ReRooting Relationships

Team members: Jocelle Refol (SFU Health Sciences), Sarah Law (SFU Sociology)

In an era of isolation and wicked problems, holding space for youth to find their places within the social change ecosystem in an environment that promotes shared learning, equity and justice, collaboration, and dialogue is increasingly crucial. In our experience, a key barrier to community engagement is knowing where to start.

We have learned that activism is not something you do alone – systemic problems require a collective and community response. As young and budding activists, we were lucky to come across community organizations and each other to build connections in our civic engagement journey. These relationships allowed us to build a foundation of knowledge and a network to bring us a sense of direction and support in tackling the world’s wicked problems.

With funds from the SFU Student-Community Engagement Competition, we will create and run a summer program for a cohort of 15 youth (priority QTBIPOC) to engage in a series of relationship-building workshops based on community engagement and social justice. We envision a program that focuses on strengthening bonds between passionate youth and community organizations to mobilize for civic engagement by co-creating community development tools and enhancing participants’ personal power. This program focuses on the impact of relationships, rather than projects, resulting in sustainable partnerships that can be maintained beyond a deliverable. We hope to hold a space that prioritizes collective learning that is bound by genuine connections that have abundant potential for social change.