New program at York University will help organizations provide better services to youth

TORONTO, December 2, 2014 –York University is launching a new program that will provide diverse research and evaluation supports to the grassroots youth-serving sector to improve outcomes and promote the well-being of Ontario youth. The Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange will provide the youth sector with resources and opportunities to share and use research on positive youth development in their work with young people.

The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, announced today that the province will provide $3.75 million over two and half years in funding for the initiative, which was established as part of Ontario’s Youth Action Plan to mobilize research on positive youth development, to increase understanding of youth development and invest in continuous quality improvement in Ontario's youth programming.

“Today’s launch of the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange is an example of how our government and its partners are working to help grassroots organizations deliver services more effectively to give Ontario’s youth better opportunities,” said Minister MacCharles. “Along with other actions we are taking, such as the Youth Collective Impact,(which helps local organizations in communities across the province work together, the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange is part of our government’s Youth Action Plan, outlined in our strategy Stepping Up: A Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth Succeed.”

The Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange will work with the youth sector to achieve the outcomes for youth well-being outlined in the ministry’s Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth across seven themes: health and wellness; strong, supportive friends and families; education, training and apprenticeships; employment and entrepreneurship; diversity, social inclusion and safety; and civic engagement and youth leadership.

“York University is pleased to be leading the Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange program, turning research into action to support the learning, health and employment outcomes of Ontario’s youth. The program builds on Professor Uzo Anucha’s extensive experience working with youth serving agencies and is supported by the University’s award-winning Knowledge Mobilization Unit.” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation.

“We are looking forward to making research and evaluation more readily accessible, and useable to groups working with youth across Ontario especially groups that work with vulnerable youth,” says the Academic Director, Uzo Anucha, a professor in the School of Social Work, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York.

The Youth Research and Evaluation Exchange is partnering with grassroots organizations and academic institutions in five hubs across Ontario located in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, London and Sudbury.

Carleton University, Western University (King’s College), Lakehead University and Laurentian University are collaborators on the project, along with several community organizations.

The government also announced today that it will support Youth CI, a new program by the Laidlaw Foundation and the Innoweave initiative of the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation to encourage collective impact approaches in the youth sector.

Stepping Up: A Strategic Framework to Help Ontario’s Youth is available at these links in English and French.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 25 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 280 leading universities worldwide. York U’s community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 275,000 alumni.

Media Contacts:
Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 22094, suhasini@yorku.ca
Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Communications Branch, Government of Ontario, 416 325 5156, Anne.Machowski@ontario.ca