YWCA Canada is mobilizing young women to Think Big/Start Small

TORONTO, Dec. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, YWCA Canada launches Y Act Up, a civic engagement and leadership program for young women between 16 and 29 years of age.  Funded by Canadian Heritage under the Youth Take Charge program, Y Act Up provides young women with opportunities to enhance their leadership skills, and become agents of change while improving their connection to their community and Canada.

"The goal of Y Act Up is to raise awareness about the power of young women to address key issues and improve our communities. I hear from young women across the country who are incredibly aware of the social and political problems that surround them. They are eager to connect and bring about social change. We are thrilled to offer a program like Y Act Up that will encourage young women to become active citizens and promote lifelong civic engagement, "says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada.

As part of the program, YWCA Canada has created the Think Big/Start Small Campaign to encourage young women to use their voices and work toward social change. The campaign will culminate in The Day of Big Change, a national civic engagement day led by young women on March 1, 2013. YWCA Canada invites young women across Canada to step up to shape their communities by coordinating events, workshops, concerts, rallies, and any number of small steps and creative actions that address big issues.

YWCAs and YMCA-YWCAs serving 22 communities across the country have established Y Act Up councils for young women, giving them space to engage in their community and develop a strong public voice. YWCA Canada has assembled a National Advisory Group, made up of youth who will offer their expertise and shape program initiatives.

Y Act Up will provide a forum for young women to connect with their peers on a social networking website that will include resources, a space for discussing key issues affecting their communities, and a place to document and promote their activities.

YWCA Canada has also produced a Youth Civic Engagement Toolkit that offers information on leadership, inspiring stories of young activists, creative activities and an introduction to key issues young women care about including ending violence against women and girls, ensuring women's economic equality, protecting the environment, fighting for sexual and reproductive rights, ending racism, and supporting the equality and rights of Indigenous peoples.

To view an inspirational video on Y Act Up or for more information on the program visit www.ywcacanada.ca.

About YWCA Canada:

YWCA Canada is the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization.  With 32 Member Associations across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women™ serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories.  YWCA Canada is the nation's single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence, the second largest provider of childcare services, and an active member of the World YWCA. For more information visit www.ywcacanada.ca, find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or at www.facebook.com/ywcacanada.

SOURCE: YWCA Canada

For further information:

For an interview with Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada, contact Laura Tilley, Communications & Marketing Manager at 416.962.8881 x 233.

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