Youth Advocacy

Nation of Wellness (NoW)

The need (Why we need to act)     

The world and Canadian society are undergoing rapid change, presenting emerging challenges and opportunities to each new generation. By defining/reclaiming a clear purpose and promise for adolescence, each of us can execute actions that help young people feel supported and trusted to acquire and create the knowledge they need to steward the future.

The approach (What we do)           

Youth and young adults aged 14-28 plan and lead work within their communities to build a culture where young people (especially those with experience of marginalization) are seen, heard, included, and celebrated

Young people forge pathways to connect each other with networks of support through youth-led conferences, community dialogue events, and advocacy initiatives

Young people steer the course of the project, focusing on what resonates with their diverse lived experiences

The outcome (The difference we want to make)

Young people build resilience by creating and enhancing environments of belonging, exploring and sharing their culture, and discovering, developing and demonstrating their skills

More community entities define and fine-tune their roles vis-à-vis the next generation: creating opportunities for young people to lead and take supported risks that feel relevant to their lives; show that their skills, knowledge and experiences are valid and valuable; and, inspire hope for the future

Contact information

Jordie Lynn [email protected] 

Kirstin Kirk [email protected]

Partners

Abbotsford School District

Centre for Health Evaluation & Outcome Sciences

And others

Funder

This project is part of the Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund (MHP-IF) which is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The MHP-IF is a national program that seeks to learn about promising approaches for advancing mental health promotion among young Canadians.

The MHP-IF projects are supported by a Knowledge Development and Exchange Hub for Child and Youth Mental Health Promotion. You can learn more about this project, the KDE Hub and all 20 projects at kdehub.ca.

Youth Peer Group (YPG)

Many youth use drugs AND deserve a supportive place to talk freely about it. This is why youth are coming together on a weekly basis to explore harm reduction, create safety networks, and discuss how to be a young person who uses substances during an opioid crisis… in communities that often aren’t even ready to acknowledge the adults who use.

Realistically, youth should already have a network of peers and mentors behind them, during any difficult life situation… so how have youth been doing this without the support of adults for so long? It’s simple… with the support of each other. Fortunately, over the last four years, dozens of trainings have been offered to the youth of Impact, which have been preparing them to go back into their peer groups with information and opportunities… ideally creating a safer environment for their friends. 

YPG plans to:

Partner with youth resources/organizations to better keep youth who use safe.

Host community events based on what the youth think community members need to know.

Provide feedback on how organizations can better support YPG and youth who use or have used substances.

Create opportunities for training for peers that will be relevant to the issues they are facing personally and in their social networks.

Ultimately create space for youth who have been/still are affected by substance use to create meaningful relationships and opportunities for themselves.

Contact

Abbotsford YPG

Contact: Jordie Lynn

[email protected]

Funders

We’re glad to have seed funding from the BC Centre for Disease Control and First Nations Health Authority (Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement program) to support groups in both Abbotsford and Mission.

We also received funding (from the Community Action Initiative) for a programmatic adaption to our Youth Peer Group, by adding a sub group. (Youth Peer Group – Alcohol Edition) solely for young girls with previous or current alcohol use experience in the Abbotsford/Mission area.

ICED (Indigenous Co-Executive Directors)

Created by two Indigenous youth (Marcie Pruden and Jordie Lynn) and supported by Impact’s adults, ICED has created two co-executive director (in training) positions at Impact. Funded by the Vancouver Foundation’s “LEVEL Youth” program, the goal of ICED is to position young Indigenous and racialized youth to influence the future of the non-profit sector in British Columbia.

What makes us think this is a good step towards trusting youth? The need for this project has been developed solely by the youth, who over time have been searching for more meaningful opportunities to be and feel useful in their community. Trust is not about what WE think would best support an individual’s journey, but rather, it is running with whatever it is a person believes could best support them and their goals.

Project activities we plan to have a management role in include:

Facilitating strategic meetings.

Representing Impact at events and community meetings.

Helping develop long-term plans for all Impact’s teams and projects.

Guide and continue to grow our practicum programs at Impact.

Create new projects aimed towards youth engagement.

Model, learn from, and share about an equity-based Indigenous youth engagement approach.


Youth Advocacy Documents and Materials: