By Connor Clerke, OKN knowledge broker
In May and June 2021, Our Kids Network, in collaboration with UNICEF Canada, the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Medivae Foundation and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, launched the Halton Youth Impact Survey. The survey was piloted in Halton, Waterloo, Ottawa and Digby, Nova Scotia to better understand the wellbeing of youth in Canada with the aim of rolling it out across the country.
The survey provides an important opportunity for us to understand how young people are doing across a range of indicators based on OKN’s Halton 7. The survey was informed by a series of youth engagements during the design and implementation phase to ensure youth voices are centered in how the community responds to the needs of young people in Halton.
…our peer-to-peer engagement strategy was developed in partnership with the Halton Youth Initiative through youth labs, community meetings and the creation of our Halton Youth Impact Ambassador team…
Liz Wells, Our Kids Network research and knowledge broker.
Youth Ambassadors hosted events for peers, made videos and spoke with local reporters about the importance of hearing directly from youth during these difficult times.
The results are in
Thanks to Halton youth, parents, community partners and everyone who shared the survey with young people, more than 2500 youth between 9 and 18 years of age shared their voice through the Halton Youth Impact Survey.
The results provide new, in-depth, Halton-wide data about how our young people are doing on a range of indicators including physical and mental health, food security, bullying and discrimination, connection to community, and much more. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey also provides much-needed information about how young people are coping with changes to their school, home and social lives, and insights on what Halton organizations can do to support youth.
What information do YOU need to support youth?
The comprehensive survey asked more than 30 questions, providing us with responses to questions about anxiety, safety, the environment, activism, school life, friends, bullying, substance use, housing and much more.
What are the key priorities for youth in Halton? Where are they facing challenges and where are the opportunities to support the development of healthy, connected young people?
In addition to questions about individual experiences, we also asked youth to specify their personal characteristics to help us understand how the intersections of race, gender, ability, nationality and other characteristics impact their well-being.
What do youth want us to know about their mental wellbeing? How many youth feel supported by their peers, family and community? What important differences are experienced by Indigenous or newcomer youth in our communities?
How are the youth that YOU serve doing?
Now that we have heard from the youth in Halton, what information does YOUR organization need to better support the youth in your network? And how will YOU use the data to improve programs and services for young people in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville?
From research to action
Now that the results are in, we at OKN are excited to share the new, comprehensive data with community partners across Halton. In the coming months, we will be organizing youth data parties, launch events and presentations for partners in Halton. The data will also be uploaded to the OKN Data Portal so that you can explore, analyze and utilize the data to support the work of your organization.
If you would like to learn more about using the OKN Data Portal, join our virtual introductory workshop on November 9th.
When the survey was launched, our community partners shared how they planned to use the data. Many partners committed to better understand the needs of children and youth in order to plan and implement effective programs and services.
Social and Community Services at Halton Region are planning to compare the data with existing early years data to understand the relationship between early years and older youth in order to help local governments plan programs and services. The Oakville Public Library hopes to understand what volunteer opportunities are important to youth and how to ensure they are accessible to all. For the Halton Multicultural Centre, the survey will provide important information about how to create programs that provide a warm introduction to newcomer youth. And the Milton Community Resource Centre will use the data to understand the specific needs of girls in our community to help inform their She Can! Girls Empowerment Program.
What will YOU do with the data?