Easter Seals Ontario is pleased to share information on the new Parent and Youth Advisory Committee. This newly appointed committee includes parents, youth and young adults and will provide advice to senior management about Easter Seals programs and services, as well as key issues that impact children and youth with physical disabilities and their families.
Discussion will be on a variety of topics, including:
- Advocacy – identification of issues that impact children and youth with physical disabilities and their families
- Services – review of Easter Seals’ plans for improving programs camping, recreation, equipment funding, scholarships, etc.
- Family Engagement – advice about Family E-Newsletter content, surveys, and family focused workshops
- Communications – opportunity to provide advice on how to increase public awareness of the needs of children with physical disabilities and their families
- 100th Anniversary Celebrations in 2022 – advice about how children, youth and their families can be included in the centennial activities
The committee will meet virtually four times a year in September, November, February and March. Each agenda will include two or three topics for in-depth discussion and feedback.
The plans are for a committee of 10 members, who will rotate over time. Initially, eight members have been appointed and two additional members will be selected next year. Terms are for two years renewable for two more years, and as vacancies occur new members will be added. Although the initial membership has been appointed, in the future there will be an application process to make sure diverse voices are heard.
The initial members bring the lived experience of youth and families, as well as experience in advocacy and committee work. The members are:
- Brenda – Parent and Easter Seals Ontario Board Member
- Terry – Parent of Past Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador
- Victoria – Young adult and past Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador
- Lillian – Parent and active advocate
- Shay – Youth and current camper
- Logan – Young adult and Scholarship Recipient
- Tyler – Young adult and past Easter Seals Provincial Ambassador
- Theresa – Parent and Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) member
At the first meeting held in September, members discussed the need for a strategy to engage youth who are supported by Easter Seals and learn more about their concerns and what they want to improve their lives. Members were also asked to identify priority advocacy issues which included accessibility at school, transitions at every stage, including leaving school, social inclusion at school, and support for caregivers.