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Youth Engagement Program honours youth voices and lived experiences

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Top row (L-R): Marjory Phillips, Che Latchford, Corinne Gittens-Noel, Abdi Mohamud, Jamie Sutherland and Tracie LeBlanc
Bottom row (L-R): Sarah Woods, Harry Wenban, Abby Lopes, Jonathan Kallis and Faisa Mohamud
Absent: Trish McKeough, Leena Augimeri, Nicola Bangham

In 2016, a group of CDI staff and youth came together as part of our newly-formed Youth Engagement Steering Committee to review how the agency can better engage young people in sharing their voices and opinions about service-related issues. CDI’s youth engagement program is now one of three accredited programs in Toronto, and we are continuing to gain momentum.

Made up of three youth members and staff from across CDI’s various program areas, the Youth Engagement Program strives to:

  • Honour the voices and lived experiences of youth by developing an organizational framework and forum for youth to be heard and respected;
  • Actively promote an organizational culture of youth engagement; and
  • Help CDI youth build skills to transition successfully into adulthood.

The Steering Committee has already made positive gains in shaping the way CDI approaches policy and program development, and the group will continue its positive impact in the coming year. Plans are in place to roll-out more youth-focused activities largely shaped by the wisdom and expertise of the youth members on the Committee.

“My goal as a member of this committee has been to build a strong network of youth that will feed into the work of the committee,” says Abby Lopes, youth member. “I feel valued on this committee and that my voice is heard—it’s been a really special experience.”