2017 AGM Highlights Another Busy Year!

“Bottom line-Change Happens!” That was the final note made by keynote speaker, Jackie Lake Kavanagh during the Southwestern Coalition to End Violence Annual General Meeting on November 16, 2017.

The Child & Youth Advocate for NL, Ms. Lake Kavanagh thanked Bernice Hancock, Executive Director with the Community Education Network for the invitation and opportunity to address the coalition members and others in attendance. During her keynote she spoke of her role as “Advocate for the rights of children and youth of our province.” With a short slideshow she highlighted the office’s role, mandate and services offered.  She cautioned that “we as adults shouldn’t assume what youth are thinking,” and that she and her office, “meet them{youth} on the grounds where they feel safe”

She informed the audience that the OCYA is in the process of a conducting a provincial listening tour where NL young people have a voice. They are travelling across the province going into schools, meeting with Choices for Youth, working with youth groups and speaking at events such as this to meet them where they are. “We can’t advocate for what we don’t understand” she said.

Joining in on the day’s events and speaking with Ms. Lake Kavanagh were 1st and 2nd year Community Studies students from the College of the North Atlantic. One student offered how the day helped her learn more about the OYCA providing networking opportunities as this is the form of work she plans to pursue.

Members of the local coordinating committees: BSG Coalition to End Violence, HELP Committee and Peaceful Communities shared several of their events from the past year, highlighting some first-time held events such as Pride Week in Port aux Basques and Strengthening Families in Stephenville Crossing.

Laura Alyward, Councilor with the Town of Stephenville spoke about the importance of the work done by the coalition and how great it is to see so many younger people involved in community work. She congratulated SWCEV on “all the good work {you} do.” Encouraging the coalition to continue strong with their violence prevention initiative. Ms. Hancock concluded the day by echoing Ms. Alyward adding that if never ceases to amaze her “how much work we are able to do with small amounts of money,” giving credence to the uniqueness of the SWCEV in how it operates different than the other nine regional coordinating committees across the province.

Operating under the Community Education Network, SWCEV fiances and administrative duties are carried out by CEN staff, allowing the majority of the funding provided by the Provincial Government of NL Women’s Policy Office-Provincial Violence Prevention Initiative to go back into the community through violence prevention programs, services and activities.

At the end of the day, many agreed this was an opportunity to come together to share information, motivate and inspire each other to continue forging a path to a world in which violence no longer exists.

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The Advocate for Children and Youth is an Independent Statutory office of the House of Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador.

http://www.childandyouthadvocate.nf.ca