Toronto Response for Youth (TRY)
What is the Toronto Response for Youth?
- It is a Peer Leadership project, intended to respond to incidents of hate and racism against communities, who are feeling isolated, marginalized and vulnerable.
- Youth from equity seeking communities, who are out of school and not employed on a full-time basis, are hired as Peer Leaders for a 34-week period.
- Peer Leaders are trained to go into the community and facilitate workshops that focus on how to identify and counter all forms of racism and discrimination; using community and legal resources; reporting hate crimes and building self esteem.
The Project Aims to:
- Provide "at-risk" youth with an opportunity to fight discrimination and with the necessary employment and life skills that will assist in meeting their employment and educational goals.
- Identify strategies to reduce hate crimes and reduce the number of hate-motivated incidents among youth
- Assist and support youth in identifying and reporting hate incidents.
- Affect a shift in the attitudes of youth that results in increased appreciation of diversity
- Implement hate prevention programs facilitated by and for youth that have the potential of replication after the project is completed.
- Have 80% of the peer leaders employed or in school three months after the projects completion.
How Does it Work?
- The project recruits peer leaders to work with other young people to raise awareness about the issues of hate and discrimination in Toronto.
- The peer leaders are trained on topics such as identifying and combating racism, human rights protection, conflict resolution, team building and facilitation techniques.
- After training is complete the peer leaders will visit schools, community centres and other venues to facilitate discussion workshops with groups of young people.
- Peer leaders will also participate in employment assessment and counselling sessions and develop their own long-term education and employment goals and a return to school/work action plan.
Peer Leader Education and Development
Peer Leaders participate in training workshops that include the following projects:
Peer Leaders will facilitate workshops to other youth on such topics as:
- Conflict Resolution and mediation
- Anti-bias/anti-oppressive curriculum including anti-Islamophobia
- Group dynamics
- Crisis intervention
- Team building
- Understanding and combating racism and other forms of systemic discrimination.
- Systemic roots of conflict.
- Effective facilitation
- Creating a safe environment
- Human Rights Legislation
- Building self esteem
- How to identify prejudice and racism
- What is a hate-related crime
- How not to become a victim of youth violence
- Where to go for help and support
- Reporting of hate-related crimes
- Crisis management
Did You Know?
In February 2002, the hate crimes unit of the Toronto Police Services issued a report that reveals hate crimes in Toronto more than doubled after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The biggest jump was in reported hate crimes against Muslims. In 2000, there was just one such incident reported; in 2001, there were 57. Of those 45 were directly attributable to September 11.