Listening to Youth Voices: How do we make room for the next generation of engaged youth?
Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
Youth voices are frequently unacknowledged or outrightly dismissed despite the fact that they are disproportionately affected by the sorts of social injustice which they will inevitably inherit as they come of age. As much as we might be reluctant to admit it fostering the leadership of the next generation of engaged youth will inevitably require us to step back. This conversation considers how power is shared across generational divides. How do we take meaningful steps to bring youth to the table as equal stakeholders in addressing our shared social challenges?
Author Dorothy W. Williams specializes in Canadian Black history. Her expertise is in demand for public lectures and consulting, supporting media research and has consulted with various governments. With a Masters in History, and a doctorate in Library Studies, Dorothy’s company, Blacbiblio.com, Inc. promotes African-Canadian history and heritage using The ABC’s of Canadian Black History Kit. Dr. Williams has been awarded for her groundbreaking work including “Quebec Laureate” in 2002.
The Press Start Coop emerged from Maison Saint Columba House from a two-year process of reflecting on youth programming and the needs of youth in the community of Pointe- Saint-Charles, Montréal. It is a for-youth, by-youth cooperative arcade and up-cycling project based out of Bâtiment 7, that includes an arcade meeting place for teens, a small cafe and a space for youth to learn to up-cycle and engage in discussions on consumption habits and environmentally sustainable living.
Arisha Khan is a student at McGill University and Vice-President of Youth in Care Canada, a national charitable organization serving youth in care. She previously served as a board member for a Children's Aid Society in Ontario, and as an advisor to the Premier. She currently sits on the Investigations Advisory of the Ontario Children's Advocate. Having spent time bouncing in and out of care in Ontario, she is passionate about ensuring that youth are aware of their rights and engaged in the decisions that impact them.
Andrea Clarke is currently the Director at À deux mains / Head & Hands, a community organization that provides legal, social and medical services to youth age 12 to 25 while striving to prioritise accessibility, harm reduction and non-judgement. She has worked in public health care for over a decade while studying cell and molecular biology, biochemistry and finally business administration. Her transition into the community sector is relatively recent, and was driven by a desire to put her knowledge to good use, and to work in a collaborative, multidisciplinary environment.
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