At a presentation event on April 17, the City of Mississauga received “gold status” as a Youth Friendly Community from Play Works – a group of organizations across Ontario that have joined forces to encourage communities to open doors and reinvest in youth play. The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport presented the award to Ward 3 Councillor Chris Fonseca, City staff and members of the city’s youth community.
“We are very fortunate to have active and involved youth in Mississauga,” said Ward 3 Councillor Chris Fonseca. “Our youth have a strong voice in our community through our strategic planning initiatives, our Youth Plan and through strong relationships with community organizations that encourage youth participation in sport, culture and civic involvement. Youth in Mississauga are helping to form their future.”
The City of Mississauga prepared the Play Works Youth Friendly Community application in collaboration with the University of Toronto Mississauga Geography Department and local youth serving agencies and partners. The application successfully demonstrated that Mississauga met 14 of the 16 youth friendly criteria at the gold level which, among other criteria, included the following:
Youth have options for play
Youth have access to recreation, arts, library and outdoor park opportunities and participate in a variety of structured and unstructured drop in programs. The City’s individual programs were noted to be very diverse with a large selection of play options available to them.
Youth are formally connected to the community
Youth have a variety of opportunities to formally connect to the community allowing them to have a voice locally on community centre and library youth advisory committees, city-wide on the Mississauga Youth Advisory Committee or through youth serving agencies such as Nexus Youth Centre, My Games, Peel Environmental Alliance, Youth Troopers For Global Awareness and school board youth advisories.
It is easy for youth to find information about play activities in the community
The City of Mississauga and City organizations include youth friendly communication that encourage access to information about youth programs and services. Communication includes the City’s Connect2rec website www.mississauga.ca/youth and dedicated Facebook pages, newsletters, bulletin boards and e-mail.
The community supports youth volunteerism and leadership development
Mississauga Youth Games supports youth leadership through active programs and offers youth the opportunity to volunteer at community events. Other youth volunteer, mentoring and leadership opportunities are available through the City, assisted by a full-time volunteer co-ordinator, Volunteer Peel, Big Brothers and Sisters of Peel, Nexus Youth Services and the Mississauga Youth Advisory Committee. These organizations encourage young people of all ages to get involved programs and get engaged in meaningful volunteer activities throughout Mississauga.
“The success of the City’s Youth Plan shows us that Mississauga has become a place where youth feel welcome and engaged,” said Mississauga’s Community Development Co-ordinator Joanne Foote. “Young people in our city are participating in programs and helping to lead a number of creative and active initiatives. There are fantastic programs and organizations out there in our community building on the City’s vision for youth to belong and thrive as equal members of our community.”
For more information about the City of Mississauga’s Youth Plan and Mississauga Youth Movement, go to the City’s website at www.mississauga.ca/youth or on Facebook. For more detail about the City of Mississauga selection as a Youth Friendly Community, contact Joanne Foote, Community Development Co-ordinator at 905-615-3200, ext. 5319 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
As Canada’s sixth largest city, Mississauga is home to 741,000 residents and more than 54,000 businesses, including more than 60 Fortune 500 companies with Canadian head offices or major divisional head offices. A diverse, progressive and award-winning municipality located on the shores of Lake Ontario in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area, Mississauga is “Leading Today for Tomorrow” by focussing on delivering services, implementing its Strategic Plan, delivering value for money and maintaining infrastructure.