Category Archives: Youth Issues Toolkit

Training Resources

Things You Need to Know as a Community Youth Worker – is a practical booklet offering some foundational skills and thoughts about community-based youth work.  Created by front-line staff from Edmonton Youth Unlimited, this little booklet will guide you into engaging with young people in ways that are both impactful and life-giving … for you and the teens. Download the Electronic Version -Things you need to know as a community youth worker here or the Printable Version – Things you need to know as a community youth worker to pass on to your volunteers.

MORE Online Training Resources:

Fuller Youth Institute – has excellent training resources to equip the urban youth worker.  Although written from an American context, there is a wealth of information on this site, addressing everything form using hip hop culture in ministry to self-care in the middle of chronic crisis ministry.

Canadian Youth Worker – is a group that provides provocative insights, relevant ideas, current trends and reviews of resources for Youth Workers across Canada. Check out their regular blog for great resources and helpful practical soul-care ideas for the volunteer or career youth worker.

Youth Ministry 360 – provides a training blog with archived resources that provide information for the faith-based youth worker.  Most of the training topics are from the context of church youth work, but many of the discipleship concepts can be transferred to community youth work.

ProjectYM – focuses on youth ministry within Catholic parishes and offers so solid content for connecting youth to spiritual practices. This page has  number of instructional and inspirational videos.

Other Training Ideas:

Lifeteams School – offers an 8 1/2 month training school, preparing young adults work with high risk youth from a faith-based perspective.

The following Bible Colleges work in partnership with Lifeteams School to provide a specialized youth work degree, allowing students to include this one year of hands-on training in community youth work in their degree program:

Briercrest College (Saskatchewan)

Columbia Bible College (B.C.)

Ambrose University College (Alberta)

Prairie Bible Institute (Alberta)

Issue: Surviving being “At-Risk”

164-6428_IMGSome kids seem to have the odds stacked against them, but research shows that trouble doesn’t need to be their destiny.  Standing despite the storms is called Resiliency, and it can happen when kids have a variety of protective factors built into their lives.

Building Resiliency in Young People is a resource from Australia that offers tons of practical exercises to do with groups that can be modified to use in one-on-one’s as well. The information is valuable and knowing it will help you as a youth worker feel less powerless against the negative factors threatening youth.

Issue: Sexual Exploitation

centre for child protection

Sexual exploitation of youth can happen in many different contexts, from the back streets of the city to the school hallways to the young person’s computer.  Stopping the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth is a really informative booklet that explores everything from who is vulnerable to sexual exploitation, to what that can look like and how you can help (it’s a great teaching resource!).  Cybertip!ca is an online sexual exploitation reporting tipline that walks you through reporting suspected exploiters, with a myriad of further resources as well. Media Smarts will help you understand the risks young people face online and help you help them recognize the dangers.

Issue: Addictions Parent Support

Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 2.23.51 PMYouth who are addicted to drugs or alcohol leave parents and youth workers at a loss of how to impact them. From Grief to Action is a support and resource community dedicated to being a road map for parents. Their free “Coping Kit” can help you help parents navigate toward sanity in the middle of the chaos. For more comprehensive info to help understand addictions more fully check out

Issue: Youth In Care

Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 1.19.09 PMThe terminology and processes of being “in care” can be confusing, but knowing about the system can help you walk with kids who are dealing with social workers, foster parents, and other professionals in their lives.  This page on the Kids Helpphone site is a great overview of what you need to know and is written for youth, so you can walk through it with your kids or read it yourself for a better understanding kids who are in the care of the system.

Link: Managing Stress

According to the 20Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 1.40.19 PM13 B.C. Adolescent Health Survey, 13% of females and 5% of males say that in the last month they have had stress so extreme, it kept them from functioning properly. Between the ages of 13 and 16 the overall number of youth reporting debilitating stress rose by 10% over the last year.

One online resource to give youth a practical, step by step plan for dealing with stress and the anxiety around it is found at They provide a free online “emotional intelligence toolkit” to help young people build skills to figure out their emotions and manage their stress.

link: Anxiety


Screen shot 2014-02-22 at 10.43.18 AM – A website providing excellent practical resources for helping youth deal with anxiety, and helping youth workers and parents understand this overwhelming issue that is seriously affecting up to 20% of young people in Canada. Check out Mindshift – the new free app to help youth manage their anxiety in the moment, wherever they are.  We’ve tested it with youth and are hearing good feedback on this tool.

And for the youth themselves, link them up to Kids Help Phone panic and anxiety page. It’s got some good info and great practical tips to help kids deal with what’s going on inside them as well.

Link: Understanding Psychosis in Youth

psychosisThis is an early psychosis prevention program full of information on psychosis and practical resources for treatment and recovery. Approximately three per cent of the population will experience a psychotic episode at some point in their lives; many will have their first experience in adolescence or early adulthood. For some, the symptoms come on gradually and appear to be the behaviours of a “difficult teen”; in others, the symptoms appear rapidly and are clearly the result of a disorder. This website gives insight into what psychosis looks likeAlso includes ways to help someone who is suffering.

Continue reading Link: Understanding Psychosis in Youth

Link: Self-Harm

There are a number of solid resources to help us get a better understanding of the minds and hearts of teens who self-harm, and how we can help.

Here are a few:

To Write Love on Her Arms – The story and intent behind this movement makes it a good place to start. Their blogs on self harm are not focused on treatment but on inspiration and understanding of those who are in this battle.

Cycle of Self-harm – An excellent diagram explain the cycle that many who self-injure find themselves in over and over again. Taken from  Healing the Hurt Within: Understand Self-injury and Self-harm, and Heal the Emotional Wounds , and great resource to help the youth worker know where to start.

Helpguide – These pages offer a short yet comprehensive overview that looks at questions like “why does it work” and “what can I do?”  It also includes myths, warning signs, and helpful links.


Continue reading Link: Self-Harm

Link: Aboriginal Youth Support

Honouring Life Network: Aboriginal youth suicide prevention website.

This website has a number of useful and informative resources. There a videos about supporting those affected by suicide or struggling with suicidal thoughts as well as youth talking about how to prevent suicide and honour life. There are numerous ideas for Aboriginal youth and those working with Aboriginal youth. Continue reading Link: Aboriginal Youth Support

More links to resources for youth workers …

Mental Health Issues and Youth: – A website for parents or professionals working with children who have mental health challenges. Includes a list of resources to give practical help as well as information for parents to get support in their community. – An interactive website with information on issues such as anxiety, substance use and eating disorders. Includes personal stories as well as practical help resources for youth. – This website provides information concerning issues such as abuse, drugs & addiction, employment, mental health and sex. For those in B.C. it also includes lists of services available. – A practical and informative site offering resources to help you deal with youth issues such as cutting, suicide, eating disorders, anger, cyberbullying, depression …

General Issues: – This page contains links to blogs and articles by youth ministry expert Marv Penner about parenting and adolescence, as well as links to any other really helpful roundtable discussions, blogs and resources. – This link leads to an 8 step program to help kids get through pain or addiction. – Information on the issues and ideas affecting youth and how to respond to them.  A faith-based site that gathers information for you, to resource you in your work with youth. – This link offers an online booklet for depression self help. It also includes tips for what to expect from child, youth and family mental health services in B.C..