In December 2016, a group of English-speaking youth came together and reflected on their status within Quebec’s political landscape. At a time when many of our friends and colleagues have expressed feeling like second-class citizens, and feeling as if they would be better welcomed in a predominantly English-speaking province, we felt something needed to be done to strengthen the links that join English-speaking youth across Quebec – to make this multi-faceted linguistic community feel at home. A plethora of community organizations offer services in English to young people, and with a youth network, we could promote these services, all while offering our own programming and advocacy work to strengthen our community.
In March 2017, a broad discussion was launched around the question of how English-speaking youth can organize. A core group of ambitious young people formed a committee to exchange ideas. With the support of Department of Canadian Heritage and the help of Youth Employment Services Montreal (YES), we began to create a non-profit association. After all, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and other provinces all have active youth associations that represent the linguistic minority communities living there. We recruited young people with diverse backgrounds before forming an interim board in November 2017, which consisted of Malcolm Lewis-Richmond, Shae-Lynn Roberts, Jonathan Patton, Melanie Robertson, Alexander Gordon, Jonathan Seifert, Hayley Campbell, Gabriela Navarrete-Rolls, and Kenny Streule. The interim board launched a youth consultation process with the help of community partners to validate our hypothesis that a youth group in Quebec was needed. We became incorporated on January 20, 2018, and celebrated our official launch on March 23, 2018. At this meeting, we elected our first Board of Directors, including Malcolm Lewis-Richmond, Jonathan Patton, Melanie Robertson, Gabriela Navarrete-Rolls, Hayley Campbell, Nicholas Gertler, Ziona Eyob, Alexander Gordon, and Shae-Lynn Roberts. Y4Y Quebec opened its office and hired its first Director in June 2018, and has continued to grow ever since!
Y4Y Quebec is quickly becoming a credible force in the community; establishing an Advisory Board made up of qualified individuals with a track-record in the non-profit world; publishing multiple policy documents concerning the situation of English-speaking youth throughout the province; holding outreach events that strengthen community at the local level; bringing information to important stakeholders from the corporate sector and in government; empowering leadership locally through a growing regional ambassador program, and having fun while doing so!
Y4Y Quebec recognizes the important work that community partners serving the English-speaking community have achieved, and more recently in promoting the concept of a Province-wide youth association. Y4Y is always seeking new opportunities to collaborate with community and cultural organizations, student associations, government bodies and individuals whose missions may intersect with ours. If this sounds like something you are passionate about, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
HERE’S HOW WE ARE MAKING OUR VISION A REALITY AT Y4Y:
DELIVERING A PLATFORM
to share information on resources, training and networking opportunities, and employment/career services for English-speaking youth (age 16-30) via outreach to communities throughout Quebec;
SUPPORTING ENGLISH-SPEAKING YOUTH
in accessing support resources and networks through the help of regional ambassadors throughout Quebec;
OFFERING NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
for English-speaking youth in Quebec, to include opportunities for engaging with the official language majority;
PROVIDING A VEHICLE
for youth to take leadership roles in their community and inspire their peers to become involved in influencing public policy to ensure that all language groups are equally represented in Quebec society with the goal of optimizing employability, the acquisition of French language skills as well as social and economic integration;
CREATING A STRONG SENSE OF BELONGING
to the community so that all youth will feel a part of Quebec society.
Y4Y QUEBEC, 5964 AVENUE NOTRE-DAME-DE-GRÂCE SUITE 204, MONTREAL, QC, H4A 1N1, CANADA