A Provincial Exchange

The Youth.
The Work.
The System.

Knowledge to Action
For Youth Wellbeing


Youth Sector

Excellence Awards


YouthREX’s 2016 Youth Sector Excellence Awards were presented to five youth organizations that exemplify a commitment to improving youth wellbeing by engaging in an evaluation of their youth program that is learning focused, youth engaged and uses contextualized evaluation methods.

YouthREX’s Youth Sector Excellence Awards recognise youth initiatives in Ontario that exemplify a commitment to improving youth well-being by undertaking an evaluation journey that reflects the three lenses through which the YouthREX Framework for Evaluating Youth Wellbeing views evaluation. These lenses provide youth programs with particular, contextualized lenses uniquely suited to the organizational, social and political realities that grassroots youth programs are located in. The nominees were selected for how well the organization’s evaluation journey responds to the questions posed by these three Lenses as follows:

A Learning Focused Lens

Will the evaluation produce insights and findings that can be used by the youth program to improve and promote youth wellbeing?

A Youth-Engaged Lens

Does the evaluation meaningfully engage youth participants?

A Contextualized Methods Lens

Does the evaluation methods allow a youth program to tell rich and nuanced stories of their processes and outcomes that acknowledge the complexity and dynamism of youth work?

The Nomination Process 

Hub Managers and Regional Academic Directors were asked to nominate organizations (both past and present) who have taken part in YouthREX’s Customized Evaluation Support and YouthREX activities. One of the main criteria for being nominated was how well an organization’s evaluation journey reflected the three lenses of YouthREX’s Evaluation Framework.

The winners were announced at our Provincial KtA Exchange on October 28th!

The Nominees

Northern Hubs //

winnerblue  WINNER!

Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Program

Northwestern Hub

Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Program is a network of empowered and celebrated Indigenous youth supported by a community of individuals, organizations and funders that work toward shared desires for a healthy environment, social inclusivity, and strong cultural connections. The partnership is deeply rooted in reciprocity and shared ownership, focusing on mutual learning experiences to build strong, equal, and lasting relationships between everyone involved.

winnerblue  WINNER!

Better Beginnings Better Futures

Northeastern Hub

Better Beginnings Better Future is a prevention program for high-risk communities. The Sudbury Better Beginning Better Futures’ holistic model provides child-centred activities and community development in the Flour Mill/Donovan neighbourhood. Their mission is to promote and strengthen personal growth focused on the child and the individual uniqueness of all community members. They also aim to promote and encourage active participation in all aspects in the shaping of programs and support systems, while integrating respect, and teamwork of everyone in achieving a safe, healthy and wholesome environment for all.

The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC)

Northeastern Hub

The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) is an organization of workers, students and community volunteers committed to improving the lives and working conditions of people in low-wage and unstable employment. SWEAC was started by a dedicated group of volunteers and workers who were concerned about the inequalities that precarious and low-wage workers were facing in Sudbury. Their mandate is to deliver support and education on workers rights, provide community spaces for workers to share and learn together, and ensure that all workers have a voice and are treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.

Eastern Hub //

winneryellow  WINNER!

Osgoode Youth Association

Osgoode Youth Association (O-YA) is a community built and operated non-profit youth centre located in the rural south Ottawa Village of Osgoode, Ontario, Canada. O-YA promotes a healthy community by providing a safe and comfortable environment for inspiring youth programs, critical mental health resources and fun community events. Community youth benefit from this welcoming gathering space throughout their critical developmental stages. O-YA supports the development of all local 7 – 18 year olds with programs that focus on recreation, education, inspiration, mental health, socialization and fun!

Youth Ottawa DILA Program

Youth Ottawa DILA Program (DILA) stands for Day of Information for a Lifetime of Action. Their mandate is to support youth in taking action on community and/or societal issues that are relevant to them. DILA is a Youth Ottawa program consisting of three core elements: 1. The DILA Program, consisting of an eight-visit program to help youth identify issues of civic importance and develop and effectuate Action Plans which will create solutions to these issues; 2. The DILA Conference, which runs every October and brings together youth and community organizations for workshops on social and environmental issues; and, 3. The DILA Youth Action Showcase, which brings youth to City Hall every spring to meet with community leaders, demonstrate their actions, and advocate for the issues which matter to them.

Ottawa Youth Active Media Project (YAM)

Ottawa Youth Active Media Project (YAM) is a neighbourhood-based, videography initiative for youth. Youth reflecting geographic communities across Ottawa have the opportunity to learn the art of filmmaking while creating short films about issues that matters to them. Youth Active Media empowers youth to effect positive social change through art, while developing transferable skills, and providing employment opportunities for youth through paid mentorships.

Through their Social Enterprise, Youth Active Media is enhancing the communications capacity of local organizations through video services that can help tell the story of local issues, from a local perspective. Videos are created on a fee-for-service basis by talented YAM youth – it’s a win/win!

Southwestern Hub //

winnerpink  WINNER!

The Blenheim Youth Centre

The Blenheim Youth Centre is a place where young people of the community (ages 8-18) can gather together in a safe environment. As a means of providing young people “something to do,” the Centre offers daily afterschool programming that allows the youth to develop social and life skills. The activities and programs available keeps youth off the streets, prevents vandalism and violence, and allows them to develop and build acceptable social, personal and professional relationships. The BYC is the only youth centre available to this population within Blenheim and surrounding areas and currently receives visits from approximately 30 youth per day.

The London Youth Advisory Council

The London Youth Advisory Council exists to ensure that youth voices are integrated into local public policy decisions. LYAC seeks to reboot citizenship in London by encouraging youth to lead the charge against political apathy by playing a constructive role in the decision-making processes of the governments and institutions that influence our communities. The LYAC inspires and educates youth about the impact that they can make by recommitting to advocacy, policy development and political engagement as tenants of citizenship.

Central Hub //

Visions of Science Year End

winnerblue  WINNER!

Visions of Science Network of Learning

Visions of Science is a charitable organization that aims to advance the educational achievements and career aspirations of youth from low-income and marginalized communities through meaningful engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and research. Their programs and initiatives create an accessible and supportive STEM learning network. Program staff, volunteers and community stakeholders work together to ensure that participants are engaged, skilled and knowledgeable in STEM fields as they progress from childhood, to adolescence, and into adulthood.

Murray McKinnon Foundation

Murray McKinnon Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, was established in 1972 to provide a caring and supportive environment to young men and women who are in conflict with the law or at risk of youth justice involvement. Their goal is to empower today’s youth to reach their full human potential and to enable them to successfully reintegrate and become productive members of society. Murray McKinnon Foundation uses a strength based approach in their work. Youth are encouraged to set individual goals and staff members support them in enhancing their own strengths and resiliency.

Charlie’s FreeWheels

Charlie’s FreeWheels offers a Build-A-Bike program that teaches bicycle mechanics to youth. Their mission is to inspire a spirit of exploration and to mobilize, empower and engage youth using bicycles as a driver for personal growth and positive social change. Their vision is to support the development of empowered young leaders, to build on the strengths of the community and to become a leading resource for youth to engage with cycling issues in Toronto. Their free program gives youth the opportunity to build their own bike by refurbishing a used one. At the end of the program, participants get a new bike, accessories and the necessary skills to safely ride and maintain their bikes.