Posted in R.I.S.E.

R.I.S.E. and Woodroffe HS SHSM ICE program

Last week we had the opportunity to work with another amazing group of youth during our Social Change Maker ICE training. This time we were at Woodroffe HS in Ottawa, ON. We had amazing community partners join us and the youth all took action to help them out. We had one student work with Parkdale Food Centre to share suggestions on how to get more youth to their program. He also wrote a wonderful blog post about them. Check it out below.

Written By Alden Thompson

This morning, I was given the opportunity to talk with Karin Freeman, an Ottawa resident who volunteers with the Parkdale Food Centre—specifically, a branch of the PFC known as Growing Futures. Upon being asked her motivations for joining this cause, Karin described how her extensive experience working on farms, and the creation of Growing Futures, acted as a sort of of “Eureka moment” which convinced her to get involved. 

Over the last several years, the Parkdale Food Centre—located on 30 Rosemount Avenue—has evolved into one of Ottawa’s most unique organizations; and redesigned what it means to be a food bank. Comprised largely of volunteers, the goal of the PFC as a whole is to support those affected by food insecurity through organizing a wide variety of programs (cooking classes and entrepreneurship opportunities are both examples), emphasizing positive neighbourly relations, and attempting to discover the root causes of what is truly a multi-faceted issue. Growing Futures offers a fascinating, and essential perspective, in this complex discussion of food security. The objective of the organization is to work with youth on all aspects of the issue:  supporting youth in their discovery of systemic causes, connecting young people with community members, and helping them pursue collective action are defined as the major pillars in achieving this.

 Food security is, by all accounts, a major problem within society and it is because of this fact that the Parkdale Food Centre’s cause is so essential. Unfortunately, many people who are struggling are either unaware of the PFC’s existence or may feel a sense of stigma in going to a food bank; therefore preventing those individuals from getting the support that is essential for their wellbeing. The Parkdale Food Centre does certainly have the capacity to help, both by giving a wide range of fresh food ro people in need and through its many fascinating programs. Additionally, Karin repeatedly cited a struggle to get youth involved with Parkdale’s mission—the unique input of youth is a valuable step in the PFC’s mission— though difficulties in pursuing this have arisen due to factors like young people not being as directly affected by food insecurity.  

To support the Parkdale Food Centre’s cause, all members of the community are encouraged to attend their outdoor event; expected to be hosted at Hintonburg Park which is only a short walk away from the main building. This event aims to create a sense of camaraderie between those attending through organizing collaborative events, providing free food (though donations are greatly appreciated), and offering volunteer hours for anyone who helps out with the activities. By the end of the event, participants will hopefully leave with a better understanding of the PFC’s goals, know where to find the community fridge, and discover their own ways to aid those affected by the issue. 

Further information about the mission of these two organizations can be found at their Instagram: @parkdalefood and @_growingfutures

Posted in Uncategorized

R.I.S.E. and South Carleton HS Social Change Maker ICE program.

This week Rebecca and Emma from R.I.S.E. delivered our first ever SHSM (Specialist High Skills Major) Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship training for Ms Kelly’s Health and Wellness SHSM. Each youth was partnered with a community organization that fit their passions. They met with them virtually, learned about them and the issues that they are solving, were given ideas on what they could do to help their organization. Below is Rebecca’s actionable piece. She got to learn about Osgoode Youth Association and write about what she learned. Read below!!

Have you Heard of OYA? By Rebecca Cocchetto

I had the opportunity today to learn about the Osgoode Youth Association, and what they do to help rural teenagers and kids. They provide many different services for their community and help to give youth a place to feel comfortable and safe.

It is often difficult for rural youth to find fun things to do, as many businesses and services are too far away to easily access. The Osgoode Youth Association offers a place for youth to do organized activities, and even just a hangout spot for teenagers throughout the week. There are before and after school programs for kids in grades 2-6, with structured and unstructured time to do a variety of activities. Before school, OYA will help them get ready for the day, with brushing their teeth and getting dressed. Their school bus will actually pick them up at the OYA centre, making the process easy and stress-free for parents. After school is for homework and play, with delicious snacks and some personal health education (how to handle bullying, learning yoga, and more). They also offer camps during the summer, winter break, PA days, and March break, essentially whenever school is not in session. 

Teens are given different, but equally as entertaining options at OYA. Currently there are teen drop-in nights on Thursday and Fridays, not to mention the many other activities that they frequently run. There are video game competitions, cooking and baking in OYA’s kitchen, classes to expand personal skills, and much more. Teenagers can have a safe space to do their homework and hangout with their friends, and enjoy the different activities that OYA offers. 

OYA also has the opportunity for youth-led counselling. It is a private area, youth can enter at the side of the building so that they do not have to walk past programs in the front. Youth can book their own appointments and it is completely free of charge. It is easily accessible to kids aged 12-17, providing support and help that might not otherwise be available. 

OYA is an excellent resource for rural youth, and provides a safe space for youth of many ages. Their events and regular care of youth provide a caring community for those who might need it. They can be found on Instagram and Facebook with the handle @oyacentre.