Hello and bonjour,
Happy summer to all youth leaders, adult allies, and supporters!
Thank you for being a part of the Re:Action4Inclusion movement. Your participation and contributions continue to inspire and strengthen youth leadership!
Help us build a stronger community network by following and sharing our newsletter with fellow community builders.
The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is currently recruiting members for the 2023 – 2024 term. We need youth advocates to lead our movement and help us empower young people.
Are you an individual who has a passion for empowering and representing youth voices across Ontario?
Are you between the ages of 14 – 29?
Be part of a purposeful organization aligned with your values and mission. Have the opportunity to work with like-minded youth across Ontario to break down barriers to inclusion. To register, visit the homepage of this website and complete the 2023-2024 YAC registration form.
DISRUPT! Workshops – What Happened in June?
In honour of Indigenous History Month, Re:Action4Inclusion hosted three DISRUPT! events on Indigenous Art and Culture!
On Friday, June 9th, 2023, Virginia Barter facilitated three in-person workshops at Woodbridge College in Vaughan. She presented to 49 students in Grades 9-12. She taught the students about Métis culture through traditional songs and jigs. Students interacted with her display of Métis regalia, animal furs, musical instruments, books, and beadwork. Virginia also discussed historical figures such as Louis Riel and used artwork by Sherry Farrell Racette to explain the history of the Métis in Canada. Lastly, she shared stories of people who transformed their creativity into businesses and empowered the students to instill their work with their identity.
On Monday, June 19th, 2023, the DISRUPT! series made its way to Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School in Ottawa. The facilitator, Jaime Morse, is an Ottawa resident and Michif artist. She is also an educator for Indigenous Programs and Outreach at the National Gallery of Canada and the owner of Indigenous Walks, a local walk-and-talk tour company. During her two workshops, Jaime taught 94 students about Indigenous art through an interactive activity about fish scales.
On Tuesday, June 27th, 2023, we hosted an Indigenous Art and Culture webinar, and 31 people attended this event. Our keynote speaker, Harmony Nadjiwon, began her presentation by explaining the 7 Grandfather Teachings. She asked everyone to select which teaching/gift they possessed and then discussed the importance of cultivating all seven principles in one’s life to reach fulfillment. Next, she introduced the Ojibwa Medicine Wheel, describing the wheel’s Four Directions, what they represent, and the sacred medicines associated with each direction. She also provided a Medicine Wheel handout that participants could use to assess their mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health. At the end of the webinar, the audience gave many positive remarks and thanked Harmony for providing them with a deeper understanding of Anishinaabe communities, culture, and worldview.
Educating Youth on the History of Institutionalization of Individuals with Disabilities
On June 9th, 2023, CLO’s Council President, Nicole Flynn facilitated an in-person DISRUPT! workshop on the Truths of Institutionalization at All Saints High School in Kanata. Nicole presented to 50 youth in a mixed class comprised of Grade 10 students and students from the Special Education program. Nicole shared her lived experience and used several interactive activities, such as the Communication Game, to teach the youth about the history of institutions and the negative impact of othering.
On June 12th, 2023, CLO’s Board Member and Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) executive, Nicole Canzoneri, facilitated four in-person DISRUPT! workshops about the “Truths of Institutionalization” at Victoria Park Collegiate Institute in North York. Nicole presented to four classes, comprised of 144 Grade 9 and 10 History and Civics students. Through pictures, videos, and discussions, students made connections between institutions and residential schools, adding their own analyses and commentaries. As they reflected on their learning, many students expressed that the material made them feel angry with the system of institutions and disappointed in the government. Nicole encouraged them to turn their negative feelings into inspiration, empowering them to use their new-found knowledge to raise awareness and advocate for inclusive communities.
Approaches to Employment
On Wednesday, June 29th, 2023, three YAC members – Nicole Canzoneri, Sarah Julius, and Duncan Phelps – along with CLO’s Board President, Michael Jacques, hosted an in-person DISRUPT! workshop in collaboration with Community Living Windsor entitled “Approaches to Employment” In total, 32 youth and adult allies attended the event at the Ciociaro Club in Old Castle. The presenters began their workshop with a mindfulness session, demonstrating the importance of maintaining good mental health. After this, the facilitators discussed the challenges youth face regarding employment. Through interactive activities and personal stories, they provided three strategies for maintaining a good work-life balance and emphasized the importance of advocating for oneself in the workplace.
DISRUPT! Workshops – What Happened in July?
Let’s Talk: Mental Health and Employment
On June 18th, 2023, Re:Action4Inclusion and our Youth Advisory Committee leaders collaborated with ENAGB, an Indigenous youth-serving organization with four drop-in locations across Toronto. Our youth leaders led an interactive workshop on mental health and job-searching strategies to increase youth awareness, advocacy, and healthier attitudes toward employment. The staff and youth were happy with the content delivered and requested our facilitators return for another session. There was also discussion about having our Youth Advisory Committee members and ENAGB’s Youth Advisory Committee members collaborate to facilitate a workshop together.
Helping Youth Job Seekers Overcome Barriers to Employment
On Wednesday, July 19th, 2023, we hosted a DISRUPT! webinar on the Environmental Barriers to Employment. Our keynote speaker, Tammy Dalgleish, shared current perspectives on employment from youth, employers, and families supporting youth. She also provided strategies on how to conduct a job search and spoke about an employment services tool called CareerCompass. James Beattie, Tammy’s co-facilitator, shared about the barriers he had to overcome to move forward in his job search. One of our Youth Advisory Committee members, Natalia, shared the results of a Youth Take Charge survey and explained how the results were used to spread awareness of the barriers to employment youth face. Our session ended with another YAC member, Jesse, sharing about his employment journey and emphasizing the importance of committing to a job that makes you happy! The 30 participants who attended this event created a supportive environment for people to share the challenges they face when job searching and even exchange employment resources.
Sharing the Truths of Institutionalization in London
On Tuesday, July 25th, 2023, CLO’s Council Vice President, Niko Pupella, facilitated an in-person DISRUPT! workshop on the Truths of Institutionalization at the Boys and Girls London. Niko discussed the history of institutions and their impact on society. Niko also engaged the youth in an interactive activity called “The Labelling Game” to teach them about the negative effects of othering and encourage them to be inclusive of all people.
Preparing Youth for the Future
On Wednesday, July 26th, 2023, Re:Action4Inclusion, in collaboration with Community Living Grimsby, Lincoln, and West Lincoln, hosted an in-person DISRUPT! workshop called “Preparing for Your Future”. We had a total of 70 participants at this event! To open the workshop, Rachel Crane facilitated a mindfulness session and land acknowledgment. Next, Sharon Babineau, an author and wellness facilitator, used meditation and breath art activities to emphasize the importance of mindfulness. After this, Michael Jacques, CLO’s Board President, delivered an impactful presentation about his life, inspiring the audience to overcome barriers and create inclusive spaces for people of all abilities. After lunch, Marsha Kostuk-Snyder got everyone moving with a high-energy fitness break! To end the day, our YAC members, Riddhi and Radhika used interactive activities and personal stories to share three strategies for maintaining a good work life. Overall, this event was an empowering experience and the audience learned how to advocate for themselves, create a work-life balance, and prioritize their well-being!
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