Re:Action4Inclusion and the seeds of change
Future inclusion leaders sets sights on working with youth
Wednesday July 25, 2012 -- Kristian Partington
Hundreds of young people have been impacted directly through involvement with re:Action4Inclusion youth leadership conferences hosted by Community Living Ontario over the past four years.
In a short journey through conversations with past attendees and youth organizers, Community Living Leaders has clearly seen this impact has potential to reach infinitely more young people as the message of inclusion spreads.
Becky Alves, for example, is going into her second year of study at the University of Toronto with every intention of becoming a teacher. The values and lessons she learned during three years of involvement with re:Action as a youth organizer and then alumni speaker informs her today as she looks to the future.
“Inclusion is something I’ve always believed in but I never actually really advocated for it or taught people about it; I just kind of knew what my beliefs were and I tried to apply them in my life,” Alves says.
“Re:Action4Inclusion really got me involved in teaching others and inspiring others to create change to really make a difference.”
In terms of the principles of inclusion in our schools, she says more could be done to target up-and-coming educators in universities, as well as those currently in the system.
One of the reason Alves says she chose to study concurrent education was to be closer to the schools system to affect change.
“Whatever class I teach I want to teach students the idea of accepting people for who they are,” she says, echoing the same sentiment of fellow re:Action alumni who recently spoke with Community Living Leaders about their intentions to bring inclusive sensibilities to youth through their careers.
Emily Branje is heading into her third year in concurrent education studies at Queen’s University this September; Kelsey Marina Hunter is studying to become a child and youth worker; 18-year-old Mike McCready says he’s unsure of exactly what his plans are for post-secondary education, but after his involvement with re:Action, he knows he wants to work with young people.
If the seeds of an inclusive society must be planted in young minds, re:Action4Inclusion is setting the stage for true change.
“These events really challenge the way people think and, in my opinion, the first step of really creating change is changing people’s attitudes, kind of opening up their minds to new ideas,” says Alves.
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