The YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program

The YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program 

YGAP Is a free service offering educational prevention programs designed to raise youth awareness with regards to gambling, healthy/active living and making informed decisions. The Youth Gambling Awareness Program is led by the YMCA of Greater Toronto National and Provincial Unit, lead site, in collaboration with other YMCAs across 19 sites in Ontario. Using a harm reduction approach, we offer youth accurate information to make their own informed choices around gambling and other high-risk activities.

Studies show that adolescents report significantly higher rates of problem gambling than adults. Gambling patterns start as early as 8 years of age and can be established before an adolescent reaches high school. Youth today are the first generation to grow up in a society where gambling is actively promoted, legalized and glamorized and participation in internet gambling has steadily increased among young adults. Youth are less likely to get involved in problematic behaviors if their coping strategies are enhanced.

Together with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, we believe education is essential to enhancing personal development, creating healthier communities and helping youth reach their potential. YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program is offered in English and French across Ontario.

Our Approach to Gambling

  • Gambling Neutral – We don’t make value judgments regarding gambling rather we see it as an activity people may or may not choose to engage in.
  • Harm Reduction – Like many activities we participate in, gambling contains some risk. Gaining accurate knowledge about gambling and learning positive play strategies can help reduce the risk that may be associated with gambling.
  • Balanced Perspective – Discuss both the positives and negatives of gambling and how they impact our community and self.


  • We:
  • Discuss with students to the potential risks of gambling;
  • Offer students accurate information about gambling;
  • Explore the role probability plays in games of chance;
  • Encourage skill development in regards to making informed life decisions around risk-taking behaviors;
  • Discuss possible consequences of, and decisions relating to, gambling
  • Help students recognize the signs of problem gambling and identify strategies to reduce the harm associated with gambling including decision-making and coping strategies ( in below, you will find some of the signs of problem gambling);
  • Give participants access to community resources and other local service providers that can help them with a potential gambling problem



about YGAP

What do we do in your community?


 icon-caret-right Awareness Raising Activities:

  • Deliver interactive sessions for youth ages 8-24
  • Offer students accurate information about gambling and help students to develop the skills needed to make informed life decisions around risk-taking behaviours
  • Create a general understanding of risk assessment and harm reduction strategies
  • Discuss possible consequences of, and decisions relating to gambling
  • Offer curriculum activities based on Ministry of Education requirements
  • Provide interactive sessions for adults involved in young people’s lives
  • Educational workshops for parents, teachers, health professionals, and other agencies and organizations

  icon-caret-right Community Involvement:

Plan and implement events designed to promote community awareness and involvement in issues related to youth gambling.

Click here to learn more about Community Involvement

   icon-caret-right  Youth Engagement:

Facilitate youth driven initiatives to promote youth expression and community action related to youth gambling.

Click here to learn more about Youth Engagement


Note to teachers and educators: Educators play a key role in helping their students understand the signs of problem gambling. In addressing the needs of youth between the ages of 8 and 24, the YMCA Youth gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) offers a series of educational workshops/presentations which include concepts from the new Health and Physical Education Curriculum. see more

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Youtube