Help Youth Thrive

Help us help youth thrive in a post-pandemic world.


Common Compass invites you to join our mission to deliver preventative strategies that empower youth, schools, and communities with robust social-emotional well-being and mental health.

I started Common Compass in 2014. My goal? To fill a large gap in our public education system. They lack sufficient supports and resources to prevent and address widespread mental health needs among students. This long-standing and highly concerning challenge has been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic.

As Kim Pastrak, a chaplaincy leader at St John Henry Newman Catholic School, recently told me:

“So, at our school right now, what we’re seeing is mainly around mental health. Many students are suffering from anxiety and depression. Most of that is coming out of the pandemic.”

What’s happening in Kim’s school is a national problem. This September, The Toronto Star reported on this ongoing concern, citing studies that tell a troubling story.

A province-wide survey discovered that a whopping 95 per cent of Ontario schools need help with mental health challenges among students. That’s why school principals pointed to local mental health organizations like Common Compass as a much-needed resource for students, families, and educators.

A CTV News report further highlighted how helping kids understand their feelings, emotions, and relationships, as well as when to ask for help, are essential for a good quality of life. These outcomes are embodied in Common Compass’ school programs and are our raison d’être.

We operate, however, on a shoe-string budget. Despite the demand by schools for our programs, fees cover only a portion of our rising costs, often well after they have been incurred. This fact, along with other unavoidable factors, such as inflation, mean we operate at a deficit. As a result, we have to say no to many schools reaching out for our support.

Common Compass relies on the community’s investments in our evidence-based, proactive strategies and resources for healthier, happier, and more productive lives. 

That’s why I am asking you to donate. Your generosity will help us to continue delivering more Common Compass programing with the many school communities who urgently need our help.

Other ways you can promote our common cause? Share a link to this page with your social media and email network. I also welcome hearing from you if you would like to learn more about what we do and how you can help us help our youth and communities thrive.

Leisha Zamecnik, MSW, RSW
Executive Director, Common Compass