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 Engagement

Youth engagement: creating opportunities for growth and development.

Youth engagement means actively involving young people in decision-making and providing opportunities for them to participate and make a positive impact in their communities. It includes various activities that help youth develop skills, advocate for their needs, and bring about positive changes.

Youth engagement can take different forms, such as youth-led initiatives, partnerships between youth and adults, and involving youth in decision-making processes. Our Kids Network believes that young people have valuable perspectives and ideas that can contribute to building better communities.

Using the Developmental Relationships Framework, our organization builds better relationships with youth to empower them to play an active role in shaping their communities. For instance, young people participate in our Community Planning Table or help us in the Halton Youth Impact Survey to share their knowledge and insights.

Six teen girls standing around a table.

Halton Youth Initiative

The Halton Youth Initiative aimed to give young volunteers aged 12-17 a voice and empower them to make a positive impact in North Oakville, Acton, Aldershot, and Milton communities. The project was led by youth who identified local issues and worked on solutions. The initiative used an evidence-based approach with a focus on building relationships in all interactions and activities.

Learn More …

Group photo of thirteen youths and one adult.

Building Better Relationships

We believe that strong relationships are at the core of our success. Whether we’re working with children, families, communities, or our colleagues, we recognize that building, nurturing, and sustaining these relationships requires specific knowledge and skills. Through research, we aim to identify and develop these skills to ensure that we can continue to foster powerful relationships.

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OKN organization graphic