With the support of the City of Cambridge

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SHYFT is a 12-week program for cis and trans girls, non-binary and Two-Spirit youth ages 8 to 14. SHYFT is rooted in our confidence in youth’s abilities to change the world around them. This program provides opportunity for discussion and action, by allowing participants to make sense of what they are experiencing externally and feeling internally. This program covers topics like body image, self-esteem, media and pop culture literacy, social justice and action, gender and socialization, healthy relationships, consent and bystander intervention.

The goal of SHYFT is to foster critical thinking skills and provide outlets for participants to create their own social-justice based media-arts projects. The program has proven not only to positively affect those who participate, but their amazing projects have been shared with and impacted the entire community.


In the past, participants have collaborated to make social change through graffiti art, self-love space take-overs,  button campaigns and video projects. Though we often collaborate on group projects and campaigns, participants also get to take part in individual, hands-on arts based activities such as tie-dyed tote-bags with supportive messages on them, pronoun necklaces and digital social media-style art pieces. Facilitators plan sessions based on what activities participants would like to do and tie them to a discussion based on the needs of those in the group.

In Class Education

Are You An Educator Interested In Bringing SHYFT To Your School?

SHYFT offers free programs and workshops! Our prevention-based workshops can be offered classwide and focus on building awareness around gender and socialization, healthy relationships, consent and bystander intervention!

To learn more about the benefits of having SHYFT programming in your school, please contact SHYFT is funded by the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation.  

woman speaking into megaphone

Family Story Time

Through the SHYFT program, Family Story Time became a way to engage our caregivers in the conversations and open up multigenerational conversations as a family, relating the activity to the themes and content of our programming. Family Story Time was developed and offered as a way to continue supporting youth participants and families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Story Time became a way for us to reconnect and further our reach with the community, engage with participants and their families and provide families an opportunity to come together through storytelling. Story Time is offered virtually each month for families and is facilitated through Zoom or Google Meet. Upon registration to the program, participants receive their Family Story Time Kit which includes a copy of the book we read together, a snack item or ingredients to make their own snack (i.e. cookies or bannock for our Indigenous People’s Day story) and a package of handouts and materials needed to take part in a hands-on activity or art component.


This program can be adapted to be an in-school presentation OR four-session program – content for programming can be built out based on class needs.

Funded by Waterloo Region Community Foundation


My Story →
"SHYFT is open. I don't hold things back now. I'm more expressive than I was in the beginning. I am usually a really shy person and I find it hard to talk to new people. That's changed for me." - Male-identified participant, age 11


My Story →
"I learned that it's okay that I am quiet. I learned that I have really great things to share sometimes and I should do that more. I also realize now that just because I am quiet doesn't mean that you should underestimate me." - Participant, age 11


My Story →
"I like that here I can trust people. I don't always feel safe in class to share what I really think or feel. Here with other girls in the space we made, I know I can." - Participant, age 10


My Story →
"This group was a place where I can say feelings without being judged." - Male-identified participant 10
Two young women smiling behind table at "walk a mile in her shoes"

Let’s Make A Difference Together

Volunteers are the heart of what we do. By being so generous with their time, skills, passion and creativity, our team of dedicated volunteers are our advocates and allies in this work to support and embolden cis and trans women & girls, non-binary and Two-Spirit individuals and advocate for equality.

Programs & Events Calendar

Guests at Langdon Hall

Browse upcoming events, fundraisers, and programs offered by YWCA Cambridge

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