Co-Lab was from Thursday to Saturday last week (here is Literacy Quebec's facebook announcement in case you missed it). Literacy Quebec was exhilarated to be a part of this great event that encouraged young people to work together with six organisations (Bishop's University, CEDEC, Phelps Helps, CASA Gaspé, Y4Y Quebec, Literacy Quebec), adding their touch of innovation to current community projects.
During the event, several issues were tackled, yet at the heart of each was the ultimate question of whether the English speaking young residents of Quebec can find a job in the province (check out these CBC interviews: Is there a future for young Anglos in rural Quebec? and Six young anglophones share their hopes and worries about their future in Quebec). Although many young English-speakers are feeling the pressure of finding a job in this province, our experience working with our team of three dynamic Bishop’s university students proved that the future is bright.
The three participants on our team, Yasmine, Victoria and Catherine joined forces with Gabrielle and I to find the most effective way to maximise the outreach of our Family Literacy Toolkit. We also challenged them to find creative ways to distribute our Toolkit among our member organizations while enhancing the presence of a safe community support.
Once the trio had been briefed on the story and goals of the toolkit, they took the project to the next level. They brainstormed the best ideas for the distribution of the toolkit both online and within community spaces such as the offices of our member organisations.
They came up with an original action plan that they explained in clear words, visuals (have a look below for some of the amazing slides they put together) and demos to a panel of judges. In the end, our team did not win the competition (congratulations to the winner, Casa-Gaspe), but they impressed us with their innovative ideas, brilliant minds, and beautiful personalities as well as their active involvement in the community through the volunteering and competitive projects they take part in, despite their busy schedules. Their investment in Literacy Quebec’s mission and vision was truly inspiring and we cannot thank them enough.
Finally, what we, as Literacy Quebec learned from this experience is that
· Embracing social media together with tangible, accessible props is the way to go for Family Literacy Toolkit – stay tuned for more exciting updates!
· We need more projects and events such as the Co-Lab that encourage young people to vocalize their opinions on community matters
· Last but not least, we must listen to young people. Their ideas can change the world by building bridges that bring people together over social, economic and cultural gaps in our ever-evolving world.