A Provincial Exchange

The Youth.
The Work.
The System.

Knowledge to Action
For Youth Wellbeing


Stream Two Sessions

 Attendees will each be able to pick one session in this stream to attend at the Exchange. There are three types of sessions you can choose from. Each session is 60 minutes long and features two or more presenters.

Where possible, digital copies of presentations will be available after the Exchange.

Round Tables

01 //
Education: Exploring Identity and Possibilities for Collective Change

This roundtable will first explore issues facing youth in educational institutions from two lenses: challenges to educational attainment in York Region, and identity and racialization of Black men in educational institutions. Attendees will then hear from a frontline perspective, how one grassroots organization, Lifted by Purpose, addresses some of the barriers youth are facing through out of school programming. The session will end with a presentation on the Pathways Canada Community Mapping Tool, which seeks to allow education, government and non-profit systems to be better informed when working with communities to affect social change.


  • Matthew R. Morris, Toronto District School Board
    The Fresh Prince Syndrome: Experiences of Urban Black Youth in Educational Settings
  • Herleen Sayal, Laidlaw Foundation
    Wake Up York Region – Profiling the Voices of Youth Pushed out of the Education System
  • Arifah Yusuf & Kimberly Miller-Pryce, Lifted by Purpose
    Get Lifted
  • Steve Richter, Pathways to Education Canada
    The Pathways Community Mapping Tool: Toward Supporting Systems Engaged with Youth

02 //
Intersections of Art, Identity and Social Change

This roundtable will highlight the intersection of art and arts-based activities with fostering positive self-identity and wellbeing among ‘at-risk’ youth and those dealing with mental health challenges. With knowledge representation from research, practice and lived experience, speakers will also explore how art can be used as a catalyst for engagement, collaboration and potential social transformation.


  • Jahmeeks Beckford, Pathways to Education & Jennifer Vasic,Wilfrid Laurier University 
    Unexamined Creativity: How the Arts Could Really Change the World
  • Elizabeth Buset, Canadian Mental Health Association
    Not All Fish Swim Upstream: Art and Youth Mental Health
  • Natasha Conde-Jahnel, Cambrian College
    Moving Art, Moving  Minds

  • Lina Chaker & Jay Sivakumar, Together We Flourish
    Breaking Barriers Across Youth Serving Organizations

03 //
Police Interactions with Racialized Youth

This roundtable will unpack problematic encounters between racialized youth and the police from multiple perspectives in order to deepen and broaden our understanding and increase our capacity for coordinated action. The roundtable will begin with a data driven account of racial profiling in the context of neighbourhood, and then move towards exploring strategies communities can use to bridge divides between stakeholders of this issue from multiple perspectives. Finally, a youth engaged model of systems change will be discussed.


  • Philip Meng, Central Connecticut State University
    Racial Profiling in the Context of Neighbourhood
  • Neil Price, Logical Outcomes
    Validating Youth Voices: Preparing Communities to Resist Anti-Black Racism, Ageism and Attacks on Lived Experience
  • Sulaimon Giwa, York University PhD Candidate
    Improving Race Relations Through Joint Police-Youth Dialogue: An Ottawa Case Study
  • Brandon Hey, Waterloo Region Crime Prevention
    Synthesis of Critical Positive Youth Development & Systems Change Efforts: An Integrated Model 

04 //
Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship

In a socio-economic context where youth unemployment rates are high, traditional job opportunities are limited and challenges facing youth remain complex, what ‘work’ looks like for youth continues to evolve. Many youth are turning to entrepreneurship in order to fulfill their career interests while addressing needs they see in their communities. Others still seek valuable forms of more traditional forms of work from employers. This roundtable will explore this spectrum by showcasing how youth can leverage their lived experiences to make meaningful change and sharing ways to support young entrepreneurs move their work forward, while also highlighting the important role the private sector can play in providing employment opportunities to youth facing multiple barriers.


  • Segun Akinsyna, Currant
    WTF is Currant? Home of the Vanguards
  • Christa Romaldi and Kehinde Bah, Youth Action Network
    Propeller: Supporting Young Leaders to Reach New Heights
  • James Arron, Socent 7
    Supporting Young Social Entrepreneurs
  • Tamara Balan, Civic Action
    Escalator: Engaging the Private Sector in Youth Employment

Spotlight Presentations

05 //
The Politics of Space

Jay will address the discomfort of the word entitlement and then explore why it is important for historically excluded and marginalized youth to engender a sense of healthy entitlement in order to not only develop resilience and healthy well-being but to thrive in spaces outside of their immediate communities long after they “age out” of youth programs.

Following, Rene and Rehana will focus on how to address the challenges of getting institutions and young people to mutually work well together. Through examining the underlying dynamics that make such partnerships a challenge, this session will engage the audience with best practices and potential pitfalls for organizations and institutions looking for authentic relationships with communities.


  • Jay Pitter, Author, Placemaker, City Builder and Sanjeev Timana, Inspirit Foundation
    Fostering Healthy Spatial Entitlement in Marginalized Youth
  • Rene Barton and Rehana Robson, BITSY
    On Our Terms: Building Spaces with Youth at the Table

06 //
Evaluation for Youth Wellbeing

In this spotlight, members of the YouthREX team will share findings and recommendations from our report, Beyond Measure? The State of Evaluation in the ON Youth Sector. We will then share our own framework for evaluating youth wellbeing, along with information about our Customized Evaluation Supports program. Participants will also have the opportunity to share evaluation-related experiences, insights and concerns while learning more about the possibilities and potential benefits of youth program evaluation.


  • Alexander Lovell, YouthREX
    Beyond Measure? The State of Evaluation and Action in Ontario’s Youth Sector
  • Rebecca Houwer, YouthREX
    YouthREX’s Framework for Evaluating Youth Wellbeing
  • Vivian Oystrick, YouthREX
    Working with Grassroots Youth-Serving Organizations: Customized Evaluation Supports

07 //
Nurturing Mental Health: Evidence and Outcomes

Élyse will share an analysis on how feeling connected and learning coping skills is related to lower depression rates and suicidal ideation. The spotlight will be centered on how resilience can be nurtured in youth ages 13-20 using a Youth Engagement Model.

Following, Jasmine will share how Mood Walks is providing training and support to 40+ community mental health agencies across Ontario as they launch hiking programs for youth who are at risk of or experiencing mental health issues. Led by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario in partnership with Hike Ontario and Conservation Ontario

Finally, Sera will explore the potential of a context-driven evaluation to shape program growth by highlighting Choices, a multi-site youth life skills program. The partnership between Choices sites and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has resulted in more evidence-based decision-making, greater evaluation ability in program staff and ultimately, higher quality programs.


  • Élyse Champaigne-Klassen, CHEO
    A Pathway to Building Resiliency in Youth
  • Jasmine Ferreira, CHMA
    The Mood Walks for Youth in Transition Project: Promoting Walking in Nature to Improve Mental and Physical Health
  • Sera Weafer-Schiarizza, CAMH
    Growing Together: Developing a Context-Driven Evaluation for the Choices Program

08 //
Homelessness and Settlement

Jacqueline will share findings from a Research to Practice paper on rural youth homelessness. Jacqueline will engage in discussion of promising, effective or best practices that contribute to our knowledge of meaningful pathways and opportunities for youth to find healthy and sustainable places to live and to thrive.

Following, Elisa will present The Upstream Project, a school-based initiative to prevent youth homelessness. The presentation will include a description of the methodology and projected outcomes of the program, a ‘sneak peek’ at a toolkit being developed by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to provide communities with the necessary resources to implement the program, and early learnings for adapting the international model to the Canadian context.

This session will end with Moffat sharing success stories and best practices gained through experience from working with First Nations children and youth in Northwestern Ontario, many of whom face settlement challenges from moving from small remote Northern reserves to larger multicultural urban settings. Moffat will share stories and resource materials developed to make Aboriginal children and youth part of the solution to the problems they face, and strategies developed through his work to involve everyone in the process.


  • Elisa Traficante, Raising the Roof
    The Upstream Project: Preventing Youth Homelessness
  • Jacqueline Stol, YouthREX Eastern Hub
    Youth Homelessness in Rural Communities
  • Moffat Makuto, Multicultural Association of Northern Ontario
    Working with Indigenous and First Nations Children and Youth 


09 //
Breaking the ICE &
Youth in Transition

Breaking The ICE is a short documentary providing insight into the work of youth activators creating positive social change throughout Northern Ontario. Join Project Coordinator and Director, Joseph Recinos for a discussion on the findings of AVNU’s Information Cultural Exchange, a program aimed at empowering youth, exchanging culture, and uniting voices.

In 2015, the Sudbury Manitoulin Service Collaborative developed an intervention with the goal of improving mental health and addictions services for transition aged youth. Part of this intervention included a video, Youth in Transition, that was used to help inform youth about their transition to adult Mental Health and Addictions services. Join Anick and Adam to learn more about this work, the full protocol that was developed, lessons learned and more.


  • Joseph Recinos, AVNU
    Breaking the ICE
  • Anick Gervais & Adam Lyons, Sudbury Manitoulin Service Collaborative
    Youth in Transition

10 //
Past These Struggles &
Youth Leading Change

Past These Struggles is Jermaine’s Hip Hop project using community arts as music therapy in his youth work; visioning beyond struggles youth face regarding mental health, police brutality, and racism. In this session Jermaine will use his personal story, experience and spoken word to share his message is about how young people are standing up for what we believe in and leading the change they want to see.

YouthREX’s Youth Advisory Council recently launched their documentary Youth Leading Change, a film that celebrates the voices and agency of youth from the province of Ontario who are leading, and creating platforms for change. Join this session for a viewing of part of the documentary as well as a discussion on how this project came to be, and key learnings and challenges from this youth-led initiative.


  • YouthREX Youth Advisory Council
    Youth Leading Change
  • Jermaine Henry, Spoke N’Heard/YSI
    Past these Struggles