Right to Play, Jay’s Care, Save the Children, and the Ontario Child Advocate partnered with youth from Northern Ontario
to create a dialogue regarding crisis response and services within their communities. The Crisis Response Working Group had an attendance of approximately a dozen dedicated, passionate and resilient young people. The young people expressed their views on crises, services, supports, education as well as training. This meeting, that took place in the fall of 2017, was only just the beginning to many ongoing discussions.
The young people had numerous unanswered questions regarding the crises happening within their communities:
“Why do we have to wait until a crisis happens in order to receive mental health supports/services? A crisis doesn’t happen between the hours of 9-5, why are the services only offered then? Crisis workers and services providers are present during the crisis, but what about after the crisis occurs? What about long term?”
The young people discussed the relevance on ensuring a “safe space” is implemented as well as the role the service provider must play. They expressed their aspiration for a safe space within their communities. The participants touched on the importance of an ongoing effort for establishing relationships with service providers so when a crisis happens in the community, the community members already have a relationship with the service providers.
The youth expressed their longing and willingness to get educated on funding opportunities in order to create services within their communities.
They want to learn grant writing, funding proposals, report writing in addition to book keeping and tracking for expense reports. The objective of the grant education is for the young people to be successful in obtaining funding to develop programs that will best fit the needs of their community members.
The youth present also shared their longing to gain education on categories that vary. They explained that they wish to have their peers, along with themselves, first aid, CPR and WHIMIS trained. The young people want the community health workers to develop workshops to educate the youth on healthy living. More importantly, they want to be trained on therapeutic recreation such as self care strategies and life skills.
The young people had explained that the first Crisis Response Working Group Meeting is only the beginning steps in a much larger picture.
Right to Play, Jay’s Care, Save the Children, Plan International, the Ontario Child Advocate and the young people are merely laying the foundation. The Crisis Response Meetings are the very first steps in creating an action plan.