YouthSpeak was founded in 2003, starting with just three speakers. We now have a team of over 15 active youth speakers who share their personal stories with other youth. We are in the business of inspiring change in the community and the foundation of YouthSpeak is built on youth engagement.
Rather than telling young people what they should do, our youth speakers share personal experiences with youth to raise their awareness of what could happen if they walk down a certain road. We have seen great results because, “Hey I know for me when I was younger and was told what I HAD to do, I did the exact opposite”.
When it comes to engaging youth we believe we have to meet them where they are at; activities they can relate to, stories that speak to their souls and personal mission they can back up and express. We are not only engaging the youth we speak to, we engage our team of youth speakers. Giving each speaker the opportunity to grow their skills, build new ones and find their independence. All speakers are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone in speaking, facilitation of assemblies and workshops. We help build our speakers for life – to learn to take healthy risks. Program material is created, developed and delivered by youth.
When you have a youth who feels empowered, heard, and valued, amazing things can happen! By one youth being authentic and vulnerable, it sends a friendly invitation for others to do the same. Youth engagement to us means changing the culture in our schools, communities, our future.
As YouthSpeak grows as an organization, we continue to create leadership roles that are paid positions increasing accountability and credibility for our services. We look forward as we expand, continue to do what we do best – empower youth to have a voice, and reach more youth throughout the GTA and beyond!