Online knowledge hub launches to support youth facing barriers

YouthREX at York U’s School of Social Work has created an online hub for sharing information and ideas to help break barriers unique to marginalized youth.

youthrexThe eXchange for Youth Work launched March 31 and will facilitate youth workers, youth and all who have a vested interest in youth well-being. Users can search for and share information – including academic research and resources rooted in both professional practice and personal experiences – in this online space. The initiative is a combined effort to break the many barriers faced by Aboriginal, newcomer, racialized, disabled and LGBTTQ youth and those with special needs.

Uzo Anucha
Uzo Anucha

“The eXchange is an extension of YouthREX’s efforts and commitment to enhance youth well-being and to support grassroots youth workers,” said Professor Uzo Anucha, provincial academic director of YouthREX. “It will help to keep them abreast of the latest in research, promising practices and news related to their work.”

The eXchange includes a searchable content library of more than 500 curated and YouthREX-created resources in several categories, offering study reports, summaries of academic literature and toolkits, to strengthen youth work.

For example, the youth program evaluation toolkit includes tools and templates with step-by-step actions structured around YouthREX’s own evaluation framework.

YouthREX is funded through the Province of Ontario’s Ontario Youth Action Plan, which is designed to the address the root causes of youth violence while providing community support where it is needed most.

“We’re very proud of the innovative work the Youth Research & Evaluation eXchange is accomplishing for Ontario’s young people and the youth sector,” said Tracy MacCharles, minister of Children and Youth Services. “By supporting projects like YouthREX, we’re sharing tried-and-tested ideas to provide the right opportunities to help youth make positive choices and reach their full potential.”

To mark the website launch, YouthREX is releasing “Beyond Measure: Evaluation and Action in Ontario’s Youth Sector,” a research report that includes a survey of more 200 participants and key informant interviews with 60 youth workers from across Ontario. According to Anucha, this research captures the voices and perspectives of youth organizations on evaluation, and the challenges they face with measuring and sharing their impact on youth well-being.

“With the eXchange in place, research information on youth development is easily accessible to youth organizations and they can also share evidence-based practices in their work with young people who are in challenging situations,” said Lekan Olawoye of Studio Y – MaRS Discovery District, who is also the chair of YouthREX’S Provincial Advisory Committee.