OKN’s Indigenous Reconciliation initiative considers Truth and Reconciliation as two distinct entities, as illustrated above. Learn more about this graphic in our Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy.

Children spend a great deal of their first 8 years learning in schools, thus, how schools connect to their community is important. Progress in this area will show good connections between schools, parents, community resources and the local neighbourhood.

  • Parental involvement in schools
  • Youth as resources
  • Volunteerism
  • Community use of schools
Children thrive in neighbourhoods that are safe and connected. Neighbourhoods that can meet all of our needs are valued.

  • Neighbourhood safety
  • Neighbourhood cohesion
  • Walkability
  • Caring for the community
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Child care capacity
  • Quality child care
  • Parenting capacity
  • Parental monitoring
  • Quality time at home with family
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.

  • Serious injury
  • At-risk behaviours
  • Safety from harm
All children need positive connections to their parents/caregivers, peers, school and community.

  • Supportive and caring environments
  • Boundaries and expectations
  • Commitment to learning
  • Positive values
  • Social competencies

Learning is one of the cornerstones for success in life and starts at birth. Community progress for this result will show that children are learning both in their preschool and school years.

  • Preschool learning opportunities
  • Student achievement (EQAO)
  • Healthy body weight
  • School engagement

Good health is a prerequisite for positive outcomes for children and youth. Both physical and emotional health are valued in this result. In addition, given the critical brain development that takes place in the first 12 months of life, infant health is closely monitored.

  • At-risk births
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy body weight
  • Physical activity
  • Mental health

Behind The Numbers

Halton Youth Impact Survey Results

What opportunities exist for all young people in Halton to engage in environmental and civic activities and benefit from the natural environment? Are we creating accessible green spaces and engaging youth in our communities?
A bunch of students walk together with colorful backpacks on their back

Comments on the environment and youth engagement

With COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, youth often mentioned wanting more opportunities to connect with their community, friends and neighbours.¹Our Kids Network (2022). Relationships are the Roots of Positive Development: Belonging and Connectedness for Halton Youth. Retrieved from https://www.ourkidsnetwork.ca/Common/ShortCodes/Relationships-FINAL.pdf Activities to improve the community and environmental action were common suggestions in the open comments section of the survey. Out of 361 open comments, 56 (16%) offered suggestions to improve their neighbourhoods. The suggestions ranged from improving or adding recreation and culture facilities or parks, to offering transportation for youth who want to participate in community events. Concerns about safety in their neighbourhoods or inclusivity were also raised. Youth have much to say and want to engage with their communities. Among those 56 comments, 23 (41%) wanted to see more opportunities to get engaged and volunteer in their communities.

The environment was also a concern for those suggesting improvements to their communities. Out of 56 comments, 28 (50%) wanted more action towards protecting the environment and offering opportunities for youth to be outdoors and enjoy nature. Environmental events, recycling, community gardens, clean-ups, and initiatives to improve air quality were cited. Youth also mentioned a desire for more green areas or improvement of existing green areas to bolster conservation efforts (e.g., adding plants that support endangered species). Two youth were concerned about the increased construction in their neighbourhoods and one youth wanted natural areas to be protected. Moreover, approximately one-third of comments on volunteering or engaging in community activities cited environmental initiatives. This seems to be an area where youth are eager to support their neighbourhoods.

Suggested citation: Our Kids Network (2023). Building for the future: how youth in Halton engage in caring for their communities and the environment. 2021 Halton Youth Impact Survey.


  • Open invitation sampling strategy (non-probabilistic)
    • Sample is not necessarily representative of all children and youth living in Halton.
    • It is not possible to determine a response rate.
    • However, considering the geographic coverage and the size of the final sample, it’s fair to assume that we have a reasonably good cross-section of children and youth living in Halton.
  • A higher degree of diversity within this sample calls for caution when interpreting overall ratios. For more details on the composition of the sample see the sociodemographic table
  • The data are meant to provide a snapshot of youth wellbeing during COVID, and caution should be used when comparing across time.
  • While each indicator is important, using multiple indicators as evidence of strengths and needs provides a more comprehensive representation
  • This is a self-report survey and several types of response bias have been identified related to self-report surveys. Use caution when interpreting the findings
OKN organization graphic