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When Katie Heggtveit was doing research at Trek for Teens Foundation for homeless youth in 2017, she came across a website of a shelter in Toronto, Horizons for Youth. She learned that their fitness and wellness program had been cut due to a lack of funding. As a certified fitness instructor and experienced volunteer with youth experiencing homelessness, a cold email pitch had her volunteering in the youth shelter the following week teaching group fitness.

After receiving an overwhelming positive response and connecting with the youth, she immediately committed to teaching a weekly program there. This is where the idea of Bootcamps For Change was born, with a vision to have our weekly in-shelter fitness programming and educational workshops available for all youth experiencing homelessness in Canada.

The Bootcamps for Change team is really proud of our client-centered programming, and are always striving for more. After noticing the natural coaching abilities of many of the youth Katie was meeting, she decided to design “Sweatier for the Better” - a scholarship to certify youth experiencing homelessness as Personal trainers and Group Fitness instructors.



Life's most persistent and urgent questions is, what are you doing for others? - Martin Luther King Jr. 

Our goal is to create accessible fitness initiatives to everyone, we believe access to fitness can be life-changing and transformative. We facilitate weekly in-shelter fitness programs for homeless youth (16-24) and are based in the GTA, but are excited about our expansion into new cities as we extend our reach nationwide. Our goal is to empower youth through fitness and provide them with a transferable skillset that they can use in seeking employment. We want to empower these youth to gain self-confidence, acquire new skills, while linking them directly with local jobs, opportunities and mentors; using relationships we have authentically built with our ongoing community initiatives. We believe that fitness can break the cycle of poverty through our three pillars: physical health, mental health, and resilience.



Organizing accessible physical activity for at-risk youth on a consistent basis is essential for overall strength, mental well-being and in the prevention of illness and disease. 

Physical health is intertwined with mental health, as those who experience less stress get sick less often, and in turn, are more productive at work and take less sick days to avoid financial difficulty.

Youth experiencing poverty are more likely to be physically ill due to little physical exercise opportunities in shelters. This can then in turn become time away from work due to poor physical or mental health, thus continuing the poverty cycle. By implementing our fitness programs we are then one step closer to assisting in breaking that cycle.