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Apply for OACAS Youth Awards: Nominations 2017

AWARDS

OACAS manages award programs for youth in care, Crown wards or former Crown wards:

  • Clark Bursary (Multi-year up to 4 years, $3,500 per year) *subject to change accordingly to OSAP funding changes and restrictions.
  • Clark Grant (One-time $1,000)

The Clark Awards were established in 1989 through generous donations by Ron and Nancy Clark of Caledonia to assist youth in achieving their academic and career goals.   Over the years, the Clark Awards have expanded and include three options: multi-year bursaries, single-year grants, and one-time graduation awards.

Applications open starting February 14th, 2017 until April 28th, 2017!

Who can apply?

  • Awards are for youth in care, Crown Wards or Former Crown Wards of Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) in Ontario.  (Confirmed by a CAS Worker)
  • Attending full-time post-secondary studies at a OSAP verified institution.
  • Youth aged 21 years or older who are former Crown Wards may apply independently (one application per award)
  • Youth aged under 21 years old must be nominated by their worker and local Children’s Aid Society (Each Children’s Aid Society (CAS) agency can make ONLY ONE nomination per award, for a total of two different youth nominations)

You will need:

  • Confirmation of your Crown Ward status by a CAS worker.
  • One general reference letter.
  • Apply to Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) before the beginning of your semester.

How to apply:

  1. Review the Program Policiesand check eligibility to ensure you meet the criteria (former crown ward of Children’s Aid Society).
  2. Complete the online application
  • As an additional resource to help expedite the selection process, here is a WORD document version of the online survey so you can have an overview of the whole application.  PLEASE NOTE: this resource is only to support your selection process.  Nominations must still be submitted online.

Highlights of Changes for 2017:

  • Discontinued the Children’s Aid Foundation / PHD scholarship award
  • Changing the eligibility to allow youth 21 years and over to qualify
  • Allowing youth 21 years and over to apply independently of their agency (although ideally the CAS would be involved and supportive)
  • Requiring that youth apply for Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP)
  • Clark Bursary award funding is subject to change reflecting the modifications to OSAP funding and grants received by the recipient
  • Award recipients are to attend a Financial Literacy coaching webinar

AWARDS BACKGROUND:

Clark Awards

The Clark Bursary Fund was established in 1989 through a generous donation by Ron and Nancy Clark of Caledonia. It was created to assist youth in care and former wards to achieve their academic and career goals.

The Clark Bursary Awards are multi-year awards offered to young people who are pursuing post-secondary educational, employment or skills development programs and require financial assistance.  CASs may identify one nominee per agency for this multi-year award.  In 2017, the Clarks will support 25 youth with this generous award.  Bursary recipients will receive $3,500 annually for up to four years of post-secondary programming (one nominee per agency).

The Clark Grants are 20 one-time grants of $1,000 offered to young people who are pursuing post-secondary educational, employment or skills development programs and require financial assistance.  The grant is available for tuition, equipment, tools or other requirements to be used towards this training or professional development (one nominee per agency).

If you have any question regarding OACAS Youth Awards Scholarships, please contact awards@oacas.org

10th Annual YouthCAN Conference, YOUR STORY, YOUR SUCCESS!

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For the first time in YouthCAN history, the conference will be held at a university, McMaster University! It will be hosted in conjunction with McMaster’s Student Union.

The conference goal is to expose high school youth in care to post-secondary options and career opportunities.  This year’s YouthCAN Conference aims to develop leaders, build character, motivate and inspire youth in care to make their own successful story through communication, advocacy, and networking opportunities.

The YouthCAN team, in conjunction with the conference planning committee made up of CAS youth and staff from across the province, have worked hard to ensure that this year’s conference will have something for everyone!

BENEFITS OF ATTENDING

  • Enhance your communication, teamwork and leadership skills
  • Develop connections with over 250 participants
  • Motivating speakers, hands-on workshops, and activities
  • Expand your educational and professional options

CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

  • True post-secondary life experience through staying at McMaster University in Hamilton.
  • Various leadership, team and skill building activities (icebreakers, amazing race, and ALTITUDE leadership program).
  • Various interactive learning sessions for youth (3D theatre show, museum, nuclear reactor tour, and nature walks).
  • Youth transitioning out of care, post-secondary and OSAP educational session.
  • Energetic and motivational keynote speakers.
  • Lunch time “Exhibition Fair” and “Career Crawl” with 15+ community organizations.
  • Access to unlimited photo prints with fun Photobooth.
  • Free time with organized sports available.
  • YouthCAN Talent Open Showcase:   Everyone is welcome to showcase whatever talents they have on stage.  Ex. Singing, dancing, poetry, playing instruments, comedy skits, etc.
  • Group cheer/dance off at YouthCAN Talent Open Showcase and throughout whole conference.
  • Annual YouthCAN dance.
  • Nightly fire pit.
  • Prizes to be won for both youth and staff.

 

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS 

YOUTH SUPPORTS & TRANSITIONS 101

This workshop will briefly cover supports and resources related to OCBE, CCSY, education, financial, and health supports.  Overview of general tips and knowledge to prepare youth to transition into independence.  *Max 35 people per session.

Benefits: Educational, life-skills, communication, transitions, resources.

3D THEATRE SHOW: “Mars: A World on the Edge”

Discover the red planet in 3D, as we explore its structure, habitability, and the possibility that it was the site of a “second genesis” of life in the solar system.   *Max 100 people per session.

Benefits: Educational, astronomy, history, and sciences.

MUSEUM OF ART

Explore the unique exhibits within McMaster’s own Museum of Art. The Museum serves as a cultural hub for the University campus and the region through dynamic and multi-disciplinary exhibitions and programs, scholarly interpretation and preservation of collections, and innovative practices in museology.  *Max 30 people per session.

Benefits: Educational, artistic, history, and sciences.

NUCLEAR REACTOR TOUR

Experience the McMaster Nuclear Reactor tours of the nuclear reactor facility. Each tour is conducted by a trained guide staff member and is approximately 30 minutes in duration.          *Max 30 people per session divided into 3 groups of 10.

Benefits: Educational, artistic, physics, history, and sciences.

CLIMBING WALL

The Climbing wall (30 feet wide, 36 feet high) caters to all skill levels with a variety of routes for beginners and experts! *Max 22 people per session.

Benefits: Teamwork, leadership, communication, physical fitness, dexterity.

ALPINE TOWER

The tower’s combination of traditional high ropes elements and unique climbing routes provides participants with a wide range of personal challenges. The auto-locking, top rope, participant-belay safety system stresses the importance of effective communication and trust in a team setting.   With a variety of universal accessibility options and over 40 routes to the top, the Alpine Tower II provides challenging options for everyone.  *Max 50 people per session.

Benefits: Teamwork, leadership, communication, physical fitness, dexterity.

MINUTE 2 WIN IT!

The participants will have 60 seconds to complete each challenge which involves physical skill, teamwork, and communication.  *Max 35 people per session.

Benefits: Teamwork, leadership, communication, physical fitness, dexterity.

GROUP INITIATIVES

Team Development Course initiatives test the group’s communication, planning, problem solving, leadership, and decision making skills through unique, challenging exercises. This creative and fun team building experience gives real results in group learning, group bonding and problem solving. Learn better communication unity and group understanding and dynamics. Watch your team bond as they conquer “the great divergence”, “the cross over”, and many more exciting new challenges.  *Max 35 people per session.

Benefits: Teamwork, leadership, communication, physical fitness, dexterity.

2015 9th Annual YouthCAN Conference: Gear Up For SUCCESS!

YouthCAN Annual Conference

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The 9th Annual YouthCAN Conference, Gear up for Success!  For the second year in a row, the conference will be held in conjunction with Humber College’s YEAH program (Youth Enrichment at Humber).

The conference goal is to expose high school youth in care to post-secondary options and career opportunities.  This year’s YouthCAN Conference aims to develop leaders, build character, and provide a platform to Gear up for Success in communication, advocacy, and networking opportunities.

The YouthCAN team, in conjunction with the conference planning committee made up of CAS youth and staff from across the province, have worked hard to ensure that this year’s conference will have something for everyone!

View Conference Program
Facebook Page

Monday Schedule | Tuesday Schedule | Wednesday Schedule

Some highlights of Gear up for Success conference include:

  • The Youth Alumni Panel:  Former youth in care will share tips about high school, transitioning out of care, independent living, entering post-secondary and starting their careers!
  • The Professional Panel:  Successful industry professionals share their personal and career journeys.  Their career path consisted of several challenges and barriers that they’ve had to overcome to reach where they are today!
  • Interactive program sessions for youth on career planning, post-secondary life, animation, photography, health and the environment.
  • Various leadership, team and skill building activities (icebreakers, amazing race, and circuit challenges).
  • CAS staff will have their own mini-conference with time to network, discuss CAS hot topic issues, CAS agency showcase, zone planning, and presentations.
  • True post-secondary life experience through staying at Humber College’s modern North campus
  • Lunch time “Exhibition Fair” with 15+ community organizations.
  • Option to watch National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball game.
  • Access to unlimited photo prints with fun Photobooth
  • Your own YouthCAN T-shirt along with various fun SWAG materials.
  • YouthCAN Talent Open Showcase:   Everyone is welcome to showcase whatever talents they have on stage.  Ex. Singing, dancing, poetry, playing instruments, comedy skits, etc.
  • YouthCAN Art Showcase:  bring your personal arts and crafts you want to share with us!
  • YouthCAN dance
  • Prizes to be won for both youth and staff

Previous Annual Conferences

Click here for more information about previous conferences, the conference programs, and conference posters.

OACAS Youth Scholarship Awards (2015)

OACAS manages three awards programs for youth from Children’s Aid Society care:

  • Clark Bursary ($3,500 per year for up to 4 years maximum)  *25 awards per year
  • Clark Grant ($1,000 one-time) *20 awards per year
  • RONA/PHD Scholarships ($3,000 one-time) *14 awards per year (subject to funding)

APPLICATIONS OPEN starting January 14th 2015.   DUE BY February 28th 2015.

2015 Policies and Procedures

Who can apply?

  • Youth aged 21 years or older
  • Awards are for youth in care, Crown Wards or Former Crown Wards of Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) in Ontario.  (Confirmed by a CAS Worker)
  • Attending full-time post-secondary studies at a OSAP verified institution.

You will need:

  • Confirmation of your Crown Ward status by a CAS worker.
  • Complete the application.
  • One general reference letter.
  • Apply to Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) before the beginning of your semester.

How to apply:

To apply, download one of the two forms below and follow the instructions within the application.

i.  Application for Youth over 21 years of age applying independently.

ii. Application for Children’s Aid Society nominations on behalf of youth under 21 years of age.

iii. French Application

Clark Awards

The Clark Bursary Fund was established in 1989 through a generous donation by Ron and Nancy Clark of Caledonia. It was created to assist youth in care and former wards to achieve their academic and career goals.

  • In 1989, there were five bursaries of $250 awarded to young people in care.
  • In 1995, Ron and Nancy began contributing yearly to ensure 20 bursaries were available each year to deserving young people.
  • In 2000, they introduced the one-time Clark Grant of $1,000 to youth in care and former youth in care pursuing educational, employment or skills development programs.
  • In 2007, the Clark’s benevolence continued with the introduction of the Clark Graduation Award, a gift of $1,000 for Clark Bursary recipients completing their post-secondary studies and a generous graduation present from the Clarks.
  • In 2009, 20 new bursaries and 20 grants were awarded.
  • In 2013, 25 new bursaries will be awarded to align with the annual amount of the award with the OSAP, resulting in a maximum award of $3,500 for all students.

The Clark Bursary Award is available to youth in care and former wards pursuing post-secondary education. Students attending post-secondary education will receive $3,500 per year for up to four years . Upon completion of their studies, Clark Bursary recipients are eligible to receive the Clark Graduation award — a monetary gift of $1,000.
The Clark Grants Award is a one-time grant of $1,000 offered to young people who are pursuing educational, employment or skills development programs and require financial assistance. The grant is available for tuition, equipment, tools or other requirements.
Nominations for the Clark Bursary and Grant can be submitted by a Children’s Aid Society or independently by youth who are over 21 years old. The nominees are the selected candidates from their agency and will have secured a personal reference to support their application. An agency may nominate one youth for the bursary and one youth for the grant.


Childrens Aid Foundation Scholarships

In partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation (CAF), select RONA Home and Garden stores across Ontario collaborate each year to raise funds through the sale of JJ teddy bears. As a result of their fundraising efforts, these funds are provided to help youth in care and former youth in care pursue post-secondary education. In 2012, due to the continued generosity of RONA Home and Garden stores, OACAS is pleased to announce that one-time scholarships of $3,000 are available for youth in care and former youth in care pursuing post-secondary education.


PHD Canada Scholarship

OACAS has the privilege of honouring another one of its proud supporters with a scholarship under their name. Last year PHD Canada supported 7 students with one-time grants of $3000.

In January 2007, media buying company, PHD Canada (PHD), accepted OACAS as a pro-bono account. OACAS partnered with PHD to market the redeveloped Child Abuse Prevention Campaign in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, PHD continued their relationship with OACAS and launched the Public Engagement Campaign for Children’s Aid Societies in January 2010. In 2011, PHD raised money with their Big Hug Charity Day. In addition to providing their services pro-bono, PHD has hosted an annual golf tournament with proceeds supporting OACAS and children and youth in care.

If you have any question regarding OACAS Youth Awards Scholarships, please contact  Brian Van-Du at  awards@oacas.org or 416-987-5703.

 

Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI): Health coverage for youth 21-25

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) was announced in February and is funded by the Ontario government.

Former Crown wards and other youth who have left or are leaving care may be eligible to enroll in the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) Aftercare Benefits Initiative (ABI) providing comprehensive prescription, dental, vision, extended health benefits as well as a range of counselling and other life-skills supports (depression care, financial planning, career coaching, legal advice and much more).

Who is eligible to enroll in OACAS ABI?

  • Youth between the ages of 21 and 24 inclusive as of August 1st, 2014, who were eligible to receive Continued Care and Support for Youth (CCSY) or Extended Care and Maintenance (ECM), which includes youth:
    – who had Crown ward status that expired at age 18
     – who were subject to a protection (formal) customary care agreement or a protection custody order at
    age 18
    – who were eligible for support under the Renewed Youth Support (RYS) program
  • Children of eligible youth may also be registered for health benefits coverage

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8th Annual YouthCAN Conference: SUCCESS. It`s in your hands!

8.5x11 conference

 

8th Annual YouthCAN Conference:  SUCCESS.  It`s in your hands! The Ontario Youth Communication Advocacy Network (YouthCAN) unites over 250 youth in care in Ontario.  The highly anticipated event is focused on education, networking, skill building, and leadership development.  This year, for the first time the conference is being held at Humber College North Campus in partnership with the Youth Enrichment at Humber (YEAH!) program, providing stimulating academic experiences that venture beyond the scope of the traditional classroom.

 

 

Here are some of the highlights:

  • conference program
  • interactive workshops for youth
  • staff leadership training for Children’s Aid Society staff chaperones
  • Children’s Aid Society showcase
  • a lunchtime “Opportunities Fair” poster session on August 13th featuring over 15 community organizations that serve youth in and from care
  • An introduction to Humber College and interactive sessions
  • “YouthCAN Idol” Talent Show
  • YouthCAN Dance
  • Recreational sports
  • Lots of prizes  to be won for both youth and staff
  • Opening keynote by Mat Todd

On top of the jam-packed and fun program, youth and staff will get a real “post-secondary” experience at Humber`s recently renovated campus!  You will eat at the college, sleep at the residence centre and hear from Humber staff about programs, services and supports for students. There will be lots of opportunity for youth to think about post-secondary education as an option.

Youth Civics Day, Celebrating the Official Children and Youth in Care Day

On May 14th 2014, in celebration of the Official Children and Youth in Care Day, OACAS and YouthCAN will be hosting a Youth Civics Day event at Queen’s Park.  This fun and educational day brings together youth and Children’s Aid Societies staff from all across the province to learn about provincial political processes and history.

Attendees will get an opportunity to:

  • participate in a guided tour facilitated by staff from the legislature.
  • visit the legislative chamber and participate in educational activities.
  • meet and mingle with Children’s Aid Staff and youth in care from across the Province during a lunch reception.
  • option to engage in a self-guided scavenger hunt.
  • option to participate in a youth talent show.

For more information about the Official Children and Youth in Care Day, click here.

 

Official Children and Youth in Care Day

It’s official! May 14th is now Children and Youth in Care Day

In late March, the Honourable David Onley, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, granted royal assent to Bill 53, an Act to Proclaim Children and Youth in Care Day.

This Act recognizes May 14 of each year as Children and Youth in Care Day, acknowledging the enormous contributions current and former Crown and Society wards make to the Province, as well as the strength, bravery and resilience shown by these children and youth in the face of adversity.

The new law is the result of a private member’s bill put forward by Soo Wong, MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt.

Mary Ballantyne, Executive Director of OACAS, said “On behalf of our children and youth, the Ontario Association of Children`s Aid Societies (OACAS) thanks the government, and particularly Soo Wong for marking May 14th as Children and Youth in Care day. This is one more way to show that we value our young people and acknowledge the unique experiences they face. Youth will now have a day that they can call their own, a day to be proud of and a day to feel united across Ontario. We thank MPP Wong for her dedication to making this day a reality.” 

Click here to learn more about Soo Wong`s private member bill.

Celebrating Children and Youth in Care Day

 To  celebrate this important milestone, YouthCAN and OACAS will be hosting a Youth Civics Day event at Queen’s Park on May 14th, 2014.  This event will unite youth in care from all across the province to connect, celebrate, and learn about provincial politics at the legislature.  For more information, click here.

Background

In November 2011, youth in and from care shared their experiences and stories growing up as Crown wards of the province during the Youth Leaving Care Hearings at Queen’s Park. The Hearings were the first of their kind in Canada and examined the challenges that Crown wards face when they begin to age out of care at 18. The project was organized in the format of Standing Committee Hearings and captured verbal and written presentations from over 200 individuals, primarily youth and former youth in care, as well as professionals serving children and youth. The youth organizers, panelists and presenters included many youth from the OACAS YouthCAN program. OACAS was officially represented at the hearings and comments are captured in the written report.

‘My REAL Life Book’ a report that outlined recommendations from the Youth Leaving Care Hearings, and written with the input of youth in and from care, was subsequently submitted to the government in May 2012 by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. The report called for “fundamental change” to better support youth as they transition from care, including the proclamation of a Children and Youth in Care Day.

Recent supports

Recently, new supports were announced for youth leaving care, including the creation of 50 Youth-in-Transition workers and access to health, dental and extended health services for young people previously in care, ages 21 to 24.

Click here to learn more about post-secondary supports for youth in care.

More needs to be done to help youth reach their full potential

These supports are an important step forward, but more needs to be done. Evidence shows youth often respond to crisis by running away and living on the street. Children’s Aid Societies are not currently permitted to protect youth of 16 and 17 years in need of protection from abuse or neglect.

Youth in care should have every opportunity to remain “at home” (in foster care, group care or ideally adopted) until they complete high school. However, current modes of practice continue to assume that youth leave foster care at 17 years of age. Research has demonstrated that youth have better chances of completing school if they remain at home until 21.

Click here to learn more about OACAS recommendations to support these young people to reach their full potential.

 

BEATING THE ODDS – SCHOLARSHIPS FOR YOUTH TRANSITIONING FROM CARE

BEATING THE ODDS – SCHOLARSHIPS FOR YOUTH TRANSITIONING FROM CARE

MO - Youth In Care Report_CoverBeating the Odds – Scholarships for Youth Transitioning from Care

Recently, focus has been increasing on youth in care as they transition to becoming adults. Statistics that track the progress of these young people as they move through the critical ages from 16 to 24 are not promising. Among other measures, youth in care are 46% less likely to complete high school than their peers, and only about 5% continue on to post-secondary studies.

Building on a 2011 pilot study involving 57 participants, this report explores the experience of 188 former youth in care associated with nine agencies in Ontario and Manitoba.

These young people fared better than many others in the same position. They completed
high school and are enrolled in or have graduated from university, college, or apprenticeship programs. All youth received post-secondary scholarships.

The studies tracked several factors related to the experience of these students,
with the main question being: Does making scholarships available to youth in care
affect their decision to seek out post-secondary studies?

To watch the Report Launch Webinar:

Watch the Webinar

To read more, download the full report:

Download the Report

South West Zone Event Peer Power

On Friday March 28th and Saturday March 29th, YouthCAN Southwest zone spent 2 days together in London Ontario at the Bryson Scout Camp.  They spent the first evening working on leadership and team building activities facilitated by St/ Leonard’s Society Peer Power facilitators.  The Peer Power team focused their training agenda based on areas the youth requested in the following training components: Communication skills, Leadership Development, Group Facilitation skills, Advocacy skills, Conflict Awareness and the Five-stage Mediation Process.

They spent the evening training on those life skill components followed by an evening dinner and movie out in the community.   The second day was continuous training and the goals were to develop leadership, advocacy, group facilitation and peer mentoring skills of the youth participants so they can contribute back at their local agency youth groups.

The Southwest Champions also used this time to tentatively plan the next meeting event and set the date for the fall on October 24th -25th 2014.