Three hours, one DJ, and a stack of take-away containers on standby, CARE Connections was a child-and-youth-care-adjacent event held every 4-6 months open to Black and Indigenous folks and folks of colour. Attended by children and elders alike, the gathering was a space for anyone who was interested in thinking/talking about ways of caring for our communities and intervening in the harm caused by care systems.
Over music, food and vibes we made connections, talked, ate, generated questions, identified priorities and gathered up new strategies and resources to support each other in our interconnected living.
Some of our other work involved developing and facilitating professional development workshops for students, educators and direct service practitioners. Some places we’ve provided PD for are the Child and Youth Care Education Accreditation Board (CYCEAB), The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) - Child and Youth Services, and the School of Child and Youth Care at Toronto Metropolitan University (recently renamed). We were also invited to speak OACYC Annual General Meeting and 60th Anniversary Celebration, but we did what we do best and turned that into an interactive event, too!
CYC Calls to Action (SEED Grant)
Our very first grant! This $25,000 grant through Humber College funded a project to develop a set of CYC Calls to Action — a project arising from the conversations we were having at the CARE Connections events. The calls served as a guiding and living set of priorities for change in the field of child and youth care. Our research team presented their work at the OACYC provincial conference in 2019 and later that summer at the National Association of Child Care Workers biennial conference in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Collaboration has always been key to CARE’s work, so we were always excited to collaborate with other organizations or groups who were doing cool things or trying to figure it out like us. We’ve worked with small organizations (for example, in developing a materially beneficial equity strategy) and larger ones (for example, to get community input ahead of re-building a community hub). The latest of these collaboration is between CARE, TMU and the LAMP Community Health Centre where we are conducting a research project to identify exactly how anti-Black racism is taught, challenged and enacted within CYC preservice education.