Through Richmond Children First, Helen Davidson has developed many projects that seek to promote the rights of children. She has conducted outreach to over 3000 children through creative art approaches. She was instrumental in having Richmond’s City Council endorse a Children’s Charter. She has engaged countless schools, city workers, support staff, librarians, organizations and early childhood educators, educating them on children’s rights. Throughout her work she has been noted as respecting and enhancing the voice of children.
More information about Richmond Children First here.
On November 18th and 25th youth who were in care or who had recently left care rocked Queen’s Park with the very first youth-run public hearings. It was an empowering, well-organized and emotional two days of hearings. Youth, professionals, families and friends shared their deep and personal experiences with a room filled with politicians, policy makers, community members, professionals, reporters and a panel of youth. The hearings made headlines and triggered feature stories but that was just the beginning. The stories and submissions from across the Province and beyond were gathered together into a report called My REAL Life Book which was presented to then Minister of Child and Youth Services, Dr. Eric Hoskins. The work of this group of young people reflects many of the Articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has served as a model for other similar endeavours in the province and across Canada.
After learning about First Nations children and youth who live on reserves in Canada through the Caring Society’s 7 Ways to Make a Difference campaigns, these classrooms of children knew that “it isn’t fair” that some young people receive less funding for essential services like education (Shannen’s Dream), child welfare (I am a Witness) and health (Jordan’s Principle). They knew that pursuant to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, Article 2 of non-discrimination, that the Government of Canada was not upholding their rights to First Nations children and youth. Article 12 of the UNCRC refers to a child’s right to express his or her views on issues pertaining to children and that is exactly what these classrooms of children did. These students developed several initiatives to support First Nations children and youth and to educate others about the issues.
Mamalian Diving Reflex is a Toronto-based performing arts organization that creates unusual and exciting ways for children and young people to exercise their rights through creative expression. They have developed what they have called The Mammalian Protocol for Working with Children. The Protocol is based on the full recognition of children as rights-holders. It was developed to guide the Mammalian Diving Reflex performance company in its work with children and in collaboration with other organizations. The protocol is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and specifically references ten Articles of the Convention.
Co-founded by Natasha Daniel and Amanda Parris in 2006, Lost Lyrics is involved in local and international programming where communities express and produce new ways of challenging the status-quo. Lost Lyrics is described as a movement that enables and empowers young people to tell their own stories through theatre, poetry, rap, public speaking and song. It is an innovative learning incubator that allows young people to create a bridge of knowledge between the streets and the classroom. Students define the curriculum and create a positive and reflective self-image while having fun using arts-based tools of education.