Community Action Report: We are Happy and Respected


Create spaces for youth to access mental health supports without needing parental/guardian involvement. Make more of an effort to build a culture of “asking for support”. Focus on identifying spaces of prevention rather than needing to engage in intervention.

Feel like there should be more places people (kids) can go to get help if they don’t want to stress their parents out. Going without telling their parents to talk with someone
– YIS Qualitative


Better access to mental health, away from parent control.
– YIS Qualitative


Provide mental health services that do not require parental consent
– YIS Qualitative


Efforts being made to destigmatize therapy, but not so much around asking for support (in smaller ways). So youth don’t ask for extensions, support (early intervention spaces rather than waiting things to “get worse”)
– Sense making sessions


Better services I know there is a service where I can go and talk to someone but I could not be bothered they just tell me to read a book or watch a movie or something stupid like that.
YIS Qualitative


I think that at school teachers need to do some more educating on how to get the support you need, even at a young age.
– YIS Qualitative

Organization: Multiple
Did you know – youth can access mental health services on their own at the age of 12?


Organization: Waterloo Region Community Foundation

The Do More Good Dialogues are an opportunity to have community conversations around a number of different topics, and highlight the work WRCF is doing to impact them. Dialogues encourage connection and conversations around mental health and wholistic wellness. Learn more about the Waterloo Region Community Foundation here!




Provide education and support around healthy relationships and building connections (as a strategy to prevent youth homelessness related to family/household breakdowns).

Promote health relationships in families (when asked “how do we reduce homelessness)
– Sense making sessions


Organization: John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington

JHSWW offers different free programs and supports for youth focused on healthy relationships. Youth in Transition workers support youth coming out of the child welfare system in prepare for a successful transition into adulthood. The Healthy Relationships (4th R) promotes healthy relationships and targets violence (bullying, peer and dating violence), high-risk sexual behavior and substance use. Learn more about the John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington here!


Organization: Lutherwood (Safe Haven)

Safe Haven Youth Services has a respite program which offers parents/caregivers and youth a break by providing short-term temporary care of youth who are experiencing difficulties within their home environments. Youth are provided with opportunities to learn positive life and social skills which benefit their wellbeing and relationships at school, in the community and with their family. Learn more about Lutherwood here!


When sharing public information about the pandemic (or future related issues), make sure the information is universal and not focused on adults/parents. Speak directly to youth and provide opportunities for youth to access the information in a way that works for them.

Public health providers talking to youth as well as adults so youth can better understand the pandemic (felt like most of the info was for adults and parents)
– Sense making sessions


Ask us about decisions. I don’t know if you have any sway over this but things like the school schedule, the constant reopenings and shut downs, and everything is awful and I can name exactly zero people that I know that like/support it.
– YIS Qualitative


Organization: Kitchener- Waterloo Multicultural Centre

The Let’s Talk program with KWMC actively uses social media (instagram) to connect with youth and share opportunities. The account is geared to newcomer youth, sharing information in a way that is youth friendly , and offers opportunities for youth to do takeovers. Learn more about KWMC here!


Support youth in getting involved in community again (post pandemic)

More help getting kids back to more actives after COVID-19
– YIS Qualitative


Organization: Waterloo Region Family Network

WRFN is working to share new and upcoming opportunities with youth living with exceptionalities, including connecting with youth on social media. They’ve got programs like Coffee Club to get youth out and connecting, and regularly ask youth what they want to see available.  Learn more about Waterloo Region Family Network here!


Organization: Kitchener Public Library

KPL offers a number of youth events and opportunities, all found on their (You)th webpage. You can find more information on youth events, volunteer opportunities like their (You)th Advisory Council, (You)th Environmentalists, and more! Learn more about the Kitchener Public Library here!


Organization: Volunteer Waterloo Region

Volunteer Waterloo Region has a youth volunteer board where youth can learn about open virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities. They’ve also got programs and groups where youth can earn volunteer hours while learning about, and contributing to, organizations across the community. Learn more about Volunteer Waterloo Region here!


Make public transit more affordable and accessible (times and routes)

Having public transportation available in my area would be amazing (waterloo)
– YIS Qualitative


More accessible transportation for youth (less expensive, more routes, times, etc.)
– Sense making sessions


If you have information as to how this is moving forward in our community, please connect with


Continue with surveys and opportunities for youth to provide ideas or input into broader community spaces, identify needs, etc.

I think you should do more surveys in the future
– YIS Qualitative


Do more of these surveys, and advertise them, I love to see that you value our input. Also release the results and how you are going to use them to make changes that the public can hold you accountable on.
YIS Qualitative


Organization: Waterloo Region Community Foundation

WRCF engages youth in their volunteer committee review board. Youth support in evaluating application to the youth in recreation fundLearn more about Waterloo Region Community Foundation here!

Organization: Multiple

Many of our partners let us know that they regularly use surveys to ask youth for feedback and suggestions on programs, work, etc. Some organizations that do this include:

Organization: Wellbeing Waterloo Region

The 2022 Community Wellbeing Mini-Survey was a chance for both adults and youth (ages 16+) to share their experiences and improve the quality of life for all residents. Learn more about Wellbeing Waterloo Region here!

Organization: Immigration Partnership

The Immigrant Survey is a bi-annual survey for immigrants, refugees, claimants, international students, temporary workers and their families to share their experiences of living in Waterloo RegionLearn more about Immigration Partnership here!

Organization: Children and Youth Planning Table (that’s us!)

The Youth Impact Survey gives youth a chance to share what life is like for you, what’s important to you, and share with adults key information about child and youth well-being across our communities. From there we share what we’ve heard back out into the community, and ask youth (through sensemaking sessions) how you want to see change happen. Keep an eye out for all this Youth Impact Survey here!

Organization: Region of Waterloo

EngageWR is a one-stop site for online engagement opportunities across Waterloo Region. You can choose a municipality to view engagement topics currently open for input. A login is required so you’ll need to make an account. Learn more about opportunities open for input here

Organization: Coalition of Muslim Women

The Youth Leaders 4 Change group recently hosted a Muslim Youth Survey to study and assess the gaps in mental health services for Muslim youth. See the results of the report here!