Online knowledge hub launched to support youth facing barriers

TORONTO, March 31, 2016 – YouthREX at York U’s School of Social Work has created a hub for sharing information and ideas to break barriers unique to marginalized youth, through an ideal channel to reach them: the internet.

The eXchange for Youth Work was launched today to facilitate youth workers, youth and all who have vested interest in youth wellbeing. They can search for and share information, including academic research and resources rooted in both professional practice and personal experiences in this online space, in a combined effort to break the many barriers faced by Aboriginal, newcomer, racialized, disabled and LGBTTQ youth and those with special needs.

“The eXchange is an extension of YouthREX’s efforts and commitment to enhance youth wellbeing and to support grassroots youth workers,” says Professor Uzo Anucha, Provincial Academic Director of YouthREX. “It will help to keep them abreast of the latest in research, promising practices and news related to their work.”

The eXchange includes a searchable content library of more than 500 curated and YouthREX created resources in several categories, offering study reports, summaries of academic literature and toolkits, to strengthen youth work.

For example, the youth program-evaluation toolkit includes tools and templates with step-by-step actions structured around YouthREX’s own evaluation framework.

YouthREX is funded through the Province of Ontario’s Ontario Youth Action Plan, which is designed to the address the root causes of youth violence while providing community support where it is needed most.

“We’re very proud of the innovative work the Youth Research & Evaluation eXchange is accomplishing for Ontario’s young people and the youth sector,” said Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services. “By supporting projects like YouthREX, we’re sharing tried and tested ideas to provide the right opportunities to help youth make positive choices and reach their full potential.”

To mark the website launch, YouthREX is releasing Beyond Measure: Evaluation and Action in Ontario’s Youth Sector,” a research report that includes a survey of more 200 participants and key informant interviews with 60 youth workers from across Ontario. According to Anucha, this research captures the voices and perspectives of youth organizations on evaluation and the challenges they face with measuring and sharing their impact on youth wellbeing.

“With the eXchange in place, research information on youth development is easily accessible to youth organizations and they can also share evidence-based practices in their work with young people who are in challenging situations,” Lekan Olawoye of Studio Y– MaRS Discovery District, who is also the chair of YouthREX’S Provincial Advisory Committee.

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our 52,000 students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 24 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide.

Media Contact:
Gloria Suhasini, York University, 416-736-2100, ext. 22094, suhasini@yorku.ca