You can help kids before it’s too late.

project step is an award-winning drug and substance abuse initiative serving youth in Ottawa.

United Way Ottawa works with project step partners to ensure youth in all 57 of Ottawa’s high schools and three community organizations have access to counselling, support, addiction education, and prevention programming.

The problem


85% of addicted adults began using drugs and alcohol in their early youth


A photo of a young women next to some trees.

Early intervention, education and family support stops addiction in its tracks for 75% of youth

How you can help

A group of kids placing their hands in a circle

Raise the dialogue around addictions in youth, and give to help project step change lives.

The story of youth addiction


of students in grades 9-12 report drug addiction


of addicted adults started under the age of 15


of students in grades 7-12 report recreational use of prescription opioids


of students in grades 7-12 report using cannabis in the past year

Many will end up homeless, suffering mental and physical health problems, and in trouble with the law.

Together we are
changing this story

We care about youth, know the dangers of addiction, and want to make a difference.

We also help in ways that work.

Early intervention and support are key to ending and preventing youth addictions. That’s why project step provides the support vulnerable young people and their families need to realize their potential.

Since 2007, with your support,
project step
has helped:

7,700+ students access school-based counselling.

42,300+ students receive education sessions.

5,500 parents obtain support.

Making a real difference

project step is reaching youth and their families and making a real difference. More vulnerable youth are sticking with school, reducing and stopping drugs and alcohol, and seeing a different future made possible thanks to project step.

In 2012, Rick shared his story about living on the streets and being addicted to drugs. He explained how project step helped him turn his life around. Now, Rick graduated from high-school as his class valedictorian, with plans to attend college.


Join us at a project step fundraising or community event or contact us to bring your group on a United Way Seeing is Believing Tour of our community-based programs.


Help make a difference today. Donate to project step and change the life of a youth in our community.

In Memory

Honour the memory of Simon Steinhoff and others who have passed away by making a gift in memoriam.

Help change the life of a youth in our community.