On September 14, OCYI hosted our annual meeting as a virtual Town Hall. After the different rhythms of summer, September is the month that many of OCYI’s partner organizations mark as the beginning of a new year. As with many celebrations of a fresh calendar, the Town Hall began by looking back at where we have been. Steering Committee co-chairs Kelly Raymond and Johanne Levesque shared some of the prior year’s proud moments, using theas a guide.
One of the Gratitude Report highlights was OCYI’s participation in the Child & Youth Well-being Survey. The OCYI team was very pleased to debut the Data Briefs from the survey as part of the Town Hall. The Data Briefs summarize findings from this unique survey of over 600 Ottawa youth ages nine-18 years old. Dr. Sue Bennett from CHEO joined the Town Hall to share some of the survey’s history, noting that the survey’s findings serve as a conversation starter.
To have that conversation about how the results of the Child & Youth Well-being Survey findings should inform OCYI and its partner organizations’ support of the mental health and well-being of Ottawa’s young residents, we were fortunate to welcome Akeelah, Alex, Angelina, Munea, and Niteesha as a youth panel. Moderated by OCYI Steering Committee member and Executive Director of Le CAP, Rachel Gouin, the youth panel brought wisdom, experience, and insight to the 70+ Town Hall attendees. They reflected on where they saw themselves in the results, identified gaps in the survey’s administration and reach, and offered suggestions as to what OCYI and its network could do in response to support Ottawa’s children and youth.
As the survey’s responses did not capture a representative sample, notably missing out on some of the most vulnerable voices, the panelists discussed how to better capture those missing voices. One loud call to action by the panelists was to challenge the full OCYI network to bring child and youth voices to the table as part of how each organization functions. Specifically, to invite these young voices to participate in a way that is informal and more comfortable for them.
OCYI is excited to take what was shared by the youth panel, and in subsequent attendee breakout rooms, and incorporate these meaningful discussions into the annual action plans of each of the five Task Groups. And we look forward to finding ways to incorporate young voices into the process of shaping our future work.
To learn more about the conversations that took place at the Town Hall, check the OCYI website’s(under About Us) to find the summary report (to be published in October 2022).