Youths help shape a city that supports and nurtures youth

    TORONTO, June 11 /CNW/ - The Toronto Youth Strategy Panel met for the
first time on Friday, June 8 to discuss the future of the City of Toronto and
the role of youth in its positive growth and development. The group will
develop a Youth Action Plan to help City Council set concrete priorities and
create a youth-positive Toronto that will support and nurture all of the
city's youth.
    The Toronto Youth Strategy was developed in the previous term of Council
by the Roundtable on Children, Youth and Education to demonstrably improve the
well-being of youth. The Youth Strategy called on the City to work with youth
and the community to implement the strategy. The Youth Strategy Panel will
work to identify current best practices in youth-driven initiatives and areas
of concerns, with an eye on improving education, employment, income, community
services and youth engagement. The panel will also work with the City to
develop and release a Youth Report Card.
    What sets this group apart from similar advisory committees in the past
is that the members were selected by Toronto youth. Youth make up more that
50 per cent of the panel. There are a total of seven youth on the panel -
three youth representing youth-serving community organizations, and four youth
from the broader community.
    More than 130 youth applied to be on the 13-member panel. Based on their
experience with marginalized communities, their community ties and their
skills in working with other volunteers, four youth from the community were
chosen for the panel: Asam Ahmad, Hanifa Kassam, Michelle McLetchie, and Amber
    The youth on the panel representing youth-serving organizations are:
Craig Fortier, Grassroots Youth Collaborative; Ryan Hayes, Toronto Youth
Cabinet; and Nicole Thomas, Youth in Power. The remaining members of the panel
are City Councillors and members of the business, labour and community sector:
Councillor Shelley Carroll; Councillor Maria Augimeri; Councillor Paul
Ainslie, Frances Bedford-Jones and Natasha Kassim, RBC Financial Group; Terry
Downey, Ontario Federation of Labour; and Violetta Ilkiw, The Laidlaw
    "The youth of today will shape the city of tomorrow," said Councillor
Shelley Carroll, Co-Chair, Toronto Youth Strategy Panel. "The youth of this
city possess a wealth of unlimited potential. The Youth Strategy Panel gives
us a chance to hear from the youth themselves, and will provide a forum to
identify the supports and services needed to nurture that potential."
    Amber Morley and Asam Ahmad will share the youth co-chair position for
the first year of the panel's term. "We are excited to finally have a panel
where youth can voice their concerns themselves," said Asam Ahmad, "and look
forward to having a very productive year."

    Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home
to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine
of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America.
In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and
innovation in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to
prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Councillor, Shelley Carroll,
Co-Chair Toronto Youth Strategy Panel, (416) 392-4038

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