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Child and Youth Friendly Cities – Urban Explorers

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Our Work

Each of our programs and projects puts our mission into action by putting the advancement of children’s rights and engagement of young people at the heart of what we do. We develop projects that get to the root of the challenges facing children and youth in BC and look for positive solutions.

Child and Youth Friendly Communities Program

Aims of the CYFC Program

  • To support youth in becoming active participants in the development of their communities.
  • To ensure local governance decision making and city planning includes youth input.

What is a child and youth friendly community?

UNICEF defines a child friendly city or community (CYFC) as “a system of local governance, committed to fulfilling children’s rights.” CYFC’s seek to fulfill children’s rights, as outlined in the UNCRC, in the spaces that affect them the most and have the greatest potential to impact their wellbeing, growth, and development. In practice, this means that children’s rights are reflected in policies, laws, programs, services, and budgets. It also means that the voices and opinions of children are taken into consideration with regards to decisions that affect them.

History of the CYFC Program

The seeds for SCY’s child and youth friendly communities (CYFC) work were sown in the 1990’s during the Child Friendly Housing Project, which addressed the needs of children in multi-family housing by applying a child and youth friendly lens. SCY’s groundbreaking work was presented at the UN Habitat II Conference in 1996 and provided insight into the value of using a child and youth friendly lens. The conference declared that cities need to be made livable places for all and that “the well-being of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance”(UNICEF 1996). This led to SCY’s CYFC Program.

Showcase photo 2018

SCY developed a series of toolkits to help communities to create CYFCs. When this work began in 1998, there was little available to assist communities looking to increase child and youth friendliness. In 2013, the original toolkit was updated and made available online with more resources and an assessment tool/ideas bank.

This Project promotes the concept of child and youth friendly communities with a variety of groups including municipalities, community groups, and children and youth themselves. It helps to assess neighbourhoods and communities using a child and youth lens to help improve the health, well-being, and safety of young people.

In 2014, SCY worked in the City of New Westminster to create their Child and Youth Friendly Community Strategy. This process involved extensive community engagement, including the participation of children and youth, and research to create a strategy that was reflective of both the needs within the community as well as best practices. It will serve as a unifying vision for everyone working with and for children in the community and ultimately ensure that New Westminster is a great place for children now and into the future.

SCY is currently working in collaboration with the City of Vancouver to deliver our Urban Explorers program, as well as with various municipalities both in the Lower Mainland and beyond on CYFC initiatives.

Urban Explorers

The Urban Explorers program is developed under the Society for Children and Youth of BC’s (SCY’s) Child and Youth Friendly Communities projects. The program’s main objective is to provide opportunities for child and youth participation in urban planning and development through the implementation of a sustainability education curriculum. Our first year pilot was delivered in collaboration with the City of Vancouver’s Board of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability and Translink.

The Urban Explorers program builds on decades of research and experience from the Child Friendly Cities and Growing Up in Cities initiatives taking place internationally and applies a critical-constructivist pedagogy built on participatory planning methods.

UPDATE SCY’s 2022-23 Urban Explorer’s participatory planning program was delivered in three Vancouver schools, engaging 28 high school and 57 elementary school students in the Imagine West End Waterfront Project. Details of the program and the child and youth engagement input can be found in our Final Report. Thank you to our partners at the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver Planning for making this possible!

You can read our Summary Reports and the City’s Places for People Report by clicking the links below.

2017-2018

2018-2019

2022-2023

 

Play Streets

New Westminster School-Play Street POP-UP!

This School and Play Street demonstration event will take place at Lord Kelvin Community School in the City of New Westminster during the BCCC Active Transportation Summit.

  • Time: 2:45 – 4:00 PM
  • Date: June 18th, 2024
  • Location: Hamilton Street at Lord Kelvin Community School, New Westminster, BC

For site map, transit and bike routes check out our School Street Pop-up Flyer here.

Read more about SCY’s School and Play Streets initiatives here.

City of Vancouver Play Streets:

In partnership with the City of Vancouver, SCY is pleased to continue our Play Streets initiative in 2024 to increase outdoor play and connection opportunities for Vancouver youth. Co-designed with kids, Play Streets temporarily transform select streets into thriving public spaces. SCY staff will be on site to provide creative play offerings and elements. Learn more about Play Streets by checking out our Pilot Report Slides here.

Spring 2024 Play Street Dates:

Join us in May and June at the following schools to participate in after school Play Streets!

  • Lord Selkirk Elementary
    Tuesdays 2:45pm – 4pm
    May 6 to June 14
  • Gordon Elementary
    Wednesdays 2:45pm – 4pm
    May 6 to May 31
  • Lord Strathcona Elementary
    Thursdays 2:45pm – 4pm
    May 21 to June 14
  • L’Ecole Bilingue
    Fridays 2:45pm – 4 pm
    May 6 to May 31

 

For more information on how SCY can help assist you in building a more child and youth friendly community, please visit our Services page.

We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia.

Child Rights Public Awareness

The Child Rights Public Awareness Campaign began in 2006 when SCY, the Representative for Children and Youth, and the Institute for Safe Schools of BC came together to envision a plan for raising awareness of child rights. A project advisory committee was established, with representatives of the federal and provincial governments, and community agencies that represent the diversity of British Columbian society. Since then, SCY has taken a leadership role in running the campaign.

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The campaign uses the UNCRC as a unifying framework for government and community programs and services to children, youth and families, and aims to strengthen relationships through joint efforts to develop and implement strategies to increase public awareness of child rights.

Throughout the years, the campaign has engaged in numerous activities including roundtables on children’s rights, the creation of a child rights network, a multimedia campaign, community and youth engagement activities, and the creation and dissemination of child rights resources across the province, including multilingual resources.

Why is a child rights public awareness campaign needed?

Knowledge of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s rights generally, is lacking at all levels of our society – government, community, families, and children and youth themselves. In the 2005 report, Who’s in Charge Here? Effective Implementation of Canada’s International Obligations with Respect to the Rights of Children, Canada’s Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights found that there is a pervasive lack of awareness of the Convention within Canadian society:

“…the Committee has heard numerous witnesses express concern about the lack of awareness, both in government and among the public, of the Convention and the rights enshrined in it. Throughout its hearings, the Committee has become aware that there is very little knowledge of the Convention outside academic and advocacy circles.  In government, even among those dedicated to protecting children’s rights, knowledge of the 15 year old convention is spotty at best.”

Child and Youth Rights in BC: A Closer Look

We’ve worked together with other experts in BC to create this submission to the UN Committee regarding Canada’s implementation of the UNCRC.

We acknowledge the financial assistance of the Province of British Columbia.

Community Engagement and Special Projects

SCY participates in a lot of other work that is not easily classifiable under a particular program. We focus on opportunities for education, advocacy, and community engagement. For example, SCY:

  • Conducts tailored capacity building workshops on child rights for a variety of groups and organizations
  • Continually develops and distributes new child rights resources targeted at different audiences
  • Provides information on issues affecting children and youth in BC through our Child Rights Network and our social media presence
  • Speaks at and participates in conferences and events
  • Writes articles and publications on child rights issues
  • Hosts events to raise awareness of issues affecting children and children’s rights
  • Actively participates in coalitions and tables aimed at advancing children’s health, well-being, and rights, such as the First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, BC Healthy Child Development Alliance, Child Rights Education Week, Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and the Tri-Cities Children’s Charter Working Group
  • Helps organize the Rosemary Brown Award for Women annually

For more information on ways that SCY can assist you, please visit our Services page.

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SCY participates in a lot of other work that is not easily classifiable under a particular project. For example, SCY:

  • Conducts tailored capacity building workshops on child rights for a variety of groups and organizations
  • Continually develops and distributes new child rights resources targeted at different audiences
  • Provides information on issues affecting children and youth in BC through our Child Rights Network and our social media presence
  • Speaks at and participates in conferences and events
  • Writes articles and publications on child rights issues
  • Hosts events to raise awareness of issues affecting children and children’s rights
  • Actively participates in coalitions and tables aimed at advancing children’s health, wellbeing, and rights, such as the First Call BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition, BC Healthy Child Development Alliance, Child Rights Education Week, Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and the Tri-Cities Children’s Charter Working Group
  • Helps organize the Rosemary Brown Award for Women annually

For more information on ways that SCY can assist you, please visit our Services page.

Rosemary Brown Award for Women

“To be Black and female in a society which is both racist and sexist is to be in the unique position of having nowhere to go but up!” - Rosemary Brown (1930–2003)

“To be Black and female in a society which is both racist and sexist is to be in the unique position of having nowhere to go but up!” – Rosemary Brown (1930–2003)

Rosemary Brown was an inspiring Canadian woman who greatly influenced and affected the global agenda towards equality and justice for all.

Throughout her life, Rosemary worked to break down social economic and political barriers in the hope of achieving a world where all could be equal in dignity, self respect, and human rights.

Rosemary was a distinguished social worker, a politician, an author, a media personality, an academic, a feminist, and a loving mother and grandmother. She was bestowed with 16 honourary Doctorates from Canadian universities and was a member of the Privy Council, the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, and the Order of Jamaica. She was also the first Black woman to be elected to a Canadian legislature and she was the first woman to run for leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. She served as the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and she served on numerous Boards and Committees that were committed to equality principles.

Rosemary was fearless. Her tireless efforts, her indomitable spirit, her passion, and her integrity will be forever remembered and sorely missed.

Rosemary Brown Award for Women Recipient

Each year a theme is selected and candidates who demonstrate exceptional qualities and achievements in that area are sought by the supporting organizations.

2019: The Honourable Judge Marion Buller

The Honourable Judge Marion Buller was appointed the first woman First Nations judge in British Columbia in 1994 and was appointed as chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2016. Prior to being appointed to the Provincial Court bench, Judge Buller worked as a civil and criminal lawyer (1988 – 1994). Judge Buller Bennett served as both a director and president of Canada’s Indigenous Bar Association and has been a member of the B.C. Police Commission and the Law Court Education Society. She was the Commission Counsel for the Caribou-Chilcotin Justice Inquiry and published reports and articles dealing with Aboriginal rights and legal services for First Nations in BC. Judge Buller was instrumental in starting the First Nations Court of British Columbia in 2006.

Judge Buller received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Victoria, and went on to study law there as well. Judge Buller is currently resident in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, where she sits on the Provincial Court Bench, but maintains band membership with the Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan.

In 2012, Judge Buller received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UVic Faculty of Social Science.

Previous Recipients of the Rosemary Brown Award:

2018, Women in Politics: Ellen Woodsworth
2017, Children’s Rights: Dana Brynelsen
2016, Women in Politics: Dawn Black
2015, Women in Human Rights: Daphne Bramham
2014, Women’s Rights: West Coast LEAF
2013, Women in Labour Movement: Alice West
2012, Children’s Rights: Wilma Clarke
2011, International Development: Suzanne M. Taylor
2010, Social Justice & Community Development: Jean Swanson
2009, Women in Human Rights: The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign
2008, Women in Politics: Margaret Mitchell
2007, Women in Labour Movement: Angela Schira
2006, Children’s Rights: Valerie Fronczek
2005, Women’s Rights: Barbara Binns

“To be Black and female in a society which is both racist and sexist is to be in the unique position of having nowhere to go but up!” - Rosemary Brown (1930–2003)

“To be Black and female in a society which is both racist and sexist is to be in the unique position of having nowhere to go but up!” – Rosemary Brown (1930–2003)

Rosemary Brown was an inspiring Canadian woman who greatly influenced and affected the global agenda towards equality and justice for all.

Throughout her life, Rosemary worked to break down social economic and political barriers in the hope of achieving a world where all could be equal in dignity, self respect, and human rights.

Rosemary was a distinguished social worker, a politician, an author, a media personality, an academic, a feminist, and a loving mother and grandmother. She was bestowed with 16 honourary Doctorates from Canadian universities and was a member of the Privy Council, the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, and the Order of Jamaica. She was also the first Black woman to be elected to a Canadian legislature and she was the first woman to run for leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. She served as the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and she served on numerous Boards and Committees that were committed to equality principles.

Rosemary was fearless. Her tireless efforts, her indomitable spirit, her passion, and her integrity will be forever remembered and sorely missed.

Rosemary Brown Award for Women Recipient

Each year a theme is selected and candidates who demonstrate exceptional qualities and achievements in that area are sought by the supporting organizations.

2019: The Honourable Judge Marion Buller

The Honourable Judge Marion Buller was appointed the first woman First Nations judge in British Columbia in 1994 and was appointed as chief commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in 2016. Prior to being appointed to the Provincial Court bench, Judge Buller worked as a civil and criminal lawyer (1988 – 1994). Judge Buller Bennett served as both a director and president of Canada’s Indigenous Bar Association and has been a member of the B.C. Police Commission and the Law Court Education Society. She was the Commission Counsel for the Caribou-Chilcotin Justice Inquiry and published reports and articles dealing with Aboriginal rights and legal services for First Nations in BC. Judge Buller was instrumental in starting the First Nations Court of British Columbia in 2006.

Judge Buller received her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Victoria, and went on to study law there as well. Judge Buller is currently resident in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, where she sits on the Provincial Court Bench, but maintains band membership with the Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan.

In 2012, Judge Buller received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UVic Faculty of Social Science.

Previous Recipients of the Rosemary Brown Award:

2018, Women in Politics: Ellen Woodsworth
2017, Children’s Rights: Dana Brynelsen
2016, Women in Politics: Dawn Black
2015, Women in Human Rights: Daphne Bramham
2014, Women’s Rights: West Coast LEAF
2013, Women in Labour Movement: Alice West
2012, Children’s Rights: Wilma Clarke
2011, International Development: Suzanne M. Taylor
2010, Social Justice & Community Development: Jean Swanson
2009, Women in Human Rights: The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign
2008, Women in Politics: Margaret Mitchell
2007, Women in Labour Movement: Angela Schira
2006, Children’s Rights: Valerie Fronczek
2005, Women’s Rights: Barbara Binns

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Past Projects

Canada’s first youth-led youth rights monitoring project

A People’s Project was Canada’s first youth-lead rights monitoring project led by SCY in partnership with the Coalition for Kids and the Child and Youth Advocate for the City of Vancouver.

The project evolved out of concerns expressed by numerous child and youth serving agencies that changes to provincial legislation governing the delivery of child and youth services not only failed to address this situation, but increased BC’s violations of Canada’s UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This pilot project demonstrated a way to support youth in having a voice on their rights. The final product of this project was A People’s Project Toolkit,  which helps youth and community groups lead their own rights monitoring project, is available for download in our resource section.

Monitoring activities were based on the Children’s Rights Monitoring Toolkit produced by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children.

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Increasing the capacity of healthcare professionals to be health advocates

Treating patients’ ailments isn’t all there is to being a physician. It also means promoting health awareness, collaborating with community & social services, and being an educator on healthy practices. This project explored how to build the capacity of healthcare professionals to be health advocates for children and youth in BC.

Dr. Shafik Dharamsi (UBC Family Medicine), Dr. Bob Woollard, and SCY partnered to increase health advocacy by creating a model for health care professionals to use when taking on the role of a health advocate for children and their families.

In 2011 – 2012 we recruited 10 pretty stellar youth who created 6 radio announcements on their rights and issues that were important to them, each based on their personal experience. These PSAs were played on radio stations throughout the province during 2012.

Healthcare is fundamental to the well-being of all children, youth, their families, and communities and is a right that each young person has (Article 24 of the UNCRC). However access to healthcare is not always guaranteed for every young person in BC.

 We often think of access to healthcare as simply having a doctor that is close enough for us to get to, but the right includes so much more.

Just like us, when no one listens to them, youth feel powerless and vulnerable. Listening to children and young people is not always easy, but it is very important to their positive development.

That’s why the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has described being given a voice in matters that affect them, as a fundamental right for all those under the age of 18 years. Like all rights, participation is subject to reasonable limits, and like all rights in the Convention, it is subject to parental guidance, the age and capacity of the child.

One of the more negative effects of prejudice and discrimination that children and youth face as a daily part of their lives are stereotypes.

Stereotypes are an over-generalization, a “snap shot” perspective frozen in time and place that superimposes a perception of someone solely based on their group membership or outwardly attributes.

Most people are shocked to learn that we have reason to be concerned about child labour in BC. They are shocked to learn that children aged 12 to 14 can be employed in BC with very few restrictions and that government does not keep track of how many children this age are working.

​Though it is normally assumed that government looks out for our children when they go to work, this is no longer accurate.  What happened?

All children have the right to protection from harm. Exposure to any kind of violence including harassment, abuse, bullying, and child trafficking can result in a shorter lifespan, poor health outcomes, educational challenges, homelessness, and poor parenting skills later in life. Conversely, children who have their right to protection respected tend to be mentally healthy, confident, and less likely to abuse others including their own children later in life.

Access to safe housing is a basic right for young people (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 27), yet on any given night, it is estimated that there are between 500 and 1,000 “street” youth in Vancouver.

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This multi-year initiative focused on raising awareness of the over-representation of youth with disabilities, particularly ‘hidden disabilities,’ among youth in conflict with the law and engaging stakeholders (youth, families, support professionals, and policy makers) to work towards an integrated community of support and practice model.

A detailed report and discussion paper from this project are available in our resource section.

1. Discussion Paper:  “Realizing Rights – Responding to Needs”
2. Community Consultation Report: “Realizing Rights – Responding to Needs”
3. Community Consultation Report, Executive Summary
4. Springboard for Action – May 2009 Roundtable Report

The Youth Taking Action project was an initiative led by SCY in partnership with the Red Cross RespectED: Violence Abuse Prevention program and the BC Institute Against Family Violence, with the support of the Vancouver Foundation and Vancity. The project engaged youth filmmakers, who were or had lived in care, in two weekend filmmaking workshops with Reel Youth. The youth developed three films to help raise the awareness of the rights of youth living in care.

In November 2015, SCY conducted two Photovoice projects with youth in Vernon and Kitimat. The idea behind this project was to empower youth to examine their rights within their communities and take action toward positive change. In the workshops, youth learned about their rights, grassroots social activism, metaphorical photography, ethical issues related to photography, and developed leadership and planning skills. After the workshops, youth were supported to take their own metaphorical photographs about child rights and their communities and come up with quotes to express their ideas. Following the completion of the project, photo exhibits were held in both communities where youth were able to showcase their work and speak about their involvement in the project. Local decision-makers, community members, and family and friends of the youth attended. Youth had the opportunity to share their voices and opinions and make recommendations on how to make their communities better places for youth.

Vernon

Be your own person and rise above the negativity. (Right to be protected from anything that could harm your development.)

There are obstacles in life that could prevent you from getting the care you need. (Right to special care and support if you need it so you can lead a full and independent life.)

I sit there feeling lonely, like I don’t fit in. (Right to make friends and join groups.)

Only the brave ones will open their doors for us. (Right to be protected from kidnapping.)

Kitimat

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. (Right to help if you have been hurt, neglected, or badly treated.)

Education will empower you to make a difference. (Right to an education.)

Mind your own beeswax. (Right to a private life. For example, you can keep a diary that other people are not allowed to see.)

Everyone goes off the road, but to get where you are going you need to get back on. (Right to guidance from your parents and family.)

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In 2015, SCY piloted two youth photovoice projects aimed at increasing youth voice, participation, and action in their communities. Photovoice is an innovative method, which uses photography to tell stories and work towards social change. The objectives of photovoice are to:

  • Help those who are often unheard gain a voice, enabling them to record and reflect on their experiences and their communities’ conditions
  • Promote critical dialogue and knowledge about personal and community issues through photography
  • Bring about change that will improve conditions and lives by reaching and influencing policy makers (Wang and Burris 1997)

The emphasis on social change in this method led SCY to explore further opportunities to engage youth in advocating for their rights using Photovoice. As such, in 2016 SCY began to work on a part of the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative aimed at improving policy, practice, and community connections for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

This project involved the recruitment of 2 groups of youth transitioning out of foster care to participate in the project to express their stories and become agents for change in their communities. These groups were hosted in New Westminster and Abbotsford. Participants learned about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, metaphorical photography, leadership, grassroots social movements, communication, and social media.

With ongoing support from the project coordinator, youth took photos that represented issues related to their transition from care to adulthood and their rights, selected their best photos, and created quotes that expressed the idea in each photo. Youth helped organize photo exhibits and gala events to which local decision makers were invited. Discussion panels were held at these events, during which youth presented the issues that they, and others in their situation, have been experiencing and the solutions they identified during the workshop sessions.

To view the complete library, visit this page.

Abbotsford

“You see a tree in black and white. I see life.My life story is very long and complex, something we don’t need to get into. Not for this picture at least.When people have children. They raise them. They teach them how to walk, talk and tie their shoes. When those children get bigger their parents are supposed to teach them right from wrong and guide them through their choices and the decisions they make. Those parents are also supposed to catch them while they slip. Wipe their tears as they cry and hold them when they are scared.

When you don’t have parents you deal with social workers and foster parents. When we are brought into this world we don’t know about the feelings we will get or how to deal with them. We don’t know how to cook, clean, budget or anything of that sort. These are the things that foster children are lacking. Not because we are spoiled. Not because we want to be brats but because people don’t take the time to teach us, to help us grow the way our parents should have after they decided to have kids.

I see this tree and I see life. I see feelings. I see opportunity. I see choices. I see crime. I see all the different ways twists and turns. I see the dead ends and I see the growth.

There are so many different aspects of life that you can’t be warned about, that we aren’t prepared for, that we can’t see. But there are also so many that can be taught and can be learned but people have forgotten the importance of time, of teaching and learning. And people often underestimate us or our knowledge.

If you want to make things better. Take a walk with me. Hear me out. I will tell you how I feel but nothing is going to get any better if you don’t listen to the words that are being spoken, or if you turn your cheek because you won’t be told what you’re doing wrong. Because you won’t listen to a child. Yes, I am a child but I also have a say and a really good insight of what’s going on. One thing I learned in 20 something homes is to study, to analyze, to really see the truth of things and when you want to speak up, to not be heard is just another reason of why this isn’t working.”

“You see a building, just an ordinary building.
This building is the back view of the Chilliwack courthouse. This is the part you see when the sheriff takes you into court.
I see the basement. I see the shackles. The handcuffs and the annoyed sheriffs.

I remember back to the days when I would see this building and feel the excitement and nervousness of whether or not I was getting out of jail today.
I see home. I see this as my stop.
I remember the days of leaving the court house knowing I was going to jail for two and a half months. Knowing that I have let myself go and let everyone else down.

I learned the law at a very young age. I learned drugs, I learned crime, I learned consequences and punishments. I learned from these at the age of 12. 12 years old, doing everything in my power to destruct because I was broken. Because I was angry. Because I was hurt. I learned because that’s what it had to take. I had to go all the way to get back up. I had to be bruised I had to be scarred. I had to hit that bottom to realize that this isn’t what I want.
This isn’t what life should look like and it isn’t the path I wanted to take.

When my friends come to me and tell me they are using. I say ok. I don’t tell them how horrible they are. I don’t cut them from my life. I don’t dis-own them because of the choices they make. Because I know they will learn on their own. It is a hard lesson to learn. It’s hard because it is something that can’t be taught. You can be warned. You can be told. But ultimately it is something that you have to realize on your own time in order for it to work. A lot of my crime was caused by drugs. And those drugs are gone now because I have learned.
Because I have realized that that’s not who I am or who I want to be.
I lost myself and losing yourself is one of the hardest things to deal with.

There are some things in this world that you just can’t teach. Everyone deals with everything differently. And everyone learns everything differently and only those people themselves can find out. Not anyone but them. After all, you are the only person that you are left to deal with.”

“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell”

“To be a tree is to dance with the storm knowing you are rooted deeply into the earth”

New Westminster

“To stay on track, you must first board.”

“All birds will fly if given the chance.”

“Between goals and hurdles, don’t lose focus.”

“The 2nd stage begins.”

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In 2016, youth in and from government care have participated in arts-based projects where they courageously explored some of the issues they face in their daily lives.

In 2017 the Society for Children and Youth of BC and First Call, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change Initiative, invited the artists to exhibit their work for the community to come out and hear their collective voice on issues and solutions identified from their lived experience. We honoured and celebrated their various art forms including paintings, photography, youth film, spoken word, and more. We also heard from a panel of media makers and organization leads who reflected on what is possible when we pair youth art and the quest for positive social change

Quote from participant “I’m excited to be heard, to not have an adult speak for me but to use my own voice to speak.”

Click here to view the gallery of photos from the event.

Woman at an art show wearing a black dress, pearls and glasses.

In 2016,  youth in and from government care participated in arts-based projects where they courageously explored some of the issues they face in their daily lives.   

On January 25th, 2017 the Society for Children and Youth of BC and First Call, in partnership with Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change Initiative, invited the artists to exhibit their work for the community to come out and hear their collective voice on issues and solutions identified from their lived experience. We honoured and celebrated their various art forms including paintings, photography, youth film, spoken word, and more. We also heard from a panel of media makers and organization leads who reflected on what is possible when we pair youth art and the quest for positive social change. Click here to view the gallery of photos from the event.

In 2016, SCY began to work on a part of the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative aimed at improving policy, practice, and community connections for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. SCY hosted two youth photovoice projects aimed at increasing youth voice and participation for those in and aging out of foster care.

During these workshops, the youth clearly identified a number of themes when discussing the difficulties they face in their daily lives. These themes include:

  • Their experience of discrimination;
  • The power of support (social and financial);
  • The power of connection (cultural and familial);
  • Their concern for high workload of social workers; and
  • Their own resilience.

While having conversations with these youth about solutions and next steps, SCY began to explore the possibilities around supporting some youth-led customer service staff awareness training. In 2017, in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation, SCY recruited and hired 4 youth in and from government care to partner with us. These young people were trained in facilitation and then consulted groups of youth to get their input. They developed staff awareness training for customer service providers with whom they interact and who benefited from awareness about the experiences of youth in care and the importance of connections between these young people and their community. They then co-facilitated these sessions for customer service staff from various banks and credit unions.

“Stop treating me like I chose this”

In 2016, SCY began to work on a part of the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative aimed at improving policy, practice, and community connections for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. SCY hosted two youth photovoice projects aimed at increasing youth voice and participation for those in and aging out of foster care.

During these workshops, the youth clearly identified a number of themes when discussing the difficulties they face in their daily lives. These themes include:

  • Their experience of discrimination;
  • The power of support (social and financial);
  • The power of connection (cultural and familial);
  • Their concern for high workload of social workers; and
  • Their own resilience.

While having conversations with these youth about solutions and next steps, SCY began to explore the possibilities around supporting some youth-led customer service staff awareness training. In 2017, in partnership with the Vancouver Foundation, SCY recruited and hired 4 youth in and from government care to partner with us. These young people were trained in facilitation and then consulted groups of youth to get their input. They developed staff awareness training for customer service providers with whom they interact and who benefited from awareness about the experiences of youth in care and the importance of connections between these young people and their community. They then co-facilitated these sessions for customer service staff from various banks and credit unions.

“Stop treating me like I chose this”