Fostering Change with DILA #YelltheTruth

“The more that we can meaningfully involve youth in making decisions that impact our direction, the more we will do so.

– Ian Bingeman, Program Coordinator 

Recently we caught up with one of this years #YelltheTruth winners, Toronto Emerging ARTivists (TEA). This week we want to shine the spotlight on another #YelltheTruth winner. We would like to thank Ian Bingeman (Program Coordinator) and the youth and facilitators at Youth Ottawa’s DILA Youth Program (formerly DILA Program) for sharing with us.

About Youth Ottawa’s DILA Youth Program

DILA was initially conceived as a one-day conference to inform students of social and environmental issues, inspire students to take action and give them the tools to initiate positive change. In September 2012, the DILA School Program was introduced, enabling students from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and community partners, including Pathways to Education to take part.  Over the course of the 2012/2013 school year, over 700 students participated in the DILA program. The result was over 50 student-led action plans, which addressed a range of issues, including: local poverty, bullying and equity. To date, DILA-facilitated and youth-driven initiatives have raised over $40,000 in support of multiple local and international organizations.

Youth Action Showcase 2015

DILA’s #YelltheTruth Prize

Summer Internship for youth in support of the DILA Program.

How did you use your prize? How did it help your organization yell the truth?

DILA: This prize allowed us to experiment with a model for running a youth internship position, which would be of value both to our organization as well as to the youth in question. We used the youth internship to help with a number of initiatives that we have ongoing:

  • Social media communication – exploring the development of an App as a better means of communicating with youth.
  • Building a better youth Action Plan database – the youth we worked with helped to connect us with a number of other already engaged youth who we could help to support in their efforts and who could help us at the events that we run to inspire further youth to become more engaged.
  • Help with coordinating and planning our annual Youth Conference
  • Designing templates for future DILA-participating youth to create infographics to show off their Action Plans.
  • Explore and reflect on the internship itself to inform our approach to future internships.

Our goal is to help youth realize that they don’t have to wait for a change to happen, that if youth are going to be our future, they should also be our today in terms of empowering themselves to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

How do you encourage youth to yell their truth?

DILA: On the one hand, we encourage youth to “yell their truth” by showing that there is no “age of majority” for honesty and that their communities need their inspiration, passion, and honesty to create the solutions to the challenges they face.  On the other hand, we don’t just want them to “yell the truth,” we need to show the truth as well through our actions, which more often than not speak louder than words.

How can people get in contact with you?




Twitter: @DILAOttawa

About #YelltheTruth 

The #YelltheTruth campaign is a way to profile stories and examples about how grassroots youth-serving organizations are facilitating opportunities for youth leadership and participation in Ontario communities, acting as powerful agents of change in one (or more) of the seven themes outlined in Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed.

Jhanelle Porter
Communications and Digital Content Intern
YouthREX Provincial Office

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