Amanda Lang, business journalist and author, hosted the fourth annual Five14 Talks themed Redefining Community. The Ontario Child Advocate’s Office supported the event, which aims to inspire change through five talks at 14 minutes each. A breakfast preceded the main event and was hosted by Youth Ambassador RESHMA. Juno Award winner Tom Wilson kicked off the event. Additionally, Meredith Graham delivered a spoken word performance.
Each speaker approached the notion of community from their own lens and helped to address the stigma and myths that can be experienced by kids in care by pointing to the fact that historic definitions of “community” may not be as applicable as they once were.
2018’s event speakers included:
Dr. David Bernstein, Senior Forensic Psychologist, who was raised in foster care in New York City and went on to help at-risk children and youth to identify new ways to achieve beyond what they know. He spoke about how community is feeling that you belong. Watch David’s Talk.
Crissy Courchene, Coordinator of Indigenous Culture Services at Macdonald Youth Services, who works to provide Indigenous kids with the ability to reclaim meaningful cultures spaces that truly engage healing opportunities and restore their cultural identities. She spoke about the importance of Indigenous children and youth maintaining a connection to the land. Watch Crissy’s talk.
Melanie Doucet, PdD candidate at McGill University’s School of Social Work, a former youth in care whose main research interests are rooted in issues that affect youth in and from care, with a focus on those transitioning from the child welfare system into independent living. She spoke about independence vs interdependence and removing the expiry date on relationships for youth “aging out” of care. Watch Melanie’s talk.
David Sharpe, CEO of Bridging Finance Inc, one of Canada’s largest private debt firms whose own Indigenous Roots have inspired him to focus on economic development for First Nations and Inuit communities. He spoke about the relationship between identity and community.
Watch David’s talk.
Mahesh Prajapat, COO of Children’s Aid Society of Toronto whose work on the front lines of child welfare inspired his commitment to building partnerships with the community, and coordinating and integrating service systems to ensure families are strengthened and that children remain safe, healthy, and strong while remaining in their homes and communities. He spoke about the importance of the child welfare system putting families and communities first. Watch Mahesh’s talk.
Watch the highlights video: