Oct 09

On this episode of Your Right To Speak Salvatore talks with Rima Dib who is the director of curriculum and education at Harmony At Work.  The topic of the conversation is shaming and moving to a place of education with regard to anti-oppression. Rima explains the importance of not shaming people and the benefit of it. She offers an example of what shaming looks like and what a place of education looks like. Let’s Raise Awareness Together!  

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Sep 25


In this conversation Dennis Long speaks about adolescent substance use, if substance use is of concern (and why), the impacts of changing cannabis laws, opiate overdoses, harm reduction, and how to support parents

Dennis Long is the Former President of the Ontario Federation of Community Addictions and Mental Health Programs, the past Executive Director, of Breakaway Substance Abuse Treatment Centre, and a current teacher, educator, and activist related to substance use.

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Aug 14

This episode is a recording made at the 22nd South African National Association of Child and Youth Care & 4th CYC-Net world conference, which took place in Durban South Africa of June 2019. The presenters were: Professor Paul Cooke, Dr Lou Harvey, Martin Keat and three Child and Youth Care Practitioners from Leth’ithemba Isibindi Safe Park, Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni.


The following is the conference abstract”

“Since 2016, the University of Leeds in the UK has been working with the Bishop Simeon Trust in Ekurhuleni, using arts-based projects to develop and sustain ‘Youth Committees’ in a number of Isibindi Safe Parks across the region. These projects have helped to build the confidence of the young people they support, on the one hand, and also helped the Safe Parks access state funding, on the other (for which having a functioning ‘Youth Committee’ is obligatory). Specifically, these Youth Committees have used a range of art forms – including theatre, music, dance, ‘grass-roots comics’ and participatory filmmaking – to organise ‘advocacy campaigns’ that have raised awareness of a range of issues that are important to the young people who use the safe parks, but that they feel tend to be ignored or misrepresented in their communities.


In so doing, this work has highlighted to a group of young people who are frequently either ignored by, or seen as a problem for, their communities the potential of their voice and its power to help them effect change in their lives for themselves. In 2019, the various Safe Parks we work with will be focusing on the question ‘What does my Safe Park mean to me?’ and will be developing a joint campaign to raise awareness of the role played by Isibindi Safe Parks in their communities.


The aim of our presentation is twofold. First, it will showcase the work of the young people involved in the Youth Committees we have supported, providing them with a national platform for their activities and a significant opportunity to highlight the potential of their voice. Second it will present a set of training materials we are developing for other Isibindi Safe Parks interested in using arts-based methods to create and sustain their youth committees.”

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Jul 31

The following is the presentation write up from the July I had the pleasure of attending the 22nd South African National Association of Child and Youth Care & 4th CYC-Net world conference in Durban South Africa:

How Can I Be Homeless When I Just Left One? An Observation from Working on the Streets of Pietermaritzburg with Young People by Thamsanqa Gcwabaza & Rob Ng-Yu-Tin, from Life Changer

“What do we mean by the word home? Is it a house? An address? A bed to sleep in? A family? Perhaps we need to explore what we mean by homeless and perhaps consider it as ‘houseless’. We are living in the aftermath of the HIV Pandemic. Our reality now is an emerging group of older vulnerable youth and young adults who are making a living off the streets. Many of these predominantly young men have lived in multiple homes, had an array of significant care givers, and been in informal kinship care or formal foster care. Some have been adopted and even lived in residential care. But now? They find them themselves without a family, with no idea of who to turn to, ask for advice and seek refuge. They are seen as beggars, filthy down-and-outs who have made bad choices. We have even heard them referred to as vermin. These young adults were possibly once celebrated as newborns. A celebration to a family. They grew up being offered some love, and family. Where do these young people go once faced with huge hardship? Huge emotional psychological and behavioural problems. All desperate for love, affirmation and a family. To add to that child and youth care centres struggle to want to accept these children in care, and social workers don’t know what to do.

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Jun 26

Johana, Khyna, Edward, and Cody from the Surrey You Advisory Committee (YAC) talk about what brought them to the YAC, what it has accomplished over two years, thoughts & suggestions for new practitioners/students, and some of the challenges facing Youth Advisory Committees. 

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Jun 12

On this episode of your right to speak we will be talking with Rosa, a returning youth guest. We will be talking to Rosa about living with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Rosa starts the conversation with the challenges of living with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and how it impacts her day-to-day activities. The conversation then turns to Rosa explaining that the only things that help her with the pain is medical marijuana, and she discusses what the impact of having invisible pain has had on her life. Near the end of the conversation Rosa expresses how sometimes it is a challenge to work with social workers and Child and Youth Care Practitioners because they don’t always believe that she is in pain.

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May 29

The mission of the Child and Youth Care Alliance for Racial Equity (CARE) is “to challenge systemic and institutional oppression within child and youth care education, policy and service provision that impact the lives of young people in the Province of Ontario”. In this conversation with two members of CARE we speak about how racial, and other forms of inequity, manifest in CYC; ways the field and individuals can address these oppressions; broadening conceptions of care beyond the ways it has been historically been taken up in CYC; and the roll of research for CARE.

Juanita Stephen is a Co-Founder of CARE, she has worked with young people in numerous capacities over the years, and also teaches CYC. After completing her diploma, undergrad and Master’s in Child and Youth Care, Juanita is currently doing her Ph.D. in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies at York university in Toronto.

Peter Amponsah is a professor at Sheridan College in the Child and Youth Care program. He has done direct practice with young people, worked in management, and helped developed policy for child welfare agencies. Much of Peter’s work, like Juanita’s, focuses on anti-oppressive & anti-racist theory and practice. Peter is currently working on his Ph.D. in Social Work at York University.

To find out more about CARE email TheCareAlliance@gmail.com; visit at https://www.facebook.com/EquityInCYC; and follow on Twitter @EquityinCYC

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Apr 24
In this interview Kaz MacKenzie speaks about her research looking at whiteness, some of the impact of white supremacy on Indigenous children and youth, why whiteness is an important topic for CYC practitioners to think and talk about, and mentions many authors, books, and other resources to learn more about some of these topics. Out of her research in collaborative dialogues with experienced, critical, politicized CYC practitioners, four themes emerged that attend to systemic issues and the difficulty of challenging dominant white norms and conventions in the field of CYC: 1) working in colonial violence and racism; 2) white settler fragility; 3) power and privilege, and; 4) troubling ally-ship. These key themes explore the complex, embodied individual and collective ethical responsibilities of white settler CYC practitioners. 
Kaz MacKenzie is a white, cis woman (she/her) living on the unceeded territory Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations.  Her ancestors are of Irish, Scottish and English lineage. She is currently an MA student in CYC at the University of Victoria, completing her thesis, “Integrating Fluid, Responsive and Embodied Ethics: Un-settling the Praxis of White Settler CYC Practitioners”. For the last 25 years she has worked, and learnt, as a recreation facilitator, alternative education co-ordinator, and youth outreach worker in community-based agencies, on and off reserve, in rural and urban settings; this work has been beside the resilience, fortitude, and beauty of youth people facing the violent realities of settler colonialism and racism. Recently, she has started a co-op work term as a researcher with the Office for the Representative for Children and Youth. Kaz strives, in her life, work and research, to be committed to her own unsettling, to attend to the responsibilities of settler/occupier repair and to forge pathways to anti-racist, anti-colonial, and intersectional praxis in CYC.

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Sep 26

Dr. Petra Roberts talks about her oral history research with 24 adults who, as children, grew up in residential institutions in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). Her study sought to learn the positives and negatives of residential care in order to contribute to developing a model of care suited for high need, low resource countries. Dr. Roberts discusses residential care in T&T, some of the unique aspects of care in that nation, the positive and challenging experiences of those who spent time in care, and closes with making some recommendations regarding institutional care for middle- and low-income countries.

Dr. Roberts is currently an assistant professor in the department of Social Work at Algoma University in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario.

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Sep 12

This presentation by Sabrin Hassan is the final of our uploads from Education Day, prior to the 20th Canadian National CYC conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia this past May. Sabrin discusses her experiences as a Black student going through post-secondary CYC education. Sabrin is a recent graduate of Ryerson Universities Bachelor in Child and Youth Care program.

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Aug 01

This week is the fifth in our uploads from the 20th Canadian National Child and Youth Care conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia this past May. In this episode, Matty Hillman talks about transitions he has gone through as a CYC Student. A Muralist. Community Citizen. CYC Practitioner. And now as an Educator.

Matty Hillman is a Child and Youth Care instructor in the Human Services program at Selkirk College in British Columbia. the traditional territory of the Sinixt people. He has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria. His research interests include, sexual violence prevention and response on post-secondary campuses, healthy masculinities and critical youth mentorship. As a muralist, he is especially interested in the intersection of youth work and public art - exploring the opportunity these complimentary practices create for empowerment, community building and social justice advancements.

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Jul 18

The focus of this presentation is the complexity of delivering CYC Education in rural and remote Canada. Kelly Shaw is a faculty member in the Child and Youth Care [CYC] diploma at the Nova Scotia Community College [NSCC] and Director of Care for Atlantic Youth. Jenny Oliver and Ocean Wyatt are both CYC students from Nain, Labrador. 

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May 09
On this episode of Your Right To Speak. We talk with Carolyn Acker who is the found of Pathways to Education and is the current interim E.D at For Youth Initiative. Carolyn explains the servicers tat For Youth Initiative (FYI) offers youth and the importance of supporting marginalized youth living in low-income neighborhoods relating to educational attainment. She also explains that For Youth Initiative works with a board age group of youth (15-29) and because they are able to work with youth throughout their time as youth and assist them into adulthood. Carolyn makes it a point to explain that it is important for people working with youth to support youth in accomplishing their dreams and helping marginalized youth who do not believe they are good enough or smart to see beyond that. For Youth Initiative website:http://www.foryouth.ca/    
Let's raise awareness together!

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Mar 14

On this episode of Your Right to Speak, I talk with Michel McKenzie. Who is a motivational speaker and author of the book The CORE 7: Building and Mastering Your Best You. I have been working closely with Michel on a program he has developed called POWER. The POWER program is meant to motivate marginalized youth and teach them goal-setting skills.  Michel talks about why it is important for youth living in low income neighbourhoods and how to look beyond the challenges that are in front of them. Michel explains some of the gaps in low income neighbourhoods and what he has experienced living within one himself. Please see below for the link to Michel’s book. Let’s raise awareness together!

Link: https://www.amazon.ca/CORE7-Building-Mastering-Your-Best/dp/0994927320 

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Feb 07
On this episode of Your Right to Speak we talk with Freddy Brobbey who has his own music company JustOverMusic. Freddy is the Creative Director/Producer at JustOverMusic and works within the York South Weston community in Toronto. We talk about his work and how power can have positive impacts on young people. The majority of Freddy’s works is decreasing the stigma of entering the music world. The underlying theme of Freddy’s work is mentorship and guiding young people on a positive path. The conversation turns on the stigmas that the youth who Freddy works with face and the impacts of systemic oppression.  As well as some of the barriers to the grant system and the not for profit sector. 
JustOverMusic website: https://justovermusic.com/crew/
Let's raise awareness together!

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