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Youth Voices

Mobilize Barrie

Youth Focus Group Discussion Notes

April 15, 2010

Dunlop Street, YMCA

General Comments from the youth:

There should be something for youth

Some single parents don’t have a lot of time

Something for the 15 – 16 age group – an outlet to express in a positive way – away from drugs

There is not enough for teens to do, a community centre is needed for youth downtown – always packed with young people.  In some ways it is a bad location because of all the bars downtown, but we need to add a positive alternative to bars

Make downtown have positive options – like in Toronto

More structures and programmes are needed – like youth coop homes or youth housing

Need things targeted to youth, like volunteer programmes because they are too hard to get into,  pottery classes, singing group, drumming group, cooking – cultural dishes, martial arts, talent shows – with opportunities for youth to work backstage and to plan and promote the shows, creative writing course

There is a barrier for me as a mom because everything costs so much

These things will build character and a sense of commitment

The centre should have a coffee house and host open-mic, spoken word, singing or visual arts presentations

The coffee shop would be an enterprise in the venue and would help youth with job skills, business skills, how to do finances

Youth need opportunity to learn outside of school

Cooking/culinary is an art form

Apprenticeship program needed

Even cleaning up the centre would be a lifeskill

It is important for holidays to be recognized because it is a connecting force, e.g. Easter – but  not just Christian-based holidays

There should be ways to engage youth is civic activity – like garbage clean-up days, festivals

Youth would need a central place where they could get access to social and community supports and programmes, not just jobs, but health, mental health, jobs, education, volunteer opportunities

One stop

There should be an arts programme for people with mental health issues

Youth want to work with adults as mentors – youth would lead the programmes and run the centre

Are you also planning to do weekend programmes?

It is a good idea to have male and female focused programmes as well as co-ed

The centre could help youth get their volunteer hours by arranging relationships with service providers and doing one screening instead of youth having to go through loads of paperwork to get the chance to volunteer

Suggestions re: Outreach:

Talk to youth directly – peer to peer and adult to youth

Have a big grand-opening – lot’s of media attention – involve the A Channel, Rogers, The Examiner and Advance

Youth need money – include the possibility of making money

Media will only come if there is some money or financial impact, they are not interested in just a good youth story

Use facebook to communicate

Hand out fliers

Notes taken by:  G. Skerritt, Mobilize Barrie Conference Administrator 

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