The Youth Engagement Strategy offers different youth leadership opportunities for current and former clients of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. There are a few main ways: the Youth Advisory Council, the Youth mentorship program, and youth facilitators.
The Youth Advisory Council is a great way for current and former clients to get involved at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and gain volunteer experience while working alongside peers.
The Youth Advisory Council provides a sounding board for staff, students, scientists, clients and families to develop and evaluate Holland Bloorview programs and services. It also offers youth the opportunity to develop advocacy skills and be directly involved in creating possibilities for younger generations of Holland Bloorview clients.
The council is for current and former Holland Bloorview clients aged 14 and older who are independently mobile, committed to attending regular meetings, and motivated to contribute their ideas and work on projects.
You can join the council at any time during the year! It meets once a month between September and June. Snacks and attendant care are provided at in-person meetings. (Note: until further notice, the council is meeting virtually using Zoom for Healthcare.)
Youth mentors enhance the experience of clients and families at Holland Bloorview by offering a peer perspective. Youth mentors support the running of programs and services: they assist with workshops, meet with members of the Holland Bloorview community, and connect with clients who are interested in having a youth mentor.
What is a youth mentor?
Trained volunteers who speak to current Holland Bloorview clients about their own life experiences and answers questions about living with a disability.
How do I become a youth mentor?
- Attend an interview with the mentorship program coordinator
- Participate in a three-day training program after which candidates will be evaluated to see if they are ready to be mentors
- Complete volunteer resources and mentor registration packages
Who is mentorship training for?
- Current or former Holland Bloorview clients, ages 16 and older
- Youth in high school who are headed to college or university
- Youth currently attending university or college or recent grads
- Youth who are interested in sharing their life experience with others
What will training be like?
Training will be offered in workshop settings on a variety of topics that include advocacy, communication and confidentiality. You must attend all parts of the training.
What happens after I complete the training?
Upon successful evaluation, you can sign up to be a youth mentor who:
- Talks to Holland Bloorview clients about your life experience
- Speaks at life skills workshops for youth with disabilities
- Engages with members of the Holland Bloorview community
How long will I serve as a youth mentor?
If you complete training, we kindly ask you to commit to one year as a youth mentor. During that time, more workshops will be held to explore useful topics related to being a mentor. We will contact you during the year when mentorship opportunities arise to gauge your interest and availability.
What if I leave for college or university?
You can still be a mentor! Discuss this with the mentorship program coordinator
Holland Bloorview youth facilitators are:
- Young adults with a childhood-onset disability or acquired injury
- Paid members of the rehab team that help youth and their families prepare for transition to adulthood
- Young adults who act a resource for youth and their families by sharing personal experiences and insight.
Why would I want to talk to a youth facilitator
- Are you interested in or have questions about post-secondary education?
- Do you want to know about adult medical care and what to expect?
- Do you want proof that it pays to “grow up ready”?
- Do you want tips and tricks for navigating the adult world?
- Have a practical question? Get creative suggestions!