YCC Magazine

Vol.2 Issue 2

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YouthREX is proud to celebrate four years of NOISE and our first year of offering NOISE across Ontario! w w w . y o u t h c e n t r e s c a n a d a . c o m 6 T he New Opportunities for Innovative Student Engage- ment program, or NOISE, was established in 2013 as a research-informed model for enhancing the academic success of youth from Toronto's Jane/Finch community. In this capacity, NOISE fellows from Emery Collegiate High School work with York University Social Work students to foster and support civic engagement through social action projects relevant to the socio-political-economic conditions present in the Jane/Finch community. One of the most ethnically diverse communities in the city, Jane and Finch hosts one of the highest concentrations of subsidized housing units and a low rate of post-secondary education when compared to other youth in Toronto. It is also home to a large youth population, many of whom are active and engaged participants in making their neighbourhood a better place. Now in its fourth year, and as part of Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange (YouthREX), NOISE continues to provide a space for these active and engaged participants to move their community- changing ideas from research into practice. Although the social action projects have changed over the years, the goals of the program remain the same: • Increase academic engagement by providing expanded/ engaged learning opportunities and knowledge of community based participatory action research to youth and social work students. • Enhance civic engagement by providing critical social service learning opportunities that allow NOISE fellows (youth and social work students) to critically examine root causes of social injustice and collaboratively develop interventions. • Nurture psychosocial wellbeing by providing multi-directional mentorship that builds community across and among cohorts. Our end of year event this past April was a graduation of sorts as we had fellows who had joined the program in grade nine graduating from high school this spring. At the time of the ceremony, five of those fellows had been offered places to study at postsecondary institutions in September! Celebrating four years of noisemaking in the Jane/Finch community was an amazing accomplishment, but an equally exciting part of the program was that it expanded into other parts of the province, launching in YouthREX's Eastern, Northeastern, and Southwestern Hubs. In the Eastern Hub, the NOISE fellows focused research on three topics: poverty, afterschool programs, and young drivers. In regards to poverty, the Vision for Change group looked at making eyeglasses more accessible, while the afterschool programs group sought to establish a central place where information about available programs could be hosted. Finally, the young drivers group discovered that many of their peers Four Years of NOISEMAKERS Making Change by Yumi Numata, YouthREX

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