CES Spotlight blog posts shine a light on youth sector programs and initiatives in Ontario that are undertaking an evaluation journey in collaboration with YouthREX’s Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) at one of our regional hubs across Ontario. The blog posts describe the programs and initiatives and how evaluation support their objective to improve youth wellbeing.

In winter 2016, Together We Flourish began an evaluation journey with our Southwestern Hub through our Customized Evaluation Supports (CES) program.

Together We Flourish
Breaking Barriers

TARGET POPULATION
Racialized youth
Newcomer youth
Youth living in poverty

RELATED STEPPING UP THEME(S)
Diversity, Social Inclusion & Safety
Civic Engagement & Youth Leadership
Coordinated & Youth-Friendly Communities

CES START DATE
December 9, 2015

Together We Flourish started out as a community garden that was based on the idea of uniting community on the principle of sharing to generate positive community interactions. Although the garden is an integral part of Together We Flourish, the collective is also becoming a part of collaborative projects and initiatives that use various mediums such as art to engage in social change.

MISSION
Together We Flourish (TWF) is a student/community organization that is oriented towards eliminating barriers to social inclusion and uses social work as a tool for community development.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Breaking Barriers is a mural project that empowers youth (ages 16-24) living in Windsor to depict narratives that visualize and personify various oppressions that youth face including racism, classism, social isolation etc.

“Our desire for social inclusiveness underlines all the work we do to bridge social gaps.”

– Jay Sivakumar, Together We Flourish

The Breaking Barriers program that Together We Flourish created provides outreach to Windsor’s youth, community mural sessions with artists, and a summer block party where youth artwork is showcased.

“(In past evaluations with youth)…the most difficult challenge in the evaluation process for youth was the acknowledgement of barriers they are facing in the presence of adults. The power relations between professionals and youth often prevents an honest evaluation process in the pursuit of maintaining a desired image.”

– Jay Sivakumar, Together We Flourish

Why Customized Evaluation Supports? 

There are two things that Together We Flourish and the Breaking Barriers program wanted to document; the personal and social impact on the youth participants, and the sense of community safety surrounding the community garden. They hope to document these positive outcomes in order to strengthen their organizational capacity to apply to further grants that will enable the implementation of the Together We Flourish mandate.

Currently, Together We Flourish is in the Action Phase, Step 5 – Analyzing, Interpreting and Animating Evidence, of our Framework for Evaluating Youth Wellbeing.

“Evaluation is a scientifically recognized tool to ascertain community relationships. We aimed to document the impact of youth artistic expression of their vulnerable narratives and its ability to stimulate community relationships. We hope decision makers can use the documented outcomes of our program to support similar artistic programming.”

– Jay Sivakumar, Together We Flourish

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