The Youth Research & Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX) is hosting its first Provincial Knowledge to Action (KtA) Exchange, titled “The Youth. The Work. The System.”
Youth sector stakeholders, such as front-line youth workers, youth organization management staff, policymakers and funders and youth leaders, will descend upon York University for the three-day event, running Oct. 27 to 29. YouthREX, a part of Ontario’s Youth Action Plan, is an organization focused on grassroots and youth-led groups that work to enhance the lives of young people.
“Young people embody our hopes and our shared future, and I am proud to support this groundbreaking initiative. Active, meaningful engagement with our youth will help ensure that the future is as bright as its potential,” says Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
“We are excited to provide this exchange as a sharing and learning space for dialogue about knowledge that can inform and strengthen youth well-being in Ontario,” says LA&PS School of Social Work Professor Uzo Anucha, who serves as YouthREX’s provincial academic director.
The provincial office is housed at York University and its five regional hubs are at Carleton University, King’s College at Western University, Lakehead University, Laurentian University and the York Centre for Education & Community at York University.
The first day of the event – Thursday’s pre-exchange workshop – will offer focused, hands-on learning on one of three topics: Indigenizing Youth Work, Critical Narrative Practices in Youth Work and Managing Evaluation Data.
In addition to workshops and networking opportunities, highlights of Friday’s exchange include keynote speakers Daniele Zanotti, president and CEO of the United Way, and Sean Lessard, associate professor of teacher education and Aboriginal studies at the University of Alberta. Four panellists – Stephen Bediako, executive chair of the Social Innovation Project; student activist Mélanie-Rose Frappier; McGill University education Professor Naomi Nichols; and journalist Jim Rankin – will also share responses and strategies for talking back to the system on critical youth-system interactions.
Saturday’s post-exchange design day is geared towards stakeholders from across the youth sector. They are invited to collaboratively tackle four challenges that youth and youth workers experience and co-design potential solutions.
“The three dimensions of our theme, ‘The Youth. The Work. The System,’ are neither static nor siloed from each other. Rather, they are continuously growing and developing, interdependent in some ways, occasionally in synergy, and sometimes in tension with each other,” says Anucha.