Frontline Reflections Blog

The Frontline Reflections blog is written by our members for our members and features stories and ideas that reflect the issues that matter to you, your work, and children, youth and families in Ottawa.


Blog submissions are based on the 5 Numbers You Need to Know About Children and Youth in Ottawa. These Numbers highlight the key local issues and priorities that support the healthy development in children and youth so they have the opportunity to grow up great.


Share your story by submitting a short article for our Frontline Reflections on your organization’s work and the impact you are making in the lives of children, youth and families in Ottawa.

Blog Posts

Are your programs trans* inclusive?

Featured member: Jessica MacDonald, Carleton University placement student


As the visibility and awareness of transgender identities increases throughout the years, it is important that policies and social practices follow, ensuring that the spaces meant for learning and developing are welcoming and inclusive to all students, including those of varying gender identities. [i] Five years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Commission acknowledged this transition of increased visibility of trans* individuals and subsequently amended the Ontario Human Rights Code by adding that gender identity and gender expression be protected against discrimination. [ii]


Every child has the right to education in a safe and accepting environment, which, for trans* children/youth, includes opportunities equal to their cisgender peers, the introduction and use of gender neutral and gender inclusive language, access to supportive services and resources for trans* and questioning youth, and showing respect towards an individual’s identity without requiring an affirmation of gender or sexual identity.[iii]

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Breaking the code: how seeking help can save lives

Featured member: Andrea Poncia, Coordinator for the Community Suicide Prevention Network


Health promotion campaigns often highlight the negative impacts of a harmful behaviour, and then provide information about healthier alternatives. It’s an approach that assumes the audience is capable of changing habits and behaviours, and it works best with things that are fairly easy to change, like wearing seat belts.

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How Does Learning Happen?

Featured member: Shannel Watt-Charley of the Ottawa Child & Youth Initiative


When a baby is  born, he/she already knows how to breathe, blink, cry, drink, and sleep. But in order to fully adapt to its new surroundings, that baby will have to learn other  complex, skills. Some of these skills can be directly taught, but others must be experienced.

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A Shoulder to Lean on During the Critical Hours

Featured member: Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa


There are 206,000 children and youth in Ottawa that we can help to grow up great. Every year at the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, we see over 4,500 of them walk through the doors of our eight locations across the city.


Our program is offered in the afternoon and evening hours, times that have been identified as being critical for children and youth to be engaged in programs and recreation. Those hours are when you will see Dan at his best.

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Does Adult Screen Time Impact our Children?

Featured member: Kathy Knight-Robinson, RECE, Program Supervisor - Ontario Early Years Ottawa South, Andrew Fleck Child Care Services


New research is constantly surfacing about the adverse effects of screen time on children’s health. Awareness campaigns around screen time guidelines and recommendations for children are promoted by multiple public health units, child development experts and children’s advocacy groups. The current recommendations are:

  • Children under 2:  Screen time is not recommended.
  • Children between the ages of 2 and 4: Limit screen time to 1 hour a day. Less is better.
  • Older Children and Youth (5 to 17):  Limit recreational screen time to no more than 2 hours/day[i]

 But what about our own screen time?   

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Sesame Street is no Preschool

Entry By: The Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative 


Recent media reports have covered the topic of school readiness as it relates to the famous children’s show, Sesame Street. While an important topic to discuss, this messaging has been highly contradictory at best and very harmful at worst. In an era where early childhood advocates are struggling with the unprecedented challenges raised by children growing up in the digital age, the media appears to be telling parents: Don’t worry; it’s OK to put your child in front of the TV! In fact, it may even seriously benefit them.

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Creativity, Community, Transformation: The Role of Popular Theatre in Motivating Personal and Social Change

Featured Member: Naomi Tessler, Artistic Director/Facilitator, Branch out Theatre


Every child is creative, courageous and capable of being a leader for social change.   By supporting children to harness their imaginations and express their innate sense of creative play, they build the confidence to let go of inhibitions and just be themselves.   Through the art of storytelling, performance and theatre games, I have witnessed and heard young people freely express their personal hopes, collective fears and wishes for a better world. Sometimes all young people need is an invitation to move beyond their comfort zones, to be asked important questions, and to know that their voice matters. 

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$4 Return for every $1 Invested in Early Childhood Programming

Featured member: Ottawa Carleton Headstart Association of Preschools (OCHAP)


Headstart programs are a unique example of how Ottawa invests in their community by providing barrier free early intervention programs for multi-risk children and their families.  Children 15 months to 5 years of age can attend a full or half day program that supports school readiness by placing a particular emphasis on the development of social emotional skills, fostering healthy attachment, and supporting family and child mental health.

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Undercover Superheroes

Featured Member: Michelle Crogie, Project Coordinator, Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative


Many people in our community carry out extraordinary work every day to make Ottawa a great place to work, live, and raise our kids. Police, firefighters and EMTs often come to mind as our local superheroes as they risk their safety daily to keep our communities safe.  Yet, there are many other superheroes whose hard work in our communities is often less recognized, or less apparent; as I finish up my work term with the Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative (OCYI), I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to our undercover superheroes - those who work with children and youth in the non-profit sector. These heroes work tirelessly every day to make sure the 206,000 children and youth in Ottawa have the opportunity to grow up great

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Bullying - 1 in 5 Children and Youth has a Mental Health Problem

Featured member: Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, Bullying Awareness Week 2014


Bullying Awareness and Prevention week is an opportunity for the community to increase their awareness on the issue of bullying and victimization and what they can do to address it. Bullying is a form of abuse at the hands of peers that can take different forms at different ages. It is targeted and repeated. It involves power, aggression, intimidation and shame. (Prevnet). Bullying is a serious complex issue that is largely preventable. This is not a school issue; this is a community issue, a social issue that requires community-wide strategies to support all those impacted by this issue. Research shows that bullying prevention and intervention messages are more effective if they come from many adults, not just educators, and if the message is consistent.

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