New beginnings for programs that help our community thrive!
Taking Youth Engagement to a New Level with the Youth CREW
Youth CREW is a program created to intentionally engage young people across Carizon, KW Counselling, and Monica Place. Members are welcomed to a space where they meet new people, learn new skills, share ideas, and have fun while helping us shape the work we do across our organization. Youth bring a dynamic lens to our work and bring lived experiences that offer a perspective we would not otherwise have. CREW is an exciting opportunity for us to gain this perspective, while helping youth develop skills they are striving to achieve.
CREW officially launched in October, and to date, we have 12 members involved in the program. So far, members have been focused on building connections and relationships and helping determine the structure of how CREW operates. This is a space of shared leadership where youth are actively involved in positively impacting our community and guide their own skill-building. And so, they have also been focused on identifying skills they want to learn that are meaningful to them.
The next phase for our CREW team is exciting. Soon, they will be accepting pitches from programs across the three organizations who want to solicit youth feedback for their projects. Youth will be selecting projects they are interested in and that align with CREW’s purpose. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store and how we can continue collaborating with the incredible youth who make up our CREW team!
It is exciting to see youth in our community utilize their leadership skills and access programs that encourage them to both participate in, as well as implement, practical positive change in our community. Thank you to our youth for sharing your perspectives and making the first few months of CREW so meaningful. Your ideas, energy, and desire for connection inspire us to reach new heights in youth engagement at Carizon, KW Counselling, and Monica Place. Our organizations and our community are a better place because of the work you are doing as leaders and advocates in Waterloo Region.
Redefining and Enhancing FASD Support in Waterloo Region
Did you know that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) affects approximately 2.5x more children than Autism Spectrum Disorder? In Waterloo Region, it is estimated that there are approximately 6000 children and youth living with FASD. This vast need has meant rethinking how to support these children and their families.
Last September marked the launch of this new approach; Plexus, a collaborative between Carizon, KW Habilitation, Lutherwood, and Sunbeam Community and Developmental Services, takes FASD support to a new level. Plexus simplifies service navigation for families providing a single point of contact for children, youth, and families needing support for FASD. Plexus makes it easy, taking the guesswork out of understanding where to go for help.
In addition, this past year we have been thrilled to see enhanced support from The Ministry of Health increasing funding to allow for more FASD assessments in Waterloo Region. In the past, only 9 FASD assessments could be completed annually, meaning many families would be put on waitlists. With the Ministry’s additional support, assessment capacity in our region has increased to 20 per year. Increased assessment capacity and an innovative approach to supporting those diagnosed with FASD means more children and families can thrive!
Carizon is Recognized As an Employer That Focuses on EDI
Carizon has been a long-standing partner with Immigration Partnership Waterloo Region. As part of this partnership, and in association with World Education Services (WES), last year, our Talent Development team played a critical role in a meaningful project to develop an Employer Playbook for Waterloo Region on the best practices for recruiting, hiring, and retaining newcomers and refugee talent.
Carizon shared some of the ways we support newcomers through our onboarding process. It was exciting to hear so much positive feedback from community partners about the focus and effort we put into supporting newcomer talent. Additionally, Carizon was honoured to receive an award through the Community Employment Literacy Committee. This award recognizes employers that go above and beyond in supporting newcomers and focusing on equity, diversity and inclusion. We are so proud of our Talent Engagement team’s work to enhance the experience for newcomers seeking and retaining employment opportunities in