This post is part of our Behind the Scenes @PCYI_Org series. This series gives us an opportunity to share news about the various projects we’re working on, but it’s also a chance for you to learn more about us and to ask questions and make suggestions to help improve the quality of our work. Today our post is courtesy of our Research Manager, Dana.
I joined PCYI in October 2011 and have enjoyed the fast-paced and exciting work ever since. Much of the work I have been doing has involved large-scale primary data collection on children, youth and parents in Peel, which is a rare luxury for researchers. PCYI’s commitment to making sure our work is community-driven makes it that much more meaningful as a child and youth enthusiast and researcher, and ensures that the work we do is action-oriented. This means data are not only collected to establish a better understanding of the needs and experiences of families and young people alone, but also with the intent that the research will support decision-making for how PCYI and our partners can change how we plan for and work together to improve the outcomes of families and their children in Peel. Having change as an anticipated outcome of research and a way we measure our own success is one of the things that really attracted me to PCYI. The amazing team I work with was just icing on the cake!
The early years (0-6) is an area I have learned the most about at PCYI since much of my previous work focused on adolescence and young adults. Learning about this period and working with the dedicated Success By Six group has been both fascinating and somewhat serendipitous, as I have just completed the first trimester of my first pregnancy! The knowledge I have gained through PCYI and our community partners is an added benefit as a soon-to-be parent. I must admit however, that that while I have learned a lot about the early years and the resources available for parents here in Peel, I am no less nervous about becoming a parent. I still have many concerns (I am older than most of my friends were when they had their first child), and questions (Why on earth do they call this dreadful and unpredictable experience “morning sickness” when it can come on anytime and sometimes lasts all day?).
Being a soon-to-be parent in Peel makes me even more committed to making sure we are working together to improve the opportunities and outcomes of our children and youth. I hope you will continue to monitor our progress or get involved as we break new ground with the strong support of our community partners. Here are a few highlights to keep an eye out for in the coming months:
Dissemination from our study on parents in Peel:
- Upcoming webinar (TBA): focusing on the importance of the interaction between parental ethnicity and immigration status in shaping parenting experiences in Peel.
- You can also check out our first webinar from this study.
Recreation and After School Strategy to improve access and participation in recreational opportunities among young people in Peel:
- Report will be launched in the early spring (TBA).
- We are exploring the idea of a recreation app for young people through a sponsorship from Microsoft. A web-based app would help youth become more aware of opportunities offered by multiple service providers through the media they rely on most frequently (social media, the web).
Study on after school and recreation experiences of youth in Peel:
- Report will be launched in the late spring (TBA).
Dana is the Research Manager at the Peel Children and Youth Initiative, Adjunct Professor in Geography at the University of Toronto, and Vice-Chair of Safe City Mississauga. She completed her doctoral studies at McGill University, a post-doctoral fellowship at the Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy at the University of New Brunswick, and also holds degrees from the University of Waterloo and McMaster University. Dana is skilled in mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative research) and her research focuses on social determinants of youth development, health inequalities, neighbourhood contexts for health, crime prevention, settlement issues, and social policy development and evaluation.