Announcing the Bay Ward Community Youth Task Force
This past Thursday evening, I had the privilege of launching a Community Youth Task Force here in Bay Ward. The Task Force is focused on underprivileged and often visible minority youth in our community. The meeting included representatives of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, Boys and Girls Club, our new Neighborhood Police Team, Ottawa Community Housing, City of Ottawa services and recreation centres, our local community houses and a local community association, Ottawa’s anti-racism specialist, and of course, young people themselves. I believe that those organizations, already engaged in efforts to make our community a better place for young people, have an opportunity to pool their efforts and work together. We are living in a unique time that creates its own challenges and opportunities. Let’s listen to young people, support them to articulate their priorities and demonstrate our confidence in their bright futures.
At our first meeting, we heard some important messages. While most young people are doing well, many are not. A black youth from our community spoke clearly about being held back by racism in our schools and when seeking employment. We learned that the move to an overwhelmingly on-line life is leaving many young people feeling isolated, bored, anxious and worried about their academics. We heard about the gap in supports for young adults when they complete high school and are trying to make serious decisions without focused mentoring and practical help to get that first job. And we heard about some of the ways our local organizations are creatively re-inventing their programs to meet our changing reality. We were energized by some inspiring initiatives that the young people of Britannia Woods created this summer to tell their own stories and build resilience.
In the coming months, I expect that a few top priorities will emerge for the Task Force. That will happen through respectful listening to the vibrant, talented young people in our community, and then moving forward with them. Stay tuned.
Be kind, stay well, stay safe and always be #COVIDWise
Members of the Bay Ward Community Youth Task Force
- Local community associations and schools;
- Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre;
- Boys and Girls Club;
- Our new Neighborhood Police Team;
- Ottawa Community Housing;
- City of Ottawa services and recreation centres;
- Community houses;
- Ottawa’s anti-racism specialist; and