl in the PowWow Sunchild Reserve, Alberta. May 25, 2019

The day we saw the pow wow was amazing! Many of us had never been to a Pow Wow. Just to see how the community comes to together to celebrate is awesome. For us this pow wow was a little extra special as one of our “twins” was a dancer in the celebration.

As a staff I love participating in this program. The YMCA Youth Exchange program teaches the youth about culture, to step out of their comfort zones and try new things that they would never otherwise have the chance to do.

Kat Bonnell
Tony & Sunchild Youth standing in front of their room for the night

Where will next year’s Youth Exchange take us? Stay tuned!

Countdown to Camp – Meet Hibo!

Hibo, Summer Camp Staff

Favourite summer memory:
Wet ‘n’ wild water park, my little friend Maya was afraid of water slides but with a little encouragement she faced her fears and we ended up having a great time going down that slide together

Favourite summer activities:
Rock climbing, soccer baseball, capture the flag, and Friday Field Trips!!

What I’m looking forward to this summer:
To the new groups of superstars I’ll be meeting soon and making long lasting memories together

What I’m nervous about:
I’m on the less nervous and more excited side of the spectrum

If I had one superpower:
Definitely wish I could teleport! St. Albans by day, world traveler by night!

Power Youth Exhibition

The Power Youth Showcase took place at Harbourfront in June and gave the youth a chance to show off everything they have been working on this year in the program.

Showcase took place at Harbourfront in June and gave the youth a chance to show off everything they have been working on this year in the program.

On Monday and Wednesday evenings from January to April, youth at the Humber Clubhouse, Boys & Girls Clubs of Weston-Mount Dennis, and 155 Neptune Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs of Lawrence Heights, worked with their selected Artist-in-Residence, Hip Hop artist, Grivanni Binger, aka Gene One. With his multi-talented background, Gene One helped youth learn two aspects of Hip Hop culture: beat-production and graffiti. Youth gained practical skills in design and production, while also engaging in discussion about the politics of art.

From September through December, Humber youth worked with Lee Pham, artist, producer and break dancer, known in the breaking community as Lethal. Fifth generation member of world renowned b-boy crew, SuperNaturalz.

St. Alban’s Youth welcome Sunchild First Nation School!

St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club and Sunchild First Nation School at the CN Tower on May 13th 2019

On May 9th, St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club had the pleasure of hosting a group of students from Sunchild First Nation School, who live on the Sunchild 202 Reserve in Alberta. They arrived to Toronto as part of the Youth Exchanges Canada (YEC) program: The YEC is a unique program that gives youth the opportunity to travel to another province or territory, learn about Canada’s heritage, and take pride in their own communities.

During their stay, St. Alban’s youth and Sunchild First Nation school students got to know each other through ice-breaker games during a pot-luck dinner.  Afterwards, students played a group game of volleyball, which built their communication, leadership, and teamwork skills! 

We started off the week with a guided bus tour of downtown Toronto, exploring Casa Loma, Yorkville, Chinatown, Nathan Phillips Square, and the University of Toronto. The tour highlighted Toronto’s culture and diversity. We finished the day off with a Toronto Blue Jays game, which many students said they are a fan of!

Later in the week, students participated in the annual DSAT Buddy Walk supporting Down Syndrome awareness for community engagement.  Sunchild First Nation students witnessed a beautiful and emotional speech by our long-time youth member Olivia and her mother. We ended the 5-day itinerary with a day trip to Niagara Falls, the CN Tower and the Ripley’s Aquarium!

Alban’s and Sunchild School youth at Niagara Falls

St. Alban’s has participated in this program for 15 years and this is the 2nd year in a row that St. Alban’s leaders Cindy and Kat have done the program together. What makes this program extra special are the relationships that are made. It’s also fun to interact with new people and learn about different cultures across Canada.  I would highly recommend this program to all youth. It is definitely a life-changing experience.

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post, highlighting our experience at Sunchild First Nation School!

Countdown to Camp – Meet Paige!

Paige, Summer Camp Staff

Favorite summer memory growing up
Riding my bike on dirt paths with my cousin and friends. 

Favorite summer activities?
I love going to water parks 

What are you looking forward to this summer?
Seeing new and old faces return to Summer Camp

Anything you are nervous about?
I’m most nervous about how cold the pool water will be

If you had one super power what would it be and why?
That’s simple… to be stronger than all of the infinity stones (TEAM MARVEL)