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Halifax Event February 25, 2014

Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre




The CYCC Network is a knowledge mobilization network that was created to improve mental health and well-being for at-risk children and youth in Canada. It promotes the use of research, best and promising practices and local knowledge in mental health programming for children and youth in challenging contexts. Our Wisdom2Action outreach events bring together members of the local community who are passionate about improving the mental health and well-being of young people. The events are designed to help participants connect, share knowledge, and promote promising practices. As the first of these events, Wisdom2Action Toronto acted as a prototype for further gatherings. The Wisdom2Action process is guided by a national committee that includes Network members across Canada. CYCC Network staff then connect with Network members in each community to develop a local planning team that guides the planning process through distinguishing the local need and rationale for an event like Wisdom2Action, identifying participants to be invited and providing advice on logistics. The national committee – along with the Toronto planning team – met in October 2013 and developed a statement of purpose, principles and outcomes. Network Objectives Promote knowledge and understanding about CYCC Network Expand Network community dialogue on core themes with a focus on best practice Deepen local connections amongst partners

Purpose Wisdom to Action: Sharing stories of best practice, and discovering ways to better mobilize what we know so we can support young people more effectively.

Hear stories from local promising practices related to the CYCC Network mandate Understand barriers to putting new programming into action Develop action plans Document best practices, share best practices and learn from others about best practices.


Support goals of CYCC Network (best practices, interdisciplinary, three pillars) Ensure diverse engagement (youth to funders to decision makers) Multi sectoral (including private sector and public sector) Model best practices in technology and youth engagement Co-created locally Youth engagement

  In Halifax, the CYCC Network co-created and co-hosted the event with a local planning and hosting team, including youth and staff from community organizations. The planning team worked with New Leaf Social Innovation to host this gathering. This report outlines the agenda of the day, explains the processes used, and highlights the themes that emerged from the many shared stories and conversations.


Approach: Hosting, Harvesting and Experimenting

Purpose and Agenda

Art of Hosting is a highly effective approach of harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacity of groups of any size. Based on the assumption that humans give their energy and lend their resources to what matters to them, the Art of Hosting blends a suite of powerful conversational processes to invite people to step in and take charge of the challenges facing them. (Learn more at www.

The day began with a creative registration activity. The participants were eventually guided to a circle where the day was framed and we were welcomed into the space with a blessing and song. This was followed by active introductions, and PechaKucha Presentations.

Hosting and Harvesting, Experimenting Participatory methods and tools from the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Meaningful Conversations created a framework for the day with many opportunities for rich conversations.

Harvesting refers to making visible what has occurred at the event – the fruits of the conversations. This is the practice of bringing wisdom into action. Our approach to harvesting this gathering was based on experimenting with the question: How do we activate the wisdom that is present in the room and share it with a wider network? The harvesting tools we employed included video, photos, conversation hosting templates, social media, and graphic recording.

Creative Registration

As participants arrived, they were greeted with an unconventional registration experience. Each person had their photo taken with an instant camera. They put this photo on a “Profile Card” where they answered the questions: What do you hope to learn? What do you hope to share? These “profiles” were posted on the wall so all participants could better connect with one-another. This harvesting tool immediately highlighted the richness and diversity of people in the room, helped everyone arrive in the context of the day in a playful manner and brought focus to their own learning objectives and offerings. The wall of “profiles” acted as a visual networking tool throughout the day.

The purpose of this event was to explore how to bring wisdom to action to better support youth in challenging contexts. More than 70 people gathered for this day of networking, offering stories of practices, asking questions, and sharing learnings.

The group then participated in the “Nurturing the Field” World Café. The remainder of the day was spent in two rounds of Open Space process which created the time and space for people to engage deeply and creatively around issues of concern to them. The first round encouraged discussion of promising practices, while the second round encouraged “digging deeper”. A creative corner was set up for silent art making and quiet contemplation. Live music played softly during conversations to create a comfortable atmosphere.

Active Introductions

The event began with everyone sitting in a circle. Participants were invited to walk around the room until the facilitator said “Stop”, at which time they were to find two other people to exchange conversation with. This was done three times, each round with a different question to spark conversation: Introduce yourself and why you came. What do you want to learn? What do you hope to share?


PechaKucha Presentations

Inspirations from projects and experiences were offered by four participants using the visual 20x20 PechaKucha format. In a PechaKucha presentation, the presenter has 20 images in their slide show and each image is shown for 20 seconds. This is a fun way for presenters to concisely share their stories, where participants are engaged by images and spoken words. The best PechaKucha presentations uncover the unexpected talent ideas. PechaKucha events started in Tokyo in 2003 by two architects who combined PowerPoint with the notion of a visual poetry slam they now take place in 266 cities around the globe. For more information on PechaKucha, visit:

The CYCC Network and Knowledge Mobilization | Lisa Lachance, CYCC Network Lisa introduced the CYCC Network to the participants, many of whom had never heard of the organization or its goals. She highlighted the importance of knowledge mobilization and some of the CYCC Network’s initiatives to innovate the area, including the Wisdom2Action event series. PechaKucha Highlights: The CYCC Network is a national network that connects people working in community based organizations and academics. The Network focuses on capturing and sharing best and promising practices from its members and beyond. The Network also focuses on knowledge mobilization - sharing knowledge across silos Good information can be evidence-based practice, practice-based evidence or local knowledge.

Technology | Emily Zinck, CYCC Network Emily Zinck presented a PechaKucha on the CYCC Network’s report on Using Technology to Provide Support to Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts. Emily began work with the CYCC Network in March 2012, and is currently a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University in the Interdisciplinary Program. During her time with the CYCC Network, she authored the technology report summarized in this PechaKucha, as well as a report of the topic of youth engagement. PechaKucha Highlights: Youth: “When you create messages for us, with us - it will rock.” Turn reports into something digestible Use social media to activate community Technology can/should be used as a bridge for service providers Youth are the experts: engage the experts


Youth Engagement | Steve Gordon, Leaders of Today

Violence | David Morgan, Dalhousie University

Steve coordinates Leaders Of Today, which amplifies youth voice and connecting youth, communities, organizations and government. They hold spaces for collaborative discussion on youth issues across Nova Scotia that build understanding between youth and government, and inform government services and programs. LOT was developed out of the youth mantra “If it’s about us, don’t do it without us”.

This PechaKucha provided a brief introduction to the CYCC Network’s report titled “Promising Practices to Help Children and Youth who have been Exposed to Violence”. It was presented by David Morgan, one of the Knowledge Synthesis Research Assistants who helped prepare the report. David Morgan is now a PhD candidate with the Department of Political Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

PechaKucha Highlights: Both adult and youth have voice Different perspectives are opportunities Support communication Value capacity building Challenges (e.g. stigma, ignorance) are opportunities for learning Asking youth in will change the system

PechaKucha Highlights: What are the effective strategies to support youth who have experienced trauma? We need alternative therapies such as: guided human interaction with horses, dance therapy, expression to help youth move through trauma. How do we evaluate alternative therapies? A lot can be learned just by talking to people to fill in what is not evident in the data. It’s essential to seek local knowledge and engage front-line workers. Seek to understand and respect what inspires and motivates young people. Introduce culturally relevant ways to support mental health. Peer support and mentorship is important. Prevention and treatment need to be included in one comprehensive system of care.


World Café: Nurturing The Field

During the morning, the participants took part in a World Café. World Café is a process used to foster interaction and dialogue with groups of all sizes. This tool is particularly effective in surfacing the collective wisdom of large groups of diverse people. World Café operates on the following principles: - Create hospitable space - Explore questions that matter - Encourage each person’s contribution - Connect diverse people and ideas - Listen together for patterns, insights and deeper questions - Make collective knowledge visible The following ettiquette is stated into the room: Focus on what matters Listen to understand Contribute your thinking Speak your mind and heart Link and connect ideas Listen together for themes insights, and deeper questions Play, Doodle, Draw - HAVE FUN!

Purpose: Surface Where we Want to Focus our Attention

Q: What are you noticing in your work? // If you step back and look at your work with young people in recent months, what has your attention? Q: What are the green shoots? // Where do you see promise and growth? What is shifting and evolving in a good way? Harvest

Where do we need to focus to nurture positive momentum? Going deeper Resilience working together - Engage the family Workshops to engage - Courage to look at ourselves - Not for profits together - Partnerships - Inner organizational health - Sharing/ Collaboration - Mobile mental health professionals - Links to formal systems Q: Where do we need to focus to nurture positive momentum? //Focus our attention, energy & resources? - Learn from experiences - Safe space - Collaboration/Connection/ Partnership - Supporting racialized youth - Sharing knowledge - Prevention - Alternative and arts based treatment - Supporting supporters - Youth-centric - Youth as leaders - Youth voice - Youth-Adult partnerships - Value difference - Mobile and community based treatment These themes were distilled from a collection of ideas brought forward from each table. The themes were brought back to the group for the second round of Open Space to “Dig Deeper”.


Open Space

The rest of the day was held in Open Space format, so that participants could host and take part in deep conversations. Open Space is a simple facilitation tool with a profound worldview that creates just enough structure for people to self-organize into the conversations they want to have. Assumptions underlying this method of engagement: We can trust the innate intelligence of groups: We don’t need a master conductor to decide what is important for people. People know the conversations they need to have - if we create space for self-organizing, people will connect their own experiences and ideas and this will create new possibilities that did not exist before. Diversity is a great source of energy to be unleashed: No one person can see the bigger picture that a diverse group can see. Every person brings: life experience, their unique vantage point, capabilities, ideas, and resources. You must take responsibility for what you love: Give everyone a platform to share, express and learn in a way that is meaningful for them. When we have the freedom of choice to engage in what truly engages us, we can contribute the best of ourselves and everyone benefits.

QUESTION: What promising practices would you like to share? Promising practices & lessons learned Participants hosted 11 self-organized conversations across two rounds of Open Space. These conversations delved into the question of “cross cutting issues that highlight promising practices, major challenges and lessons learned.” The conversation topics were: Music therapy // Stigma // North End Community Circle // Community suicide prevention and resilience // How to play games and change behaviours // Meeting youth there they’re at - what’s next // Is it working? The Evaluation Tool Basket // Phoenix Prevention Program // Youth Board // Detox and Addiction Services for Youth and Adolescence // Race Relations, Cross Cultural Understanding, Human Rights

DID YOU KNOW: The CYCC Network hosts an online database of our members’ best and promising practices. Click here to see them all.

Conversation Snippets

7 1) Racism and Marginalization

7) Youth Board: What they are and what they can achieve?

Hosted by: Duncan Gould & LaMeia Reddick

Hosted by: Kristen Sweeney, Youth Project

One common theme throughout this conversation was that not everyone feels comfortable in a safe space. In fact, some individuals are going to feel profoundly uncomfortable. Questions surfaced such as how diversity and marginalization influences society? Participants expressed that while individual racism may be decreasing, systemic racism is increasing. 2) Meeting youth where they are at, what’s next? Hosted by: Cheryl Matheson, Pathways to Education

This conversation, hosted by Pathways To Education, discussed the need for safe spaces/environments in order for Youth to begin to address their needs. The conversation also underlined the importance of one-on-one relationships, and connecting all parts of youth’s lives - school, family, social. 3) How to play games, laugh and change behaviour Hosted by: Andrew Middleton, Atlantic Youth

Discussions aimed at handling complex situations with “FUN” activity based treatment and peer-culture shifting. Andrew suggested that pointing awareness to youth will instigate positive changes. Games + fun + connection = vehicles to teach. 4) Music Therapy Hosted by: Rebecca Godbout, Dal Student

This topic focused on expanding the research and practice of music therapy, while also exploring other possible artistic therapies that could be beneficial to the mental health community (and other sectors). 5) Phoenix Prevention Program Hosted by: Fiona McAdam, Phoenix Prevention Program

This conversation highlighted the local youth programs that support homeless at-risk youth. An important fact noted was that prevention programs are starting much younger (11 yrs vs. 16 yrs.) 6) Evaluation Tool Basket

Hosted by: Linda Liebenberg, Resilience Research Centre

Services ask the question is what we are doing right now working? Evaluation is difficult. This conversation covered many easy to implement, relatively quick evaluation tools that have a flexible structure and can accommodate varying models.

The youth voice has always been a top priority in our history. This group discussed our local youth boards and and their responsibility within our community. The valuable theme of power surfaced and the group agreed that adults must let youth shape the direction of the board, and give/ allow real (non-token) power. 8) North End Community Circle Hosted by: Lisa Roberts, NECC

This collaboration oriented conversation accentuated the importance of linking old and new networking within a community to help youth feel more safe and engaged. Questions that surfaced asked how to take advantage of momentum within resource limits - and how to make more accessible space? 9) Communities Addressing Suicide Prevention Hosted by: Mike Price, CASP

This conservation emphasized the local programs that are available, but are often not talked about (therefore becoming a missed opportunity to help someone). The group noted the continuing need to educate our youth of their options and to break down the stigma. 10) Stigma Hosted by: Hilary Rankin, Laing House

The reoccurring topic of stigma surfaced in many conversations throughout the W2A event. Organizations like Laing House, Youth Project and Phoenix we’re recognized to have cutting-edge programming targeted at empowering youth and reducing self/outside stigma. Participants asked how to move youth out of the comfort zone? 11) Detox and Addiction Services for youth Hosted by: Duncan Gould

This group conversed about the consistently changing adolescent drug culture, and the possible need to educate youth at a younger age. The group also noted that structural programming barriers exist within Nova Scotia that limit services/resources. The importance of accessibility was underlined.

Digging Deeper The conversations from World Café were synthesized by the hosting team and eight clear themes emerged. The following pages contain summaries of the themes and best practices that emerged across the various conversations. 1 Safe Space for Youth to Engage with Supports

Many open space conversations discussed the need for a safe space and the attention of loved ones can often do wonders. To provide a space that is effective, it is necessary to understand the context that the youth comes from. It may also be difficult getting youth to speak to anyone outside their work or home life. Participants asked: How do you make a safe space for youth to engage with supports? How do we deal with negative enabling from home? Can PT staff create the same level of trust as FT staff? What do we do when something isn’t working? How do we overcome low trust mentality? Actions/Next Steps: Bring together a core group of people to get the initiative off the ground and let the safe space create itself (people with the drive to make the difference). Connect with youth on all levels and abilities to allow self empowerment through helping each-other. Existing resources: • Leave Out Violence (LOVE) • Community centres • Youth Project

Resources needed: • A physical space • Food • Caring, trusting people • Initiative to start


2 Mobile and Community Based Treatment

There was a consensus among W2A Halifax participants that community based treatment programs help build confidence, capacity and commonality. Although funding is currently lagging (like many other areas), youth-adult relationships and connections are extremely valuable. Questions asked by participants were: Are schools a stigmatized place that affects perception of treatment? What are the resources? How accessible are the resources? How do we evaluate? Qualitative or quantitative? How do we deal with undiagnosed mental illness/very young mental illness? Actions/Next Steps: Nova Scotia Small School Initiative, focusing on strengthening the local community to support youth. Use different techniques for different age groups. Existing Resources: • Direction 180 • Schoolsplus • “Other” health services • Health, education, social service, justice

Resources needed: • “Youth Savvy” mobile centre • Community based addictions workers

9 3 Supporting Racialized Youth

There is a general denial among society that racism still exists, but it is alive and well. There is however a readiness in Nova Scotia to have the difficult conversations about racism vs. ignorance, and power vs. privilege. These topics may be hard to talk about with people of privilege, but what other action can we take? In the school system, we blame students for the systemic racism, but students learn best from their peers. Many participants asked: How does Individualized Program Planning (IPP) rein force stigma and marginalization? Is there a disproportionate number of First Nations and African Nova Scotian and newcomer (immigrant) students in IPP? How do we re-design education systems that empower and bring out the best in all studentS, not only those from European descent? What are the best practices globally, for empowering racialized youth? Actions/Next Steps: Racism should be addressed when it happens! School systems need to shift focus, broaden education and celebrate diversity. We all should continue the dialogue - educate, enrich and empower. Amplify the voices of people who are marginalized. We can collectively dehumanize systemic racism and shift institutions through bringing the topic to the table. Be brave.

Existing Resources: • RCH: Race relations, cross cultural human resources; Go to person in every school - liason; Site-based liason workers; Mostly African Nova Scotia, Chignecto has First Nations • Conflict/Mediation - incidence • Cultural awareness workshops • Indian Brook School; Great support workers who create safe space and great relationships • Kitpu Youth Centre • L.O.V.E • Phoenix Youth Programs in Mulgrave Park • YWCA CB Programme in schools - role model facilitators • Youth Engagement and youth leadership • Critical thinking skills/systems of opression • First Nations students access to engineering • Dance in numbers • Afrocentric Learning Resources Needed: • Youth Advocate Workers for African Nova Scotian Students • Teachers and curriculum to integrate history, cultural awareness • Royal proclamation from primary to university • Follow through on recommendations of Dept. of Education • More availability of spaces/programming in community and learn/discuss • Black/First Nations history and cultural events for everybody (not only black kids) • Access transportation to community programmes and activities • Culturally competent staff • Acknowledge the positive Contributions and accomplishments of our ancestors • Art/Cultural sport and recreational activities

10 4 Youth Voice

5. Supporting Supporters - Parents and Community

Amplifying the youth voice was also a popular discussion topic at W2A Halifax. Every generation varies in the way in which they interpret, react and respond to challenging situations. Participants asked:

Supporting supporters can sometimes fall to the back-burner during hectic times. However, it is crucial for organizations/individuals to recognize their employees/loved ones, and to reinforce overall appreciation. This is a simple gesture that often is forgotten about, especially within a workplace. Discussions around this topic raised key challenges such as:

How to engage youth/family? How to help youth speak up? How to move youth out of comfort zone? Actions/Next Steps: The need to recruit youth and patients for research is crucial to best understand a generation, as culture is always changing. Take youth everywhere in youth first voice. Existing Resources: • Leaders of Today

Resources Needed: • A platform to amplify youth voice

How do supporters, staff and family need to be supported What does that look like? Possible Actions/Next Steps: Looking into organizing and connecting youth workers (finding a space to gather), possibly through an online presence. Existing Resources: • EAP - Informal support of other supporters • If you have healthcare benefits • Be the Peace in Lunenburg are doing parent café • YP does parent support Resources Needed: • A specific space that allows youth workers to connect with each other and talk about issues and problems • Committment from employers to put resources toward supporting their workers • Supporting parents who have mental health issues etc, so they can support youth • Building capacity • Training

11 6 Alternative and Arts Based Treatments

7 Connection, Collaboration & Partnerships

Stories of alternative treatments to individuals with alzheimer’s, dementia and autism emerged in the conversation. The need to shift opinions on alternative/art based treatments became an a key theme to many individuals during open space portion of the day. Thoughts of branching these alternatives into the education system instigated questions like:

Through attending the Wisdom2Action Halifax event, all participants acknowledged the value of connection, collaboration and partnerships. Some interesting questions that transpired when discussing the topic were:

Is there existing research on the treatment music therapy/ other alternative treatments? What are the barriers to participation? If someone isn’t engaged but wants to be, what is getting in their way? Where does shifting culture start? (for good, not money) How to break-up system to engage more youth? How do we develop a local diverse community? Possible Actions/Next Steps: Find common ground between existing and new programs. The more research = more funding. Create confidence builder workshops and events like all ages cafe. Rally directly related organizations to help develop an information platform (such as CYCC Network.) [editor’s note: you may find some alternative and arts based treatments in our online database] Existing Resources: • Halifax Music Co-op, all ages and skill levels welcome, all PWYC • Phoenix Choir • The Spot • El sistema - Wadeng • Reachability “Rhythm Program” • Agricola house open mic • Peaceful schools International • St. George’s Youthnet Resources Needed: • Instrumental lending • Government support • Money (there is very little funding for this kind of stuff) • Community support • Awareness to battle stigma and gain support : “I’m not musical/creative”. • Perceived elitism, not enough/too much, low self confidence “I could never be good at that”, child play or just for kids, unless you learned it as a kid, “there is no career in music.”

What are innovative models for collaboration? What is the regional data of what partnerships already exists? How can we help funders identify collaboration as value/criteria? Possible Actions/Next Steps: Go to HRM Youth Connections or CYCC Network for broad range of information. When collaborating, ensure information is accessible through technology, easily comprehended and can be implemented on any scale. Also consider including partnership as a criteria in funding. Existing Resources: • HRM Youth connections: List serve, meets once a month, rotating locations • 211 • Person-to-person connections Resources Needed: • Collaborative body to take the lead • More leadership, united front, driving force • Youth serving working group • Cross organization funding opportunities for collaborative projects • App - search for mental health services

12 8 Youth as Leaders//Youth-Adult Partnerships

Many conversations discussed the significance of youth-adult partnerships, and looked closely at the effects/benefits of youth leadership. A number of queries arose: What is already existing? What type of youth are attracted to leadership? How to attract a more diverse group? What attracts youth to leadership initiatives? What are the barriers for youth? How can resources empower or enable learned helplessness in youth? Possible Actions/Next Steps: To engage youth within the community, create more community based (rural) leadership opportunities, drop-in centres and conversations that are accessible to all. Ensure that youth voices are valued by fostering community groups, creating inclusive programs and giving a vested interest in the area of focus. Source funding ideas! Existing Resources: • Leaders Of Today (LOT) Summit • Lunenburg Youth room • We Day • Big Brothers, Big Sisters • Empathy Factor • Youth Boards • Pathways, Chebucto Connections • Student unions • Youth Net


Resources Needed: • Money/funding • Space in community • Technology/Social Media • Base level education on youth engagement/leadership • Mentoring groups • Learning centres • Education on importance on youth engagement • Outreach • Information sharing

We ended the day as we began: in a circle. Each person responded to the question: What is one thing you’ve learned today that you would like to take forward in your work or in your own life? Responses were enlighting, inspiring and motivating.


Special thanks to all participants for your contribution: Adrianna MacKenzie Alex MacDonald Allison Ghosn Amanda Baker Amanda Peers Andrew Jantzen Andrew Middleton Andy Wallingham Angela Daley Anna Jacobs Ben Mogl-MacLean Breena Dorey Caleb Toombs Cathy Peyton Cheryl Matheson Courtney Matheson David Morgan David Smith Deborah Marriott

DeRico Symonds Derrick Hennessey Diane Obed Doreen Coady Duncan Gould Eileen Kilfoil Emily Duffett Emily Zinck Eva George Faten Alshazly Faye Bontje Fiona McAdam Gail Gardiner Hilary Rankin James Kelly-Wolfe Jayme Margaret Melrose Jennifer Maloney Jenny Benson Jessica MacMaster Jessica Rose Jimmy Bray Josh Jenkins Justine Dol Kalina McCaul Katherine Taylor Kayla Stevens Kelly Keating Kelly Shaw Kerri Fougere Kristen Sweeney LaMeia Reddick Laura Burke Leslie Keevill Linda Liebenberg

Lisa Lachance Lisa Roberts Louise Lyman Marguerite Drescher Marian Bulley Marianette Bryan Megan Longley Meghann Crawford Melissa Spencer Michael Topshee Michael Zhang Michele Graveline Michelle Poirier Mike Price Natalie Brown Nelson MacDonald Nichelle Hubley Nicole Landry Rebecca Godbout Rebecca Singbeil RocĂ­o RodrĂ­guez Rey Sam Duffney Sera Thompson Shatori Willis Shawn Parker Sheila McDougall Steven Gordon Sue Morrison Susannah Suzy Hansen Tasha Anderson Valerie Shapiro Victoria Wanda McDonald Yan Lu Zac Quinlan

The Wisdom2Action Event Series is hosted by The CYCC Network: CYCC Network

Find more information online: @CYCCNetwork /CYCCNetwork

Funding for the CYCC Network is provided by:

Wisdom2Action: Halifax  

In Halifax, the CYCC Network co-created and co-hosted the event with a local planning and hosting team, including youth and staff from commu...