The youth team is an essential part of the Respectful Relationship program. Youth Team members work side-by-side with Adult Facilitators to co-facilitate the R+R workshops. Students see Youth Team members as positive role models who are committed to making a difference in their school and are not afraid to speak out about it.
It is our privilege to work with youth committed to building a strong non-violent school culture, and to increasing their understanding of the world where they will have to negotiate as adults.
- Youth Team members learn:
* Tools for addressing difference and conflict;
* Skills for facilitation and leadership;
* Self-awareness and self-esteem;
* Skills for public speaking, conflict resolution and assertiveness;
* A broad understanding of social justice issues and experience in activism;
* A critical media analysis.
Video of Youth Facilitators at the Canadian Women’s Foundation National Skills Institute Meeting in Toronto. February 2012
Youthspeak – The R+R Youth Team Speaks Out…
“As a graduating member of the Respectful Relationships Youth Team, I can say with confidence that the future is in good hands. Working with such phenomenal individuals has been tremendously influential, and at times inspired awe. I came into the program as a newcomer to the school, and a newcomer to the province of British Columbia; immediately I was welcomed in with warm, open arms…. My time in the Youth Team has been extremely influential in shaping the young man I am today. Without taking the first step through the doors, and sitting down in the circle amongst my peers, I’m unsure if I would have followed the same path which I’ve taken today. I owe so much to this program and its members, and I will be forever in their debt. …. I have no doubt in my mind that my future will continue to be influenced by my experiences in the youth team. The topics taught in the R+R program are extremely pertinent and important to today’s youth. As I head off to University, I know I will strive to learn more about human rights, equality, and peace, and will share these values with everyone in my life, regardless of where life takes me. I hope the youth team continues to inspire young men and women as it has for me.”
“I joined the youth team because it is a very comfortable place and it brings lots of people together with the ‘soul intention’ of helping anyone and everyone. This is my second year being a part of the youth team and I have learned so much from it. I get to learn about pressing issues in today’s culture and how to help and fix these problems. I also hope to get that satisfaction that you only get when you help someone. Being able to go to the middle school or the younger grades in the high school and address some serious problems that youth that age have today is going to help in more ways than one.
The work that SWOVA and R+R does is very important because nobody else addresses these important topics with youth and helps find ways to work with all types of situations that most teenagers are in.”
“I first experienced the R+R program in grade 9 and I was absolutely blown away. Not only was the course material so incredibly vital to living a healthy life, the atmosphere that the program created was unlike anything I could have ever imagined witnessing in a high school setting. The conversations were so real and all of the superficial topics that infest the halls were left behind at the door. What I witnessed in that room was an environment in which teens could be themselves. Such a safe environment is extremely difficult to create, especially since high school is generally thought to be one of the least safe environments, where vulnerability is exploited rather than supported. Though we have a rare high school with a stunningly kind and accepting atmosphere, it is still a high school and gossip, judgement and verbal bullying still manage to sneak into our adolescent world. It is vitally important for teens to learn about complex and sensitive emotional issues as well as be educated about diversity.
I get a wonderful feeling in my heart every time that I enter the classroom of a younger grade and get to teach, inspire and promote values that are essential to leading a happy and peaceful life. All I want now is to give something back.
Quotes from Other Youth
“R+R is important for girls because it allows them to acknowledge sexism, stereotypes and sexual expectations in a time when there is a lot of negativity and misinformation in their daily environment. It plants the seed of reflection, both personally and in society. … I have learned to listen, love and support. I am excited knowing that R+R has given me the skills to go out in the world and have meaningful relationships. … Honest conversation is one of the most simple and under valued things and is hard to come by.”
(Ella, Youth Team Member G12)
“This program is incredible for girls because generally, we have built up emotion that is locked in a cage, and SWOVA gives us a chance to release it. Most girls struggle through many of the topics discussed in SWOVA, and it’s super important that they have a place to learn, talk about and listen to others.”
(Sierra, Youth Team member)
“Not many guys think that talking about emotions etc is a good thing but its actually a wonderful thing. There aren’t a lot of outlets like this for young males.”
(Aidan, G12 Youth Team member)
“The skills you learn are life skills. Worldwide issues sprout from the same issues and mis-communications that SWOVA is working to solve. By communication and understanding, we can learn to co-exist.”
(Aren, G12 Youth Team member)
“I loved seeing the awareness and insight the younger girls had and watching them grow throughout the program.” “I have learned a lot from my peers, about their lives, stresses and wishes. I also have learned a lot about myself and who I am. I feel like I know my place in the world better, and feel more comfortable speaking my mind and opening up in front of other people.”
(Sophia, G12 Youth Team Member)