A Toolkit for community builders
A Resource To Empower Youth and Adults To Work Together As Champions of Community Inclusion
a TOOLKIT FOR YOU
This movement of young people, with and without disabilities, and their allies has worked with a variety of community influencers, caught the attention of policymakers, and engaged with thousands of youth to spark a cultural change. Youth advisors have informed the process, community allies have provided feedback, and together we have sought opportunities to convene, support, and provide platforms for this work to ignite a cultural shift in Ontario. That said, the movement has lots of room to grow and huge potential for innovative ideas and methods to spread the word. The objective of this toolkit is to share what’s been learned and provide resources that have been co-designed with youth to support you to continue this work and build momentum within the movement going forward.
The flipbook is interactive and includes links to videos, websites and other resources that might be helpful to you.
Check out our training. Youth from the movement would be happy to come to your school and facilitate with you!
Over the last ten years, we have met over 50,000 youth ambassadors who have contributed to building the momentum that fuels this movement. The experiences, voices and knowledge of the issues, barriers and solutions that have been shared are important to furthering the impact that current and future leaders can have. This resource has been designed to share what has been accomplished, identify the barriers that have been faced and to empower youth success to facilitate difficult conversations.
It is the experiences of youth and allies, their feedback and work that has made this resource possible. During the research and design process, we conducted interviews, analyzed surveys and collected tips and strategies from youth ambassadors and adult allies. We have pulled together a collection of resources, activities and strategies that will help both youth and their allies to continue to shift the culture of our society and change the narrative of disability.
How is it organized?
Two chapters, dozens of resources, tons of innovative ideas!
This toolkit has been organized into two separate chapters. The first is intended for youth, giving you essential information to consider, resources, and discussion topics that can be used to engage your peers in the conversation on inclusion. The second chapter is intended for community or youth-focused organizations. Essential information, resources, and important feedback are provided within each section. It is our desire that these resources empower people as community builders as you endeavour to authentically implement
inclusive practices with youth in your community.
What is youth engagement?
Within a variety of contexts, youth engagement can be defined in a number of ways. One way to conceptualize youth engagement is to visualize it on a linear spectrum. On one end, youth participate in community programs and initiatives. On the other, they are actively engaged in decision-making as equals with adults. Youth participation activities are programmatic in nature, and can include things like transitional programming, recreational activities, and guidance around employment. While these activities can be meaningful and even empowering to a person, they put youth in a participatory or client-based role and revolve around an agenda determined with limited input on their part.
Youth engagement moves beyond a participatory model and includes a framework that allows youth to develop, lead, and carry out community projects and initiatives. This move from participation to engagement ensures that activities are centred around issues of inclusion, rights, and citizenship. Therefore, youth engagement refers to contexts in which youth are empowered within leadership roles and are active participants in setting the agenda. This means that youth are given valuable social roles where their contributions and feedback are expected, applied, and valued.
Our Definition of Inclusion
The 21st century calls for leaders who are conscious of diversity and who understand the powerful but basic human need to belong. Authentic inclusion requires that people recognize, value, and expect the contributions each person can make. Authenticity is achieved when relationships are seeded in a genuine appreciation and mutual respect for another person. Authentic inclusion does not come from a lens of charity, tokenism, or pity.