On March 21st, 2018, Helping Hands attended the MYAC Opportunities Fair. We had a lot of fun and the event was a great success. One of the most insightful moments occurred when we split into separate ‘pods’ or groups. We got the chance to speak with student leaders about what they like and dislike about the City of Mississauga. Through these conversations, we were able to gain plenty of insight on what issues currently affect the Youth the most. Today, we would like to outline 4 problems which the students discussed and had some suggestions about, in hopes of inspiring action in the City.
1. Mental health awareness
In the last couple of years, we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to treating mental health issues. However, these issues are still very prevalent. In fact, 1 in 5 children and youth in Ontario will experience some form of mental health problems. Furthermore, 5 out of 6 of these youth will not get the help they need to treat these problems. These statistics are very alarming. Although there are some resources for youth to get help, it is simply not enough. The City of Mississauga should put more effort to provide mental health resources for all, while lowering stigma and discrimination around mental health issues.
2. More entertainment areas for recreation
Mississauga is one of the biggest cities in Ontario, so you would assume that the youth would have a long list of activities to do and places to go. But according to the youth group we spoke to, the reality is different! There are not many places to hang out in Mississauga other than Square One Shopping Centre according to most youth. With this in mind, maybe we need more places, like the mall, where youth can come together to just talk and have fun. With more places to go, the youth would be able to be more active and create more social networks amongst each other. But perhaps our next point may address this issue.
3. Resources to learn about events, clubs and news
Multiple youth we spoke with explained to us that they’re aware of the fact that there are things to do in the City, but they just don’t about them. Mississauga.com appears to be one of the best resource when it comes to finding out what’s happening in the City, but most of the events do not seem to appeal to youth. Therefore, it is suggested that there should be more resources not only for things to do, but for clubs and other activities to join in on. Increasing knowledge and resources around what is available for youth to do could increase community involvement and engagement, while keeping our youth active and having more fun. And at Helping Hands, this is something we are working on.
4. Keep green spaces protected
This point ties in well with the last two points that were mentioned. Preserving green spaces is not only good for the environment, but they can also act as a place for youth to come together. More places to go and have fun = more engagement, more activity.
From these ideas, we can see that the youth mostly deals with issues involving a lack of resources. Kids are aware of what is out there for them, but they do not have the capacity to get what they want. Increasing resources for children and youth to get more involved, whether it be through clubs or recreation, would result in a more productive network of youth, who will aspire to make change in the future, or even now.
Before we go, we would just like to announce that Helping Hands is starting their Youth Advisory Council! If you’re a youth aged 15-24 and are looking to gain very valuable experience while making change in your community, you should definitely check it out. The link to see more details and apply can be found here:
And you can check out some tweets below from the event. We hope to see you there for the next one!
— Girls Empowerment Movement (@PeelGems) March 22, 2018
At the @MYACMISSISSAUGA summit tonight! Great insight on where highschool students can find resources for volunteer opportunities and how to get involved! #mississauga #mississaugayouth pic.twitter.com/pzhVpvyPFk
— Mississauga Arts Council (@MissArtsCouncil) March 21, 2018
I LOVE highschoolers. They are so keen, ambitious, and determined! It’s so so beautiful hearing how involved these youth are at this MYAC Connect @MYACMISSISSAUGA
— Jananee Savuntharanathan (@jananexo) March 21, 2018