Jun 5, 2013 0
British Columbia is in the midst of celebrating the third annual BC Child and Youth in Care Week. All over the province, communities are coming together to have fun, celebrate, and spreading awareness about BC’s awesome children and youth in and from government care.
Hopefully you will be attending one of the many events and celebrations taking place this week (we posted about them last week here), including the provincial event happening in downtown Vancouver featuring youth MCs, talent show, crafts and face painting for kids, interactive activities for youth, keynote speakers, awards, raffle prizes and gift bags and live music.
But if we want to engage more of the community in this movement, we need to do more than celebrate. Once the week is over, we can continue standing with children and youth in care for the rest of the year. Below you’ll find ideas on how to spread awareness about the week and how to stand with children and youth in care during the 51 other weeks of the year!
4 ways you can help spread the word about BC Child and Youth in Care Week:
1. Share this awesome youth-made video on why#youthincareareawesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sdD7N_L2zQ – let’s make this thing viral!
2. change your social media photo to this photo! Share the photo on social media and post about the week in your updates and tweets!
3. Wear a button, bracelet or sticker and strike up conversations about the week–it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness!
4. On other social media, use hashtags to show you #standwithyouthincare or why #youthincareareawesome, or to promote #bcchildandyouthincareweek or #bccyicw2013
10 Ways to Stand with Children & Youth in and from Care:
1. Take notice. There are approximately 8,400 young people in care this year alone–approximately 1 in 20 young people will come into care or have a relationship with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. This includes young people in foster homes, group homes, mental health, addiction and custody centres. Learn about the realities facing young people in care.
2. Listen. Ask young people in care about their needs, issues and ideas. They are experts on their experiences and should participate in all the decisions affecting them.
3. Respect. Support young people to make empowered decisions that they feel are right for them. Help them learn about their rights, pursue their education or career goals, transition into a healthy adulthood and have life-long relationships with the people they choose.
4. Connect. If you have theirs and their guardian’s permission, help connect young people to their siblings and family. Show them opportunities to connect with the communities of their choosing which could include social justice, queer, arts, or Aboriginal and other ethnic communities.
5. Network. Young people often feel empowered when they are connected to their peers in care. There are youth in care networks popping up all around the world. In B.C., there is the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks: fbcyicn.ca You can find out what’s going on around Canada here:http://www.youthincare.ca/ and around the world here: http://www.ifco.info/
6. Fight stigma. Challenge the notion that young people in care are all the same—‘criminals,’ ‘addicts,’ ‘lost causes’ or ‘drains on society. ’ What they do have in common is their survival of their experience in the system. Young people need adult allies who speak up in conversations and write letters to papers and politicians: Watch this youth-made video and spread the word! https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4sdD7N_L2zQ
7. Be a cheerleader. Identify things about young people that you love and encourage their strengths – they get pretty tired of being told what they are doing wrong. If a young person in care has done something really great recently, write them a letter or email and copy their social worker.
8. Donate. Many young people rely on education bursaries since they face so many barriers to post-secondary education— help eliminate the financial ones! Try FBCYICN’s Dream Fund at fbcyicn.ca/dreamfund
9. Become a foster or adoptive parent! If you can provide a healthy and supportive home, we need more great homes for children and youth in care to live and yours just might be the perfect place for someone out there! Thousands are hoping to be adopted well into their late teens. Find out more info at:www.fosterbc.ca or bcadoption.com.
10. Celebrate! BC Child and Youth in Care Week, the first week of it’s kind in Canada, now happens every year. Attend events in your area, wear T-shirts and buttons, show your support through social media, and get others on board. JOIN THE ONLINE CAMPAIGN! Click “Like” to stand with youth in care and stay connected on major activities: I Stand With Youth In Care on Facebook
To all the youth and allies, we are honoured to stand with you this week, and every week of the year! Let’s get all of BC involved–this is a community and movement for everyone!