About YOUNG VOICES CAN!
Mission Statement: Young Voices Can! is an Ottawa-based charitable organization working to foster open dialogue, mutual understanding and inclusion among young people of different ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds.
YVC! uses a program-based approach where young people develop conflict resolution, leadership and global citizenship skills. Our goal is to bring together youth of diverse backgrounds and teach them to work, learn and build bridges together in and among their respective communities.
World events have polarized communities. We target youth: future leaders whose views are not yet entrenched. There is no cost to participants. Spearheaded by Ashbury College, we partner with Ottawa High schools to provide leadership and conflict resolution skills. We believe mixing disadvantaged and advantaged youth helps foster mutual understanding of different challenges and lifestyles. Participants from Ottawa will include Muslim and Jewish youth as well as young people from local indigenous nations. We hope that attendees who feel that they do not have emotional or social support will be made to feel safe and welcome. We encourage participants to seek out an active understanding of others’ perspectives and challenges.
We help eliminate prejudice by creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for our participants who would not usually have an opportunity to be exposed to each others cultures. Annually, we hold a 9-day Summer Institute, where the Ottawa Students get together with youth from the Jerusalem International YMCA who are enrolled in a similar program. By introducing Canadians to Israelis and Palestinians, we facilitate an understanding of, and appreciation for, diversity.