YCRH in the Canadian Journal of Public Health

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In 2017, The Sandbox Project partnered with the Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement at the Students Commission of Canada on a research project to evaluate and reflect on the Young Canadians Roundtable on Health (YCRH) in its fifth year, and to see what we could learn about youth engagement that could be shared with the sector more broadly.

Led by Dr. Heather Ramey, the youth-adult research team analyzed and evaluated the youth-led initiatives of the YCRH and generated evidence-based promising practices for youth adult partnerships and youth engagement in the context of health and wellbeing. These findings are helping to shape the direction of the YCRH as a youth-led initiative and pillar of The Sandbox Project working model.

“The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health: Promising practices for youth and adults working in partnership” appears in the Innovations in Policy and Practice section of the latest issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

The research generated a set of recommendations for future YCRH activities and for other organizations working in partnership with youth:

1. Raise the bar. Rather than occasionally seeking feedback from youth, work towards providing an ongoing, consistent platform for youth input.

Invest in individual relationships. Take the time to build mutual understanding among youth and adults. Whenever possible, meet face-to-face. The more adults understand about the interests and ambitions of individual members, the better youth can be connected to relevant internal and external opportunities. The more access youth have to opportunities in other adult-run organizations, the greater their visibility among decision-makers.

Appreciate the value of different forms of knowledge and expertise. Lived experience is expertise that should be valued in the same way as academic knowledge. Regardless of background and experience, mutual respect should be established and clearly understood.

Recognize different ways of communicating. When engaging in discussions around new topics, it’s important to properly and succinctly translate knowledge so that it is easily understood and applied by youth and professionals of varying experience.

Embrace the unexpected. Both adults and youth should begin with the expectation of mutual respect for everyone's time and efforts. Establishing generous timeframes and agreeing on deadlines at the outset will help you to embrace the unexpected. Adult allies need to be patient and comfortable with the ambiguity of working with youth.

Continuously revisit and renegotiate structure and flexibility. The structure, accountability, stability and mentorship that adults can provide are tools that help guide projects along. Every person and project is different. Ongoing communication is key to developing the conditions for youth to do their best work toward achieving their goals.

To download “The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health: Promising practices for youth and adults working in partnership,” visit the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

Highlights from the research are also available on the Students Commission website as a free E-book.

As always, we welcome opportunities to collaborate. If you would like to speak with us about this project, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

CHILD Cohort Study: Fats in breastmilk are unique to each mother


Source: AllerGen NCE

New findings from the CHILD Cohort Study shed light on the diverse factors that influence human milk fatty acid composition.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the amount and mixture of breast milk fats are unique to each mother.

In addition to a mother’s diet and genetics, the researchers also examined the impact of sociodemographic and environmental factors such as birth mode, gestational age, maternal pre-pregnancy weight and other factors on fatty acid concentrations.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess such a wide variety of factors that influence the concentrations of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) or “good fat” and other fatty acids in human milk, highlighting the incredible variation that makes human milk so unique,” said Dr. Meghan Azad, the University of Manitoba investigator who co-leads the Manitoba site of CHILD.

Dr. Kozeta Miliku, an AllerGen trainee and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Manitoba, was lead author on the study. The researchers used data from more than 1,000 mothers and their infants participating in the CHILD Cohort Study.

Read the AllerGen Press Release

Children First Canada launches new National Child Day website

Children First Canada is excited to announce the launch of the National Child Day website! Check out the website for the latest details on their National Child Day events and confirmed speakers. The site will be updated regularly with new info on how you can celebrate National Child Day wherever you are!

This year marks a special milestone: the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child! On the heels of the federal election, Canada will also have a new government in place, making it a timely occasion to discuss the urgent, unfinished business of children's rights in Canada.

Children First Canada is holding a forum for kids and youth to learn about their rights and the Canadian Children's Charter and involve them in closing the gap between the promises made and the realities they experience in their daily lives.

They will also be hosting a forum for leaders of the federal government, charities, hospitals, research institutes and major corporations that invest in kids, to take stock of the current challenges and create a plan of action - with children, for children! 

While this national forum is taking place in Ottawa, satellite events will be happening across the country. You'll get the chance to hear from children and adults from coast to coast to coast, and be a part of a national conversation on what it will take to make Canada the best place in the world for kids to grow up.

 Visit Children First Canada to book your ticket today!

Webinar: Doing Better for LGBTQ2+ Communities in Health & Social Services

Wednesday, October 9th from 1 - 2 p.m. EST

This webinar is hosted by the Child Welfare League of Canada and the Canadian Association of Social Workers.

20-40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ2+. 70% of trans youth have experienced sexual harassment. More than one-third of trans youth ages 14-18 have been physically threatened or injured in the past year. LGBTQ2+ individuals experience significantly higher rates of mental health problems and substance use issues than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Despite greater health and social service needs, LGBTQ2+ communities are less likely to access health services – and are all too likely to have negative experiences when they do. 

This presentation will bring together the results of Wisdom2Action’s recent report on LGBTQ2+ youth and Gender-Based Violence alongside the expertise of our affiliates in LGBTQ2+ inclusion in health and social services to provide participants with a deeper understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ2+ young people, and practical tips and tricks for improving LGBTQ2+ inclusion in your practice and workplace.

LGBTQ2+ inclusion is about more than a rainbow sticker. True inclusion requires a fulsome commitment to organizational culture change to embed LGBTQ2+ inclusion as a core principle and practice at all levels.

Specific learning objectives for this presentation are to:

  1. Understand how the health and well-being of LGBTQ2+ young people is shaped by systemic discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and gender-based violence.

  2. Become familiar with LGBTQ2+ terminology and the cultural context of gender, sex and sexuality.

  3. Develop strategies for bringing LGBTQ2+ inclusion into your organization.

  4. Learn about practical tips and tricks for embedding LGBTQ2+ inclusion in your practice.

To learn more and to register visit the Child Welfare League of Canada.

It's Cyber Security Awareness Month! Free youth-focused initiatives from #TELUSWise

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TELUS Wise footprint comic contest

The TELUS Wise footprint comic contest tasks youth in grades 2-6 to author a comic strip that speaks to good digital citizenship. Entrants have the chance to win up to $3000 for their school and $500 for themselves! The submission deadline is October 18, 2019.

To learn more and to enter the contest, visit the contest page.


TELUS Wise live webinar: Cybersafety and supporting youth in our digital world

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Held on October 16th at 6 p.m. EST, this free one-hour webinar is open to the public, providing parents and adults insight on living and parenting in a digital society, screen time, sexting, cyberbullying, and more.

For full webinar details and to register, visit TELUS Wise.