What can members of 2S-LGBTQ+ community expect in your space?
The North Simcoe Youth Wellness Hub (NSYWH) is part of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO), which is an initiative designed to bring the right services to youth aged 12-25 at the right time and in the right place. The values of YWHO are designed to support this initiative and include youth engagement in decision-making, safe spaces, low/no-barrier services for youth, culturally appropriate care, equity-based principles and inclusivity of access, care informed by anti-oppressive and anti-racist practice, and trauma-informed care. As a result, the 2S-LGBTQ+ community can expect an environment in which everyone is welcome, and feels comfortable and able to speak freely. The NSYWH also offers a safe space for youth to simply hang out, participate in social and recreation activities, and get connected to clinical services, including mental health supports and 2S-LGBTQ+ services. Specific 2S-LGBTQ+ support and programming is offered the first and third Wednesday of each month by our formal partners at the Gilbert Centre via a Discord Drop-In Event entitled QT Connect. The staff that support the NSYWH, known as the Youth Wellness Team, have also participated in the Safer Spaces training. Further, there are also representatives from the 2S-LGBTQ+ on the Youth Wellness Team and are available to connect with youth in-person and virtually. Other inclusion measures at the NSYWH include gender neutral washrooms and inclusive signage (e.g., all are welcome stickers, progressive pride flags, etc.). The Youth Wellness Team members also wear name badges that identify their name and pronouns. This information is also included on all electronic correspondence.
Percent of the organization which has completed our professional development workshop or learning modules:
Their core Youth Wellness Team – which is on-site for all operating hours and the “face” of the NSYWH – has a completion rate of 75%.
What is your commitment to creating safer spaces for 2S-LGBTQ+ community members?
The NSYWH is committed to facilitation of culturally diverse services, as an element of the core components and values of the organization. The NSYWH will participate in a formal fidelity review process through YWHO commencing Fall 2022 to determine the accessibility of our services to youth with varying needs, identifies, and abilities, including 2S-LGBTQ+ youth. Our goal is to regularly participate in this review process to continually improve and create a safe space for all youth. As a result, the NSYWH is committed to continued participation in education to promote appropriate service provision for the 2S-LGBTQ+ community. The NSYWH also continually reviews policies, practices, and forms to ensure accessibility and inclusivity, including use of inclusive language. The Youth Wellness Team members have also made a commitment to the use of gender neutral language and formal identification that includes name and pronoun use both verbally and in-writing. Further, discussions regarding culturally-diverse services are a standing agenda item at all levels of committee meetings, including front-line clinicians, leadership, and provincial engagement with YWHO. The NSYWH is also committed to inclusion of the youth-voice and the voice of the 2S-LGBTQ+ community through facilitation of a monthly Youth Advisory Committee and Family Engagement Strategy that ensures representation of the population that is served by the organization. The Youth Wellness Team also continually seek other opportunities to include the voice of the 2S-LGBTQ+ community through formal and informal surveys and other requests for feedback.
How can members of 2S-LGBTQ+ community provide feedback?
Members of the 2S-LGBTQ+ community that receive services through the NSYWH are invited to provide feedback following each visit through completion of a Satisfaction Survey. The feedback received through this survey is available to the NSYWH and YWHO, and is utilized to make changes to service provision, including accessibility and inclusivity of the NSYWH space. Informal and verbal feedback is also encouraged and welcomed by the NSYWH. Youth in the North Simcoe Muskoka region, including members of the 2S-LGBTQ+ community, are also encouraged to become members of our Youth Advisory Committee, which is a component of our Integrated Governance structure. Discussions regarding our current state and strategies to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of the NSYWH space is a standing agenda item at all of our Integrated Governance meetings which occur monthly. Other Integrated Governance meetings include Service Provision, which is a platform for service providers to discuss the services available at the NSYWH, and Steering Committee, which is a platform for leadership. Youth Wellness Team members are also encouraged and welcomed to provide feedback regarding inclusivity and accessibility through participation in discussions at weekly staff meetings.