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Data In Action: We Belong

01

Ensure children, youth and families have their basic needs met.

Ensure that basic needs are met.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Everyone should have access to clean water → shouldn’t have to pay (provided through taxes).

– Sensemaking Session

 

Organization: Wilmot Family Resource Centre

Wilmot Family Resource Centre offers programs and supports to families in Wilmot and Wellesley Townships to access food supports through the Community Food Bank and Holiday Hamper programsLearn more about Wilmot Family Resource Centre here!

 

Organization: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health

Camino’s community development program partners with the Food Bank to offer food distribution programs for families living in the Erb West and Paulander neighbourhoods. Learn more about Camino here!

 

Organization: Food Bank of Waterloo Region

The Food Bank supports the community food assistance network to provide food to children, youth and families across Waterloo Region. To find food distribution sites click hereLearn more about the Food Bank here!

 

Organizations: Multiple (Shelter Services)

For youth experiencing homelessness, there are emergency shelters providing support. If you think you may need access to a shelter, call the Housing Helpful (519-624-9133).

  • Argus‘s goal is to end or prevent a person from becoming homeless. They offer homelessness prevention and shelter diversion. 
  • Safe Haven Youth Services provides crisis, respite and life launch services to youth ages 12 up to their 18th birthday. 
  • YW Emergency Shelter offers emergency shelter and basic needs for cis and transwomen and non-binary folks ages 16+.
  • oneROOF Youth Services supports youth who are experiencing homelessness, and youth who are at risk of homelessness, aged 12-25. 
 
Organization: oneROOF Youth Services
The Host Homes program works to prevent youth from entering into the cycle of homelessness. Members of the community onboarded into the program, provide youth with a room in their home – so youth can remain safe and secure while working with oneROOF to obtain permanent, stable housing and work on person goals. Learn more about oneROOF here

02

More opportunities and/or supports for immigrant, newcomer, and/or ESL families. For example:
  • Programs that focus on belonging for families
  • Recreational activities to support with English language learning

More support for immigrant families.

– YIS Qualitative Data


I would say if there were opportunities only designed to help and engage newcomers and ESL students it would be helpful. Creating recreational activities can help those students improve their English and feel belonged.

– YIS Qualitative Data

Organization: Conestoga College

Conestoga offers Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) classes for adult newcomers. Free childcare is available at Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo sites. Learn more about Conestoga here!

 

 

Organization: Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre

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 also have the chance to connect to community supports, learn more about community resource, meet new friends and practice their English. Learn more about the Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre here!

 

 

Organization: Kinbridge

Kinbridge offers the Let’s Be Neighbours Cambridge Newcomer Outreach Program that offers offers newcomer youth and seniors opportunities to meet members of their community and to learn about the resources and services available to them. Learn more about Kinbridge here!

 

Organization: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health

The Newcomer Mental Health Program supports newcomers to Canada with programs, counselling for refugees, and educational workshops. Youth can participate in different free groups and activities to help meet new people, practice english, talk about mental health, and more! Learn more about Camino here

 

Organization: KPL Library Settlement Partnership (LSP)

The LSP is a partnership between the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre and the Kitchener Public Library. Settlement workers can help new Canadians with lots of things, like language training, career and employment, housing, education, health care, and more. The program is available at Central Library, Forest Heights Library, Grand River Stanley Park Library in Amharic, Arabic, English, Italian, Spanish and Tigrinya. Book and appointment or learn more about the program here!

 

Organization: YMCA of Three Rivers

The Newcomer Youth Programming are spaces to breakdown cultural barriers, practice English, and make new friends. Join drop-in programs, learn about the Canadian high school systems, etc. Learn more about the YMCA Newcomer Youth Programs here!

 

Organization: SPECTRUM

Rainbow Newcomers Connect is a gathering hosted by SPECTRUM once a month. The main purpose is to learn from each other as a divers community. There are activities, discussions, and a space to learn and build friendships and connections within the community. Learn more about SPECTRUM here!

03

Adults and decision makers in our community need to build their capacity, confidence and awareness in areas like: cultural sensitivity, anti-racism, homophobia, transphobia, 2SLGBTQ+ community, Islamophobia, ableism etc, to better address situations that arise. Adults and youth need to work together to develop strategies or ways to hold people accountable when discrimination occures.

Educating teachers on being culturally sensitive/respectful to other backgrounds.

– Sensemaking sessions

 

Maybe be nicer/ educate more about lgbtqa+

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Be more inclusive, care about us, bring justice to those who need it, I don’t wanna be discriminated against and the discriminator has no consequence.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

 

All the 30+ age population is so racist, sexist, homophobic, and rude to the younger population. they need a lesson or two on how not to be nasty people.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Organization: Project READ Literacy Network

Project READ invites in community partners like the Coalition of Muslim Women into their Get Set Learn programs to bring awareness and create opportunities for discussion. 

Learn more about Project READ here!

 

Organizations: Children and Youth Planning Table (CYPT),  Immigration Partnership, Wellbeing Waterloo Region (WWR)

The community collaboratives in Waterloo region partnered with Selam Debbs, a local anti-racism educator, to host a White Supremacy Awareness and Action for Leadership training. It was an opportunity for adults in our community to learn and grow in their anti-racism and equity efforts.  130 adults signed up for the training. CYPT and WWR also partnered with the Ojo Institute to create a 3 part video series Challenging Systemic Barriers: The Equity lens for community learning. Learn more about Immigration Partnership here, and Wellbeing Waterloo Region here

 

Organization: Coalition of Muslim Women KW

CMW-KW developed Report Hate, an online tool where community members can report hate incidents and/or discrimination motivated by Racism, Islamophobia, and Xenophobia. 

Learn more about Coalition of Muslim Women here!

 

Organization: Multiple Organizations

Lots of partner organizations at the CYPT are supporting their staff in growing and learning in equity spaces. The following organizations let us know that their staff have participated or are participating in trainings related to: Anti-Racism, Anti-Black Racism, 2SLGBTQ+ knowledge building, etc.

04

Work to create more inclusive and welcoming spaces in our communities and schools; encouraging kindness. Educate everyone on topics like:
  • 2SLGBTQ+ community (particularly Trans and Non-Binary experiences)
  • Visible and invisible disabilities (and ableism)
  • Anti-racism (and discrimination based on race and ethnicity)
Be mindful of the small ways we can create welcoming spaces (e.g. smiling and waving, reaching out to those who are alone), and ways the broader community can better support inclusivity in our spaces.

Pay more attention to those kids that are alone. Teach children to speak to everyone.

– YIS Qualitative Data


Have the people that live in our communities [be] overall nicer that way people see people waveing and smiling at them and they feel that they are important and wanted in the community.

– YIS Qualitative Data


Be more inclusive to trans and non-binary kids. I feel left out because everything is either for boys or girls and I don’t wanna be the only non-binary person there and have to identify as female

– YIS Qualitative Data


Be more inclusive, care about us, bring justice to those who need it, I don’t wanna be discriminated against and the discriminator has no consequence.

– YIS Qualitative Data


Need ways for disabled youth to be included and supported.  

– YIS Qualitative Data


Be more accepting of others mental and physical.differences… and that not all disabilities can be seen

– YIS Qualitative Data


Less discrimination based on race and ethnicity.

– YIS Qualitative Data


Work on making it more inclusive for LGBTQ

– YIS Feedback Survey


I want schools to be more inclusive and fair

– YIS Feedback Survey


Adding an elevator to my school.

– YIS Qualitative Data


More equity, make sure there is equal opportunity for all and that everyone is being treated fairly, and ensure that basic needs are met

– YIS Qualitative Data

Organization: Jacob Hespeler Child Care Centre

The JHCC provides workshops for educators and families so that they can create spaces that are welcoming and inclusive. They develop inclusive displays related to 2SLGBTQ+ communities and look for diverse books and literature to include in their libraries and programs. They have also worked to update their organizational registration forms with  more inclusive language so families see themselves represented. Learn more about Jacob Hespeler Child Care Centre here!

 

Organization: Child Witness Centre

The Child Witness Centre welcomes children and youth into the space with their facility dog Monet! Children and youth loved being greeted by a wagging tail when they come into the space. They are also intentional about bringing awareness to visible and invisible disabilities into all their conversations. Learn more about the Child Witness Centre here!

 

Organization: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health (OK2BME)

OK2BME offers different supports, groups, and opportunities for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. They also offer public education, training and consultation on a number of different topics like 2SLGBTQIA+ 101 and 102, Trans and Non-Binary 101 and 102, Becoming and 2SLGBTQIA+ Inclusive Organization, and more! Learn more about OK2BME here!

 

05

Create more opportunities for children and youth that support young people in:
  • Exploring interests (including local and global issues)
  • Building stronger communities
  • Gaining employment skills and experiences
  • Gaining life-skills
  • Navigating available resources and supports (particularly for “youth minorities”)
The opportunities should be easily accessible and take into consideration the various physical, mental, and socio-economic barriers young people may experience when engaging with an opportunity. Leverage existing youth spaces both physical and virtual (e.g. social media) to accomplish this.

Create more activities for children to be involved in

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Provide more job, internship, and extracurricular opportunities for youth in the community!!

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Maybe create organisations, or clubs, or something to include people of different backgrounds, and cultures, to make a more inclusive community.

– YIS Feedback Survey

 

We should create more opportunities for young people

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

It is not fair that people with more money get to do more things.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

I wish there was support for kids like me who don’t have friends and feel anxious about doing things. I want to participate but usually I’m too scared. 

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

More resources for youth minorities, more education for youth about local and global issues 

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

I think there should be more resources for lgbtq+ youth and not just during pride month.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Creating new ways to support youths. Either creating a social media page to reach out. Creating a social media group for youths

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Posting other volunteer opportunities, and job offers for high school students.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Organization: City of Kitchener

Youth Employment Support Grant will help reduce barriers to summer jobs for youth with low income by offering up to $300 to get what they need to apply or to be eligible to apply for summer jobs with the City of Kitchener. This is a new initiative stemming from Project EMPTHY and City Council. Learn more about the Youth Employment Support Grant here!

 

Organization: Community Justice Initiatives 

Youth in the Roots to Rise program are interested in creating inclusive  and accessible spaces for their peers and wanted to learn sign language. The group has hired an instructor and will be participating in 16 hours of lessons to learn. Learn more about Community Justice Initiatives here!

 

Organization: House of Friendship

House of Friendship offers lots of youth programs in neighbourhoods that are youth informed, youth led, and youth powered, like the Brothers in Leadership program, the Girls in Leadership program and the Youth Sports program. Programs aim to help youth develop skills needed to transition successfully to adulthood. Learn more about House of Friendship here!

 

Organization: KW Habilitation

The LEG Up! Program at KW Habilitation is a learning and skill-building program that provides education and training for youth, aged 13 – 17 and adults with developmental disabilities. It includes experiences like employment and volunteering, independent living, tutoring, and more. 

Learn more about KW Habilitation here!

 

Organization: Adventures 4 Change

Adventures 4 Change offers youth mentorship programs that prepare youth to be future-ready in the Sunnydale community. Youth set goals, mentor guide them to make goals actionable items with timelines, supporting them until goals are achieved. Learn more about Adventures 4 Change here!


Organization: Kinbridge and partners

Youth Force is an employment and skills training program for youth living in and around community housing.  In partnership with Region of Waterloo Housing, Camino, Greenway Chaplain Neighbourhood Association and Langs. Learn more about Kinbridge here!


Organization: YMCA of Three Rivers

The YMCA has a financial literacy program where youth learn how to manage their money and make well-informed financial decisions, both today and in their future. From understanding the terms of a student loan, or the actual cost of a new cell phone contract participants will experience first-hand the impact of effective, daily financial management in achieving long-term goals. Learn more about YMCA of three rivers here!

06

Create spaces where mental health conversations are normalized, and resources and supports are constantly shared/promoted. This may include:
  • Mental health focused clubs and programs in schools
  • Specific programs aimed to support youth with particular mental health concerns (e.g. anxiety)
  • Sharing and promoting current/existing counselling and therapy resources
  • General spaces for conversation and where youth know support is available if they need it
Shift narratives to recognize that everyone has mental health, and by acknowledging and destigmatizing mental health in everyday spaces and conversations, we are actually creating spaces of belonging.

More mental health resources for youth

– YIS Qualitative Data


I think we need to do more to erase the stigma around mental health. Counselling and therapy resources should be constantly shared and promoted.

– YIS Feedback Survey


And also make more clubs for mental health.

– YIS Feedback Survey


Pay more attention to our mental health, as many people don’t feel seen/heard or feel hopeless during COVID.

– YIS Feedback Survey


I want to see my answers help implement mental health programs

– YIS Feedback Survey


I think reaching out to people specifical kids with mental health issues especially at this time is most important

– YIS Feedback Survey


Programs for kids with anxiety would be good too.

– YIS Qualitative Data


Possibly things making sure people know others are here for them.

– YIS Qualitative Data

Organization: Grade 12 student at Grand River Collegiate Institute

Nolan, a grade 12 student passionate about mental health, created a flowchart style mental health resource in collaboration with Yannice. “Do You Need Help? Explore Your Wellbeing” presents students with different mental health pathways and resource to access. Nolan and Yannice hope that the resource can be posted around schools so that is easily accessible to students.

 

Organization: Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health (Newcomer Wellbeing Program)

The Newcomer Wellbeing Program offers a number of different groups and opportunities to newcomer youth in the community. Part of each program is integrating psycho-educational conversations to talk about mental health and develop positive coping strategies. Learn more about the program here!

07

Create more spaces and opportunities for intergenerational discussion between youth and adults. Use these as opportunities to build relationships but also engage in conversation about issues that impact youth and the broader community.

More intergenerational spaces and public discussions between youth and adults.

– Sensemaking Sessions

 

Actually talk to kids instead of grouping every kid into the same circle.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

 

Organization: Adventures 4 Change

The Young Queens program organizes mom and girls sessions, where generations chat about challenges, growth possibilities and inspire one another. Learn more about Adventures 4 Change here!

 

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

The CYPT hosts regular voting member meetings, and over the last couple of years have opened these up to be spaces for youth and adults to join together. We’ve adjusted meeting times to better align with youth schedules and encourage voting member organizations to invite youth they work with to have open conversation and various topics, and give input on what the CYPT does. Learn more about CYPT’s youth opportunities by signing up for our youth list

08

Create more spaces and ways for youth voices to impact and influence decision making. Involve young people in discussions that impact them in real ways, to better understand the diverse perspectives of youth in our communities. Ensure these opportunities vary and are accessible in multiple ways, and that the follow-up actions are made public and youth can see how their voice/participation is impacting broader decisions and actions.

Make spaces for youth to open up about their experiences (more accessible).

– Sensemaking Sessions

 

 

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 Data

 

Organization: City of Kitchener

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: 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!


Organization: KidsAbility

The Kidsability Youth Council is the youth voice for KidsAbility. Volunteers (ages 14-24) provide input into programs and services, plan events for youth, and advocate on behalf of youth with disabilities. Learn more about the council 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: Wilmot Township

The Wilmot Youth Action Council offers youth a chance to be involved in the community, to create and support the youth voice. The Council takes a preventative approach and monthly mental health topics are chosen by youth to discuss and explore. Learn more about Wilmot Township here!

09

More acknowledgement and recognition for various cultural and religious holidays and practices in community spaces, especially schools. In community this could mean:
  • More cultural or religious programs
  • Grocery stores promoting different food and cultures/making cultural staples easily accessible and available
  • Public celebrations of holidays (not only the Christian holidays that have been built into calendars and school breaks) - widely accessible as opportunities to learn more about cultural and religious practices within our communities
In schools this could mean:
  • Schools asking about/taking into consideration students’ religious and/or cultural accommodations
  • Culture days at schools for both students and teachers/administration (spaces for mutual learning)
  • Public celebrations of holidays (not only the Christian holidays that have been built into calendars and school breaks)

Groups/events promoting cultural awareness.

– Sensemaking Sessions


More cultural or religious programs

– Sensemaking Sessions


Acknowledging /publicly celebrating cultural and religious holidays (i.e. not just Christian ones we get breaks for)

– Sensemaking Sessions


Culture days at school for students and teachers to learn

– Sensemaking Sessions


Schools asking about religious and cultural accommodations

– Sensemaking Sessions


Grocery stores promoting different foods and cultures

– Sensemaking Sessions


What if there were more youth groups offered just to specific religions, so there didn’t have to be any feelings of disgrace?

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Organization: Conestoga College

Conestoga College has spaces on campus for students to use as prayer spaces as needed. Those who practice religions not aligned with the school calendar can connect with faculty to let them know when due dates and tests conflict with religious holidays, and can work to adjust dates to better align with the students’ needs. Learn more about Conestoga here!

10

Host more (and/or increase access to) inclusive public events and opportunities that create space for communities to come together, build relationships, and connect after long periods of isolation. Regional examples:
  • Festivals
Community examples:
  • Street or block parties, bbqs.
Ensure these events are catered to the entire community (and not just families or younger children)

More community events and activities for youth.

– Sense Making Sessions

 

 

Neighbours should get together more often and have a street party so they can get to know each other

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

 

Promote healthy neighbourhood relationships.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Maybe once COVID-19 is over, you could launch a ‘festival of inclusion’ or something to recognize everyone is perfect in their own way and have a BBQ with vegetarian and vegan options for the whole community to build trust and inclusion to all.

– YIS Feedback Survey

 

 

I think doing more fun programs and events for kids and adults to be a part of… anything that we can do to get people involved in the community, no matter what the events are will help with socializing, and feel more a part of the community and doing more than what we’ve been doing in isolation.

– YIS Qualitative Data

 

Organization: Waterloo Region Community Foundation

Waterloo Region Community Foundation (WRCF) support groups working to create spaces of inclusion by providing funding opportunities, such as the Community Grants (and more)Learn more about Waterloo Region Community Foundation here!

 

 

Organization: Extend-a-Family Waterloo Region

Extend-a-Family offers space to neighbourhood associations to support meetings. They also partner with organizations in the community to offer a variety of events and opportunitiesLearn more about Extend-a-Family Waterloo Region here!

 

 

Organization: City of Waterloo

City of Waterloo supports many neighbourhood associations in offering events and opportunities in their neighbourhoods. Funding is available via the Neighbourhood Matching Fund for place-based community initiatives. Learn more about the City of Waterloo here!

 

 

Organization: Kinbridge

Kinbridge Community Association works with neighbours to put on a variety of celebrations and activities throughout the year in Cambridge, such as: BBQs and picnics, bike rodeos, Eid celebrations, etc. Learn more about Kinbridge here!

 

Organization: Multiple

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