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February 8, 2006
Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation helps youth gain resilience
Today, at Lawrence Heights Community Centre, Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation hosted a forum on Youth Resilience, a relatively new approach that strives to build supports around youth and help them to make the right decisions, when faced with life’s tough choices.

Over 200 workers from social service and community agencies and organizations from across the city were in attendance along with members of the Toronto Youth Cabinet and Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s 31 new Youth Outreach Workers, who strive to engage youth who are from at-risk neighbourhoods, have a disability, or are newcomers to the city.

The guest speaker was Dr. Michael Unger, a social worker, marriage and family therapist and Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University, who is internationally known for his work on youth resilience.

Dr. Unger’s presentation dealt with the ways professionals can nurture resilience among youth and he provided comment on the following questions:

1. What can and should we do to promote resilience among youth from at-risk neighbourhoods, newcomer youth and youth with a disability?

2. How do we know what level of service a youth needs for them to succeed? Is outreach enough? Is a referral enough? Can we be more holistic in our approach?

3. How can we best address problems of risk among youth, such as violence, suicide, high drop out rates from schools and substance abuse?

4. What are some strategies and techniques for developing a positive rapport with youth?

In the afternoon, the Youth Outreach Workers and Toronto Youth Cabinet members had a closed session with Dr. Unger to discuss their work with high-risk youth and get their specific questions answered. Tomorrow, the outreach workers will be back in the community a little wiser and eager to put into practice everything they learned.

Media Contact:

Parks, Forestry and Recreation Media Hotline



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