Charitable Choices: The Canadian Courage Project

The Canadian Courage Project is Canada’s first non-profit that focuses on supporting both animals and their youth owners transitioning out of shelters into independent housing.

The Canadian Courage Project

Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.

The Canadian Courage Project is Canada’s first non-profit that focuses on supporting both animals and their youth owners transitioning out of shelters into independent housing. At The Canadian Courage Project, we have two sectors, firstly, directing outreach through Wellness Departure care packages and wellness workshops, from art and mindfulness to mental health advocacy at youth shelters in the GTA.

Additionally, our education sector conducts workshops for youth through our national in-class workshops focused on awareness of the disparities in their own community and empower them to be changemakers.

What problem does it aim to solve?

The team noticed that when youth are making that transition out of the shelter system and into independent housing, they are left with very minimal support. Especially when youth experiencing homelessness are accompanied by an animal companion, they are less likely to receive housing and mental health resources because of this companion animal. About ten per cent of the 35,000 individuals experiencing homelessness on any given night in Toronto are accompanied by their pets. The Canadian Courage Project understands the mental health benefits that pets have on our well-being, and so we want to promote ownership of animals and create awareness within the community.
There is a growing body of research suggesting that owning an animal companion can decrease rates of anxiety and depression, not only for youth but for every single human being.

When did you start/join it?

The Canadian Courage Project was registered as a non-profit organization in May of 2020. Anya Bhopa has worked at animal shelters her whole life. During her experiences, she saw that a portion of the animals being surrendered were youth that didn’t have the means to support them or were facing homelessness. It all started in 2019 when her older sister Shania and herself created winterized care kits and personally delivered them downtown Toronto at Christmas time. Then it turned into a snowballing cascade of events. Now, a year and a half later, over  1,000 youth facing homelessness have received care kits and 74,000 in Ontario have attended a changemaker workshop.

What more needs to be done?

The homelessness crisis in Canada is still on the uprise, we need to work together to enhance the awareness in the community and push for change.

How can our readers help?

We launched our change fundraising clothing line, please check out the perfect gift of giving via our website.

Do you have any events coming up?

Yes! We just launched our newest fundraising clothing line. We have four items available for purchase, and they all symbolize a different facet of the organization.

Community, perspective, change, and together. 100 percent of all proceeds raised will go towards winter programming for youth and their animal companions facing homelessness this season.

Where can we follow you?

Our Instagram and you can keep up with what we are doing on our website.