Data in Action: We are Participating


More community events and public spaces to come together. Ensure events are widely promoted, are accessible (free or affordable), and geared towards youth (not just kids or families). Create opportunities for youth to be involved in organising these events. Examples of events highlighted by youth include:
  • Cultural friendly events to meet the needs of diverse communities
  • Food truck festivals
  • Music festivals
  • Game nights
  • Outdoor theatres
  • Outdoor movie nights
  • Carnivals
  • Walk-a-thons
  • Fireworks

Events and spaces for community to come together
– Sense making session


I wish the community would more publicly advertise online events. I find that sometimes in order to find events it takes a lot of researching and digging. Maybe having more openly advertised events for students to join would be a good way to get students engaged and improve their well-being



I think I’m my community (Wilmot) there could be more community events when COVID-19 is over.



Community events once restrictions are lifted



Winter events for youth and teens (most are geared to children and families)

Sense making session


More events for kids that are free.



Need to include teenagers in organizing community events



Regular events for children and youth to participate in together where fun activities are played and enjoyed by all



Include more activities and events that are for older children and teenagers.

Feedback Survey


Create more events through the week like food trucks for children and families to join. (Music festival’s, game nights, outside theaters, movie night at Baden pond, fireworks, carnivals)



More programs at local libraries! I’ve been able to make a few friends there over the years and since I have a hard time connecting to other youth, library programs really help me.



More local activities to participate in



Promote opportunities to meet people online on social media.



Spread more awareness about events happening around the world so students feel more welcomed.



Organization: Waterloo Public Library

The teen events team at Waterloo Public Library provides youth with volunteer hours while planning events and programs for other teens. Events and opportunities vary throughout the year based on interest. Learn more about the Waterloo Public Library here!


Organization: Kitchener Public Library

Kitchener Public Library has an array of programming for teens! Such as multicultural trivia, our youth hub where teens can come by to play video games, board games and hang outs, and teen art and writing program. Learn more about Kitchener Public Library here!


Organization: City of Waterloo

The Arts and Culture team at the City of Waterloo offer a variety of events throughout the year (e.g. winterloo, buskers festival, lumen), outdoor movie nights in waterloo park, and events facilitated by artists in residence. They also have a community calendar (online) where community groups can list their events. Learn more about the City of Waterloo here!


Organizations: Cities and Townships

Festivals and community events are back! Cities are bringing back all your favourite events. Check out the links below to see what’s happening where



Encourage things like community gardens, recycling or clean up activities. Make related resources easily available to youth.

Community gardens
Sense Making Sessions


More access to recycling when out in the community

Sense Making Sessions


Things like a community garden, foraging or clean up activities to get people outside and seeing one another.
– Youth Impact Survey


Organization: Idea Exchange

The Idea Exchange Preston location has a community garden, as well as a free seed library for community members to browse and choose from a variety of seeds.  Our Preston location has a community garden and seed library with associated FREE programming. Learn more about Ideas Exchange Preston here! 


Organization: Kinbridge

Kinbridge supports community members in a community garden next to the Christopher-Champlain housing community and high school. They’ve partnered with the high school to provide youth with gardening opportunities, and integrated the garden into newcomer programming and recreation. Learn more about the Kinbridge Community Association here!


Organization: Smart Waterloo Region

The SWR Innovation Lab’s Nurture and Food Forest program is focused on building community gardens to tackle food security issues, while also supporting youth by creating a safe space for them. They’re creating child & youth-led food production across the region addressing mental health, skills training, and employment among children & youth. Learn more about Smart Waterloo Region Innovation Lab here!

Organization: Youth in Food Systems (Seeds of Diversity)

Youth in Food Systems creates opportunities for youth to connect with food systems, learn sustainable practices, and explore careers in food and agriculture. Multiple youth-led projects include garden education, youth food markets, a podcast series, etc. Learn more about Youth in Foods Systems here!


Provide more affordable or free physical activities and/or programs or events. Ensure schedules and availability align with youth schedules, and opportunities take into consideration the needs of diverse youth (e.g. not gendering programs or teams). Some examples shared include:
  • Sports (, team sports, running clubs,
  • Dance (e.g.ballet)
  • Music
  • Drama

More variety in times for dance classes, music classes, language classes (community based)
– Sense Making Sessions


I think the community should try to have more opportunities for everyone to get physical activity. This could include activities and clubs that do not require a fee and are available to everyone within the community. I think this would improve inclusion, physical health, and mental health. Some things along this line could include a commit rec soccer (or any team sport) team, running club, walk-a-thons etc.
– Youth Impact Survey


Better teen groups and activities, more opportunities to meet like-minded people
– Youth Impact Survey


I don’t know if this is possible but I would like to join a sports team in my school or in the community but I’m not sure which team to join because I’m not a boy or a girl.
– Youth Impact Survey


Organization: House of Friendship

Through the neighbourhood programs, House of Friendship offers a variety of activities for youth like basketball drop-ins, music programs, etc. All are barrier free and accessible to youth living in the neighbourhoods. Learn more about House of Friendship here!



Organization: NIROW 

NIROW is a grassroots organization for Nigerians in the Region of Waterloo. Their goal is to build a strong and thriving community through mentorship, capacity development, social events and community service. NIROW will be running the MYTT project in the summer for racialized youth to build resiliency, leadership and social skills. Learn more about NIROW here


Greater youth involvement in governance (municipal and regional decision making) and on the boards. Create more opportunities for youths to express their thoughts and opinions.

More input from youth in school board, and curriculum (student trustees not enough)
– Sense Making Sessions


Youth voice/involvement in municipal and regional decision making

– Sense Making Sessions


Youth voices on boards around community

– Sense Making Sessions


More youth involvement in anything to do with Council

– Sense Making Sessions


I think the region should think about creating opportunities for youth that match their interests and hobbies to make them active citizens.

-Youth Impact Survey


Minimum age to run for office – why is everyone above the age of 40 deciding what we get to do? (lack of understanding or awareness of the elections and political processes and wanting to learn more, more involvement)

– Sense Making Sessions


Organization: Township of Wilmot

Wilmot’s Youth Action Council (Y.A.C.) is a group of local youth volunteers (ages 14- 19) who offer youth a chance to be involved in the community, to create and support the youth voice. Learn more about the Township of Wilmot here!


Organization: Conestoga College

Students are asked for feedback on their experiences through program advisory committees. The Program Advisory Committees (PACs) provide the necessary link between Conestoga and the community it serves. PACs operate in an advisory capacity to Conestoga administration with the objective to keep Conestoga responsive to current and future workforce needs, trends or opportunities in industry and the marketplace. Learn more about:


Organization:  Kitchener Youth Advisory Council

The City of Kitchener’s Kitchener Youth Action Council (KYAC) is run by youth and meets weekly to discuss youth challenges and how to address them. They attend some city council meetings and voice the youth perspective in policy decisions. Learn more about KYAC here!


Organization: YMCA of Three Rivers

The Youth Volunteer Council is a group that empowers youth to discuss world and social justice issues, plan events, and vote on important issues in the Teen Drop-In Zone community with the goal of empowering youth to be a voice for the issues facing them and their peers in our community. Learn more about the YMCA of Three Rivers here!


Organization: City of Cambridge

Youth Advisory Committee of Council is an opportunity for youth ages 13-24 to learn more about their community and get involved. THe committee provides insight to City staff and Council on the needs of youth in Cambridge, and supports youth focused activities and involvement. Learn more about the committee here!


Organization: Region of Waterloo

The Youth Advisory Council is open to youth ages 14-25 to advise on Regional initiatives. As part of the Council, youth get to present ideas to Regional staff, Council, and the community. Learn more about the council here!



More representation of racialized groups in governance, media, community spaces and promotional materials

Include people from different cultures, skin colour, sex, religion in social media, posters, or advertisements (ex. At schools include or show more diverse to encourage people to join)
– Sense Making Sessions


More representation of racialized groups in media, community spaces, etc.

– Sense Making Sessions


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


Create space for more youth driven conversations about mental health and (peer to peer) coping strategies. Right now many youth feel like they aren’t being supported by the schools mentally and are struggling not being able to connect. More resources are needed that aren't intimidating and are easy to access to help youth.

I think giving more opportunities for people to reach out and express their thoughts and opinions would help greatly, personally there are many times I’ve felt like I had something to say regarding an issue in my community or a way to help but I didn’t know how.
– Youth Impact Survey


Create space for more youth driven conversations about mental health and (peer to peer) coping strategies

– Sense Making Sessions


Right now many youth feel like they aren’t being supported by the schools mentally and are struggling not being able to connect. I think we need more resources that aren’t intimidating and are easy to access to help youth.

– Youth Impact Survey


Organization: Child Witness Centre

Helping children and youth to build resiliency through building of the protective factors resulting from adverse childhood experiences

Helping developing coping skills for anxiety/stress as results or trauma. Learn more about Child Witness Centre – Fostering Healing, Hope And Wellbeing


Organization: Township of Wilmot & Interfaith Community Counselling

The youth action council partners with Interfaith Community Counselling Centre to offer monthly wellness nights during the council term (sept-may). These nights bring awareness to different services and mental health topics. 


Organization: Kinbridge

Kinbridge builds support around youth to navigate the above issues. Through relationship building between youth engagement workers. Youths have safe spaces built on a foundation of respect and open communication. These conversations take place in the youth drop in programming, and gender based programming. Learn more about Kinbridge here!


Make public transport and community centres more widely accessible

Maybe make public transport and public activity centers more widely accessible
– Sense Making Sessions


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


Organization: GRT

GRT is working with Region of Waterloo and CYPT to explore what it could look like for no-cost or low-cost transit for youth! Teaming up with an organization called Run With It, they are creating a synthetic community to test out how this might work. More details coming soon!


Create more volunteer opportunities for youths to find and earn their volunteer hours. Make existing opportunities easy to find and accessible to youth

I wish the community would more publicly advertise online events. I find that sometimes in order to find events it takes a lot of researching and digging. Maybe having more openly advertised events for students to join would be a good way to get students engaged and improve their well-being
-Youth Impact Survey


Provide youth more opportunities to make a difference and feel welcome, even with no experience in such activities. Programs or events that help youth gain useful skills or experience for their first few jobs is one example.

– Youth Impact Survey


Help get resources of how to be involved in your community out to youth

– Feedback Survey


Also more volunteer opportunities. I know personally, I have been trying to find volunteer hours during the pandemic and it can sometimes be difficult.

– Youth Impact Survey


More known ways to get involved

– Youth Impact Survey


Allow more volunteer opportunities for the youth in this region. We don’t have any opportunities and we can’t get our minimum of 40 hours worked on.

YIS Qualitative


I think more volunteer work opportunities for 13-year-olds in my community would help improve my well-being and the well-being of other kids my age.

– YIS Qualitative

Organization: Volunteer Waterloo Region

VWR has curated volunteer opportunities just for youth! Check out places to volunteer across the community, or get involved with VWR through their groups. They even have a weekly newsletter for youth so you can get updated volunteer opportunities right to your email. Learn more about Volunteer Waterloo Region here!


Organization: YMCA of Three Rivers

The Youth Volunteer Council is a group that empowers youth to discuss world and social justice issues, plan events, and vote on important issues in the Teen Drop-In Zone community with the goal of empowering youth to be a voice for the issues facing them and their peers in our community. Learn more about the YMCA of Three Rivers here!


Organization: Let’s Talk (KWMC)

KWMC offers the Let’s Talk program, that provides career and academic guidance for newcomer youth to learn more about how school and work looks in Canada. Youth earn volunteer hours for joining sessions and completing challenges and activities, and past participants can attend new sessions in leadership roles. Learn more about the Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre here!


Organization: Township of Wilmot

The Volunity program, operated by the Youth Action Council, pairs volunteer opportunities in the community with youth volunteers. Learn more about Township of Wilmot here


Organization: Camino Well-being + Mental Health

C.R.E.W. is a new opportunity for Camino youth to connect into decision making spaces at Camino. Participants register as volunteers, earning volunteer hours while building skills and providing their voice and input into organizational projects, programs, etc. 


Identify communities where youth might be experiencing gaps in access to programs and opportunities. Increase access to community centres and provide more resources and play opportunities in these areas (e.g. youth in townships having access to same/similar programs as youth in municipalities).

Adding a community center near my neighbourhood so we can have things to do that are nearby because everything is so far. (Kitchener)
Youth Impact Survey


Maybe make public transport and public activity centers more widely accessible –

– Sense Making Session


More resources and play opportunities in the townships (should be able to access the same things the municipalities have)

– Sense Making Session


Organization:  Wilmot Family Resource Centre

Wilmot Family Resource Centre connects with community centres around the township to provide programs for families and 0-6, so that they can access programs closer to home. They also run “pop up camps” in the summer in parts around the township to make access easier. Learn more about Wilmot Family Resource Centre here!


Organization: John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington

John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington offers a variety of prevention, intervention, educational and service programs to individuals who were between the ages of 12 and 17 at the time of the offence. JHSWW reaches out to grassroots communities to support youth access in their communities to what they want, and they use disaggregated data to promote recreational opportunities for youth. Learn more about John Howard Society of Waterloo-Wellington here


Organization: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health

Camino hosts 2 neighbourhood community centres in the Paulander (Kitchener) and Erb West (Waterloo) neighbourhoods. Neighbours (adults and youth) are actively involved in determining programs, opportunities, etc. Learn more about Camino here!


Create more team building activities at school, with hybrid in-person and online options.

Maybe we should have more groups for teens in the community.
– Feedback Survey

Keep hybrid (online, in person) options available

– Sense Making Sessions

More activities, events, team building events in school.

Youth Impact Survey

More social groups after school with my peers to catch up what we missed this past year

Youth Impact Survey

Or maybe ask the WRDSB (my school board) to take a survey from people in school to voluntarily give feedback so others can say their opinion. This might help us since they are students as well.

Youth Impact Survey

I think setting up more online events would be good because not everyone is allowed to go to in-person things —

Youth Impact Survey

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