Young people are the foundation of what we do at the OCYA. Their involvement in our work through platforms like the OCYA Youth Council helps us to grow our understanding of young people’s rights, interests and viewpoints, and to have those reflected in each area of our organization. The council amplifies young people’s voices, helps increase our understanding of their lived experiences within systems and leads positive change. Their work strengthens our advocacy with and on behalf of young people.
The youth council consists of up to 10 sitting members of diverse young people from across Alberta, who have lived experience with child intervention and/or youth justice systems. The council meets bi-monthly to inform the work of the OCYA. They also receive requests to consult from external groups and meet with government leaders to offer their ideas for improving services and supports for young people.
Mentors are important contributors to the OCYA Youth Council. Mentors help council members feel supported, stay actively engaged and build confidence in their ability to contribute. We all need someone to talk to who can help us sort out our thoughts and help us to meaningfully share our experiences and ideas for change; mentors support council members in these important ways.
Young people can express their interest in joining by calling the OCYA or sending us a short email to let us know how we can best reach you. Supportive adults and allies can also help refer young people. Contact us at 1-800-661-3446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to consult with the OCYA’s Youth Council or explore collaborative opportunities, please connect with our Youth Engagement Coordinator, Lee Bowers at Lee.Bowers@ocya.alberta.ca.
To learn more about the OCYA Youth Council’s work and the role of council members and mentors, check out the following documents.