What Does This Mean?

Outward focus: Youth focus on being in service to community and making a difference in the lives of other youth, the greater community, and the natural environment. * Space is created within institutions/organizations for youth voice and participation. * Youth have opportunities to establish connections and build relationships with the community.


Outward Focus. Having an outward focus helps youth feel a greater sense of purpose. Service learning is an example of how mutually beneficial relationships and learning experiences can be created.

Create Opportunities. Most institutions and structures in society do not naturally have opportunities for youth voice, decision making, or meaningful participation. It can take dedication, perseverance and imagination to find mutually beneficial opportunities for youth that offer genuine involvement.

Community Relationships. Initiatives where youth can engage within the greater community create value for the youth and for the community. Building relationships with community members can help build a sense of belonging and attachment to the community as well as provide future friendships, volunteer or work opportunities.

Examples of focusing on impacting the community.

  • Dealing with Illicit Drugs
    Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
    Youth engage their communities with the aim of empowering citizens and young people to be proactive in addressing and reducing the individual and community harm from illicit drugs in their communities. This helps strengthen; Community partnerships, knowledge on illicit drugs, and creates opportunities for everyone to be involved in creating solutions.
  • Placemaking in Bridgewater
    HeartWood Centre for Community Youth DevelopmentVisit Website
    A great video showing the transformative power of youth engaging their community in beautification of their neighbourhood. Placemaking is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces.
  • Choosing a Charity
    Youth Art Connection
    To be able to go to WE Day, the youth at Spryfield decided to hold a fundraiser. They had complete control over choosing one local and one international charity to raise money for.
  • Music Studio
    Centreline Studios, In My Own Voice (iMove)
    At its inception Centreline Music Studio was conceived as a youth engagement and re-direction strategy. Young people in the community continued to experience the impact of fractured family units, intergenerational poverty, historical trauma causing continued isolation and marginalization at the community level, coping through drug use, low levels of academic involvement and achievement and a fascination with gang culture and paraphernalia. In partnership with the community, a music studio was created to keep youth engaged and interested. Centreline Studios has played a pivotal role in transforming the neighbourhood by giving youth a consistent place to meet, a fun and creative focus, and the opportunity to make positive impact on their community.

Resources to help focus initiatives on community impact!

Community Engagement Tool Kit
YTM Tool Kit Section 3, Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
Community engagement is fundamental to the approach that Youth Truth Matters has taken for dealing with illicit drugs in the community. Section Three of the YTM Tool Kit gives examples of how to set up events and presentations used in community engagement around the topic of illicit drug use. The events covered include; Health Fairs, Youth forums, Adult Forums, and other suggested events. Presentations are for parents/guardians (The Drugs, The Social Issues, Talking to Youth) , and for councils or stakeholders. Visit the website for more information.

Linking Community with Education: An Introduction to Service Learning
HeartWood Centre for Youth Community Development
This booklet compiles interviews with students and teachers from a number of schools in Nova Scotia, as well as information gathered in the past five years from HeartWood’s service learning initiatives and trainings with schools across the province.

Workshop Materials: Illicit Drugs & Social Issues
YTM Tool Kit Sections 2 & 4, Youth Truth Matters, Tri-County Women’s Centre
These workshop materials focus on illicit drug use in our communities and the social issues that young people are facing. They were created by youth, for youth. Section Two: Youth Created Workshops outlines activities, presentations on illicit drugs, games and tools that can be used when engaging youth in these topics. Section Four: Social Issues provide workshop materials for Body Image & Eating Disorders, Bullying, Gender Stereotypes, Homelessness, Hypersexualization, Mental Health, Pornography, Racism, Relationships, Roots of Abuse, and Self Harm. See the website for the complete tool kit.

Also found in Principles E (Environment), P & T of this website.

Social Action Resource Guide
Healthy Relationships for Youth, Antigonish Women’s Recourse Centre
The intention of the Healthy Relationship for Youth (HRY) Program Resource Guide is to is to support and enable HRY youth facilitators and teachers to take action and make change in their classrooms, schools and communities. Youth engagement is a valued part of social change in our communities and the HRY Program Resource Guide seeks to value and highlight the work youth have done and inspire other youth to take action for issues of concern to them.

Strategic Questioning
A powerful process to help people connect to finding which social and/or environmental areas they care the most about. The four types of questions help people go deeper into listening to both the head and the heart. This is a great activity that brings clarity and focus, helps people practice the skills of deep listening, and is ideal to do before action planning.

Great Minds Think Outside
New Brunswick Environmental Network
This program is the first if its kind in New Brunswick. It will give teachers and educators the skills, tools, and resources they need to teach their students outside – whatever the subject matter. All learning outcomes can be met in an outdoor setting with a little creativity! Research has shown many benefits to teaching outdoors, including the improvement of mental and physical health, improved behaviours, and a stronger connection to nature.