- 12 members
- 3 attended the Young Decision Makers Conference in Nobelton, Ontario
- 2 attended the Atlantic Summer Institute, Symposium on Child and Youth Mental Health in Charlottetown, PEI
- 1 attended the Canadian Alliance to End Youth Homelessness Conference in Montreal, QC
- 6 attended the National Child and Youth Advocates Conference in St. John's
- 2 were panelists for the release of Towards A Solution in St. John's
- 2 were presenters for a lunch and learn with Push for Change
- A peer-to-peer survey on the barriers facing youth was completed and invovled 42 youth at CFY
Choices for Youth has consistently worked to bring youth voices to our decision-making tables and ensure that the lived realities of our program participants inform and critique the programs that exist for them.
The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is the formal structure of this practice. From all different backgrounds and lived experiences, the YLC came together in 2011 as a group of leaders living at The Lilly, and who wanted to find ways to contribute to Choices' programming. Spreading awareness on the realities of living at-risk and homeless, and educating people on the impact resources and programming can have, the YLC is a crucial model of collaboration we believe can transform this kind of work.
The YLC has developed workshops on self-injury that are presented to students in Schools of Social Work, Psychology, and Nursing, as well as to high schools in the province and to sponsors and staff of Choices for Youth. The group has ambitions to develop similar workshops – informed by their own experiences and learning – on topics of bullying, LBGTQ issues, and addictions.
Participation in the Council is voluntary, and has allowed many participants to continue healing and growth. Many have shared that the opportunity to use their own struggles to help others gives added purpose to what they have been through, and at the same time, they are developing skills in public speaking, group management, facilitation, and administration that further their professional abilities.
When youth homelessness is not a part of everyday life, the gap between perception and reality of the issue can be enormous. The work of The Youth Leadership Council closes this gap, and connects funders, the community, and other support systems to real information and lived experience that saves lives.