Putting Kids First: At Home, at the Game, and Everywhere They Go


Photo © Courtesy of Kids Up Front

Kids Up Front, charity for kids

Kids Up Front Toronto provides experiences to deserving children and youth in the Toronto area. They believe that all kids should have access to enriching experiences like arts, culture, and sporting events. Attendance at events like these helps to foster feelings of inclusion and belonging in the children.

After a year and a half spent in lockdown, the whole world now knows what it feels like to be socially isolated.

In a matter of days, the world went from stadiums to “stay at home.” Months of lockdowns from the pandemic meant zero access to live events for anyone, regardless of their income. For some children, this lack of access was not much different than their lives before the pandemic.

Kids Up Front, a Toronto charity known for making meaningful connections between youth and community, is dedicated to improving the lives of young people facing barriers to access by including them in events at no cost.

Since its inception in 2006, Kids Up Front has provided more than 675,000 experiences (tickets, classes, and passes) valued at more than $25 million to Toronto youth and their families from 250+ charitable partners and schools.

But amid a global health crisis, Kids Up Front had to navigate a world where coming together to make an impact was not possible—and what they learned changed their understanding of true togetherness; that it’s not where we gather, but how we come together, in any capacity, to create experiences that foster genuine connections.

Within weeks of the pandemic, Kids Up Front launched Kids at Home, a virtual program designed to help kids and families during their new locked-down world by offering a variety of educational and entertaining virtual programming.

With the help of donors across the country, Kids Up Front was able to continue its mission of promoting inclusion and strengthening communities by connecting children and their families to enriching experiences.

As COVID-19 continued to increase the gaps in access for vulnerable families, Kids Up Front took another step forward, introducing Handled With Care, an initiative to connect donated goods to those in need. These new initiatives have taken the value of Kids Up Front to a new level, expanding their impact at a critical time in our history.

There is now a more significant understanding of what it means to be socially isolated, and Kids Up Front hopes that this new knowledge will, in turn, lead to a deeper understanding of why it is vital to fight social isolation and tear down the barriers that limit inclusion and community.

The cost of a movie ticket, hockey ticket, or a music lesson is out of reach for so many families. Kids Up Front exists to make sure all children, regardless of income and other barriers, get a seat at the game, a chance at a singing lesson, or a taste of adventure.

“I really love singing lessons because it teaches me things about my voice …I can sing riffs and high notes I didn’t even know was possible. If I could have more lessons, I would definitely make sure to work extremely hard…I hope one day I can sing like Ariana Grande!”

—Kids Up Front Testimonial

“I have two toddlers, it’s been a challenge being at home during this pandemic. I was struggling to think of creative ways to occupy their time, and this donation has brought us so much joy. My kids have loved learning new songs, interacting with other kids their age, and having dance parties … it has honestly made our lives better.”

—Kids Up Front Testimonial

“Thank you loyal Torontonians for helping us build a more inclusive city over the past 15 years. You are making deserving kids happy.”

—Lindsay Oughtred, Kids Up Front Toronto Executive Director.

If you have opportunities, virtual or live, to donate, please reach out at:torontotickets@kidsup-front.com or on social media @KidsUpFrontTO

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With more than 650,000 tickets distributed over the past 13 years, we are an organization like no other in Canada – providing tickets to hundreds of partner agencies from generous donors


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