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

Youth Volunteerism: A Key to Thriving Neighourhoods

Sep 1, 2022 | Youth Engagement

By Lily Viggiano, former Halton Youth Initiative Project Coordinator

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” – anonymous. This is a quote I often reflect on. It sums up the importance of volunteerism and the broader activity of community involvement powerfully. I’ve used this quote in school presentations on community involvement, numerous volunteer orientations, and my individual meetings with youth.

Having spent the last eight years working in the youth sector, focusing predominantly on volunteerism, I strongly believe that one must be able to help others understand the value of volunteerism. Each effort, no matter how small or seemingly mundane, when done for the greater good will lead to positive changes. This is particularly important when it comes to engaging youth in these activities.

Zoom Meeting with Lily Viggiano, former Halton Youth Initiative Project Coordinator

Adults Play a Role in Encouraging Youth to Volunteer

It is a great privilege to work with young volunteers, especially those on their first experience of community involvement. This experience can set the tone for the rest of their lives, something that weighs heavily on me. I often ask myself if they will volunteer again when it’s no longer mandatory for school, or what will their lasting impression of community involvement be like. I urge those who work with youth in these capacities to remember that. I also urge those who have young people in their lives to be cognizant of how they talk about volunteerism, community involvement, and “community” in general.

Growing up, I was fortunate to be surrounded by adults who helped me see the value of volunteerism from a young age. My grandmother was a volunteer manager at Trillium Hospital in Etobicoke, and my mother helped at the schools my sibling and I attended. For me, being involved was just what you do, and was as equally important as working, building a family, enjoying your hobbies, and running errands.

How can the Community Support Youth Volunteerism?

Beyond the idea of having a “volunteer position”, a specific role at a set organization, the ideation around community involvement is even more important.

How are we modelling community involvement to the young people in our lives? How do we talk about voting? Do we show care and interest in our neighbourhood? In what ways are we supporting local businesses and farmers? Our actions and discussion on these activities with youth are critical and leave lasting impacts.

Now more than ever we need to rally together as a community, as caring adults to support children and youth. The proof is in the stats (explore the Halton Youth Impact Survey).Youth need us to see them, support them, and make engaging with the community a meaningful and safe experience for them.

So join me in making an ongoing vote for the type of community we want to live in – one where children and youth in Halton can thrive!

Related links:
About the HYIS Results (ourkidsnetwork.ca)
Halton Youth Impact Survey Neighbourhoods Results (ourkidsnetwork.ca)
Youth Volunteer Life Cycle | Halton Youth

OKN logo

Sign up to receive new blog post notifications automatically.

OKN organization graphic