75 Young Leaders Want To Thank You
Youth take charge: celebrating a decade of youth leadership in Ontario communities
Community Living Ontario and over 75 young leaders want to thank you for your contributions to subsidizing their registration for the Re:Action4Inclusion 10th anniversary youth leadership summit.
In March 2019, Community Living Ontario hosted its 10th anniversary youth leadership summit in King City, Ontario. Over 170 participants travelled in from across the province to celebrate the achievements of young leaders who have been working to build the Re:Action4Inclusion movement. Throughout the weekend, Re:Action4Inclusion’s Youth Advisors anchored a program that inspired their peers with and without a disability to see themselves as community builders. Guest speakers, alumni of the movement and adult allies supported the conversation and guided youth delegates to build a consciousness for the experiences of others and to recognize the need to break down the barriers that are limiting the lives of people who have an intellectual disability.
Evangeline, a youth delegate from Huntsville, said that a youth advisor from a previous year had inspired her to attend. She said,
“I was told I wouldn’t understand until I went and I saw how this summit has impacted my friends who had already attended and I wanted to find out for myself.”
Youth like Evangeline were recruited to attend the summit this year by their peers or by adult allies. Forty community allies from 59 schools and local community living associations were also in attendance.
Kassy from Haldimand and Norfolk has two siblings who have a disability and was recruited because she was actively involved in her school’s inclusion and diversity clubs. She remarked,
“Hearing from speakers who have challenged perceptions of disability in their lives helped me broaden my idea of what is possible for my brother and sister.”
Kassy also believes it is important for siblings to have the chance to meet other siblings who understand their experience and so they can support one another.
Kendra, from Windsor said,
“Michael Jacques inspired me because his experiences remind me of my own. I want the chance to hear stories from other young people. It is important to have the chance to be away from home and meet new people. This was my first time being away from home.”
Kendra was able to meet other young people from her own community who also attended and was able to network with people from all over Ontario.
Bryce was one of those young people who travelled with Kendra and he also had a similar experience. He said,
“I am not good with people because I am shy but I love to smile and laugh. At the summit, I got outside my comfort zone and I felt very proud of myself. I also realized that disability is just a part of our communities and I saw how it is possible to all be a part of the community. Things that I was told when I was younger don’t matter to me anymore, I can be my own person.”
Your generosity helps to keep the movement alive for young people. The provincial summit is a rare opportunity for young people to hear about the experiences of youth who have a disability. A topic of discussion that is usually missing from other youth leadership initiatives says Allison from Belle River.
“This event is different from other youth leadership events I’ve been to because it sort of has a different meaning and focus to it. R4I focused on inclusion. Inclusion has such an important role in being a leader and I feel like a lot of people don’t include that when they try to make a change.”
Donations made to Community Living Ontario subsidized the registration cost of 75 youth delegates across Ontario. These donations made it possible for youth, with the support of their allies, to host a provincial conversation that has strengthened the capacity for young people to be models of inclusion wherever they learn, live and work.
Thanks to YOU, the Re:Action4Inclusion movement has continued to build great momentum and passion for change.