The Investment in Youth Engagement initiative was established by Toronto Public Health (TPH) to support youth engagement work in Toronto communities and provide funding to support community health promotion projects.
It is intended to motivate and create opportunities for youth to develop their leadership skills and engage in and act on health issues within Toronto. This initiative is youth-driven, which means that youth are involved in all aspects of project planning and implementation.
CASSA facilitated in creation of an enthusiastic youth group consisting of 12 members. In addition to developing leadership skills for Youth group members, the project goals are to eliminate environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in multi-unit dwellings and to prevent the accumulation of Butt litter. The project span is 18 months Jan 2018 – June 2019 and it is focused in the Thorncliffe Park neighborhood. The project involves many activities; training, designing behavior change messages along with distribution of printed materials, information booths, and meeting with stakeholders.
The first IYE workshop discussed the subject of Mental Health & Tobacco Use and how mental health issues, triggered by violence can lead youths to use tobacco as an unhealthy coping mechanism, and how we can provide healthy alternatives to help cope instead. The facilitator for the workshop was Ms. Krystal Jagoo – a mental health therapist and accessibility advisor at the University of Toronto.
The second IYE workshop talked about The Tobacco Industry’s Impact on the Environment and how the tobacco industry’s production of cigarettes and tobacco-based products have detrimental effects on the environment. The objective was to spread the knowledge gained from the workshop as another way to motivate/convince youths to stay away from tobacco and cigarettes. The environmental argument is especially relevant today given the UN’s 12-year deadline to ‘fix’ climate change). The facilitator for this workshop was Ms. Sheila White. She is the founder of the Litter Prevention Program and the publisher of a monthly newsletter called Litterland.