Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for the Peel Children and Youth Initiative (PCYI) would like to inform our many community partners of some significant changes effective February 8th. Based on the revenues that we have committed for 2017, prudent and appropriate steps have been taken to significantly downsize the organization.  The Executive Director will be retained to ensure that PCYI completes its existing commitments and meet its obligations as we look to the future and a renewed mandate.

The Board will use the next few months to thoughtfully re-examine PCYI’s vision, mission and mandate. We will carefully consider how our very committed community partners can contribute most effectively to system wide planning in the Region of Peel. We thank the Region of Peel for their past support and remain confident that as the organization goes forward we will establish a renewed collaborative relationship in the best interests of the Region’s children and youth.

The Board of Directors acknowledges the many important and lasting accomplishments made by PCYI over the past five years. They have been achieved through the strong support of the Region of Peel and our many collaborative community partners, all leaders in the field of children and youth services. We would particularly like to extend our gratitude to the outgoing staff for their strong work in research, the development of new community partnerships, and their many lasting contributions to improve outcomes for children and youth across Peel.

Farewell to PCYI Youth Advisory Council and Board Member, Ryan Tilley

Ryan1The Peel Children and Youth Initiative Youth Advisory Council, staff and Board of Directors extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to Ryan Tilley, Youth Advisory Council and Board Member, as he moves on from his roles.

Ryan is a founding Youth Advisory Council member and has served for five years. Ryan has made many important contributions to the work supporting youth in Peel. He has played a key advisory role in PCYI’s Voices: A Study of Youth in Peel and Peel’s Kids Participate: A Recreation and After School Strategy. He assisted in facilitating focus groups of his peers to advise on issues that matter to youth in Peel, informing the system-level actions of leaders in the youth serving sector.

Ryan acted as an ambassador for the Play in Peel recreation app, spreading the word as to how youth could more easily access recreation opportunities. He also helped to plan and coordinate the annual Peel Youth Leaders Conference, providing an opportunity for his peers to build their toolkit of leadership skills. Plus, he acted as an important resource in PCYI’s volunteer audit project. Through his work, Ryan has made many presentations as a representative of the Council.

Ryan3Ryan has sat as a youth representative on the PCYI Board of Directors for four years, diligently serving as a full voting member. He regularly provided updates to fellow board members on the work of the Youth Council, as well as feedback from a youth perspective on board initiatives. He attended meetings, retreats and events while managing his school schedule.

Ryan demonstrated great leadership and is well respected by his fellow Council members – current and past. His dedication, commitment and contributions are admired by his peers on the Council, colleagues on the Board and staff. We wish Ryan well as he moves on to future endeavours. All the best, Ryan!

BLOG: YAC members reflect on Winterfest event

Participants gather at Studio 89 Dec 21, 2017, for PCYI’s Winterfest event.

On the evening of December 21, PCYI’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) hosted WinterFest, a youth social, open mic and clothing drive, at Studio 89. Tobi Ajibolade, PCYI’s Youth Engagement Coordinator elaborates,

The purpose of the ‘Winterfest’ Social was to bring awareness to youth homelessness, by engaging the community through various art forms and putting action behind their words with a ‘new & used’ clothing drive. We were able to collect over 100 items of clothing, from warm socks to winter jackets and donate it to a non-profit operating in the Peel Region called “Straight to the Streets”. During a time of increased commercialism, it was refreshing to be able to give back to our neighbours.

Below are some reflections from Youth Advisory Council members who took part and assisted with the planning:

Some of the clothing donated to the Winterfest clothing drive.

The social we ran at Studio89 was something I instantly fell in love with. Coming into it, I must say I was a bit stressed because of school and due dates (I had a math test the next day), and that day had not been the best day for me. Despite that I was determined to make something out of it – whatever that may be. 

I genuinely love to talk – I talk a lot to ANYONE, and when I am given the chance to talk passionately about something I believe in, I never

fail to seize the opportunity. This social really touched me and I only wish I got to stay for the entire thing. I thrive as an individual when I am surrounded with like-minded people who have similar passions because that is not something I always get to share with my friends. I believe that spoken word is the unsaid words of society that only seem to be acceptable when said with evident passion and I saw that through several of the performances. Some of the things said truly did touch me (the one performer who talked about Christmas and what the actual meaning of it is. Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I do have other religious events in which I do agree that we sometimes forget the initial meaning of why we celebrate it). When I got to sit down with other performers who I have never even met before, it’s like an instant click that we have despite the age gap. I was able to talk to them and reciprocate similar passions. I do wish that my performance was a bit stronger, but I was happy with what I put out. 

I still am relatively new to the Council and don’t know a lot of the members very well, so this gave me the opportunity to get to know the people who did show up a bit better – it was a nice way to bond and I would definitely love to continue to know them better. The clothing drive brought back a lot of good memories because when I was in middle school, my school was down the road from a Value Village and after my family’s spring cleaning we had a lot of clothing to donate, so I took action and created a school wide clothing mountain that was very successful. My goal was to have every student carry a grocery size bag of clothing as we did the school wide walk and we exceeded that goal both years. It felt nice to give back to people who were less fortunate because what seems to be small on my behalf, can be huge for someone else. 

Isra Amsdr

Isra is a grade 10 student in Peel and a member of the PCYI Youth Advisory Council. She calls herself a lifelong learner who is passionate about equality and ensuring that everyone has the right to free speech and education. Isra enjoys writing, public speaking, literary arts and visual arts.


Members of the PCYI Youth Advisory Council at Winterfest.

I would say that I had a fun and different experience at Studio 89. The atmosphere was pretty cool and I never knew about Studio 89 so it was nice to check out a place that does good for the community. The performances were pretty cool – from Isra (a member of the YAC) to the motivational speaker. It was different and it gave quite a few people a chance to see some talent from people in their community. I thought the clothing drive was very cool. I had clothes that I wanted to donate for a while. It was convenient that there was a clothing drive at this event. That way people can come to this event and drop off some clothes for donation at the same time.

Walid Nawaz

Walid works as an electronic technician. He enjoys public speaking, self-development, biking, video games, weightlifting and spending time with friends. Walid’s goals include  travelling the world and giving a Ted Talk. He has been on the Youth Advisory Council since September 2015.

You’re invited to PCYI’s December Data Drop-in Sessions

This month’s focus is on Program Evaluation

Two dates to choose from:

Wednesday December 14, 2016
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Monday December 19, 2016
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Peel Children and Youth Initiative
50 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.
Suite 417 – 4th Floor of the LINK WAY
Access a building map here

No registration required, no cost – just drop in!

The Peel Children and Youth Initiative’s Executive Director, Graham Clyne, will be on hand to answer your questions and give advice about program evaluation in a casual and informal setting. Graham is a national leader in the non-profit sector, published author in the areas of research and economic evaluation and has extensive experience in research design and program evaluation.

Here’s how it works:

  • Drop in any time between 9 and 11, or stay for the whole time.
  • Bring a question about program evaluation, a project you are working on or a potential research project.
  • We will offer advice. We will work on one question at a time on a first come, first-served basis.
  • Each question is taken at a group table, so everyone can learn and contribute.
  • No experience necessary! Beginners are very welcome

Examples of questions:

  • Where can I find information on X or Y?
  • How could I collect my evaluation data more efficiently?
  • Help! I have no idea where to start with my program evaluation.

For more information about attending a session, contact:
Andrea Lue, Executive Assistant
289-201-1099 ext. 410

BLOG – The Great Canadian Race: How I Overcame Hurdles as an Immigrant

Reposted from INKspire

This blog post was written by Marchael Cunanan, a PCYI Youth Advisory Council Member. Learn more about Marchael on LinkedIn at and follow Marchael on Twitter: @MarchaelCunanan

The journey of youth immigrants through the education system in Canada is similar to a grueling marathon. Most people that are new to the experience have a hard time at first. Everyone is bound to encounter a few surprises along the way; but there is also an indescribable and rewarding feeling at key points in the race.

I recently finished my degree at Western University and I am lucky enough to start my career in my desired field of accounting. To boot, I am on track to continue my education as I pursue my accounting designation. I’m not at the finish line yet, but I’m close enough to the end to have a full opinion of the realities that youth immigrants encounter in Canada.

Having migrated to Canada from the Philippines when I was eleven, I am fortunate as high school dropout rates from my native country hover over 50 percent according to the 2015 data from the National Department of Education. Yikes. This isn’t to say that the school system here is perfect, but at least the dropout rate is much much lower.

I’ll be the first to admit that I stumbled at the starting line. I arrived in Canada with little to no knowledge of the English language, common sayings and gestures were foreign to me and the mannerisms of my classmates were very strange. There was some help in the system, but I had a very tough start. However, would you believe it if I told you that I would go on to win the Language Arts award among my graduating class two years after my arrival? And I was fortunate enough to come out of university with a Certificate in Professional Communications with distinction.

Part of my involvement at Western University provided me with an amazing opportunity to speak in front of 1,500 people about civic engagement. (Photo by: Tianlin Zhu)

I believe that the start of my success was highly correlated with breaking through language barriers and getting involved. I struggled at first, but every single lesson I learned in communicating empowered me. I’m not alone. The Peel Children and Youth Initiative released the “Voices” report, which is a study of youth in the Region of Peel (the area where I grew up.) This study had a sample size of 2,187 secondary students, with insights from an additional 149 youth through focus groups, back in 2013. The organization found that 11 percent of individuals like me with an East Asian background struggled with the same issue of language as a barrier when they wanted to become engaged. From my experience, I feel that number may be higher, but I’m glad that students identified an issue that had not become apparent to me until much later on in my youth. Additionally, the research also showed that schools and organizations can do a much better job of letting young people know how to get involved.

Youth immigrants to Canada are some of the most vulnerable members of the educational system because of the drastic changes in their lives and the unfamiliarity of their new environment. Stepping foot in my first English as a Second Language class was intimidating. My initial extracurricular meeting was nerve-wracking. People that were kind enough to be my new friends formed my informal English conversation circle. The latest blockbusters served as a tool to help me learn about Canadian youth culture. Even with the kindness of others, it was all very overwhelming.

A common factor within those examples is that I was initially exposed to all of them while I was at school. We can’t boast about a great educational system without having the right resources available to new students immigrating here. Ultimately, the onus is on the new student to get involved and pave their way to success. However, it certainly makes it easier if they had a welcoming and nurturing environment that sets them up for success. I had a positive experience because I had a good support system. Others are in more complicated situations and it might not be as easy, especially if financial problems are in the picture. Educators, bureaucrats and youth leaders need to keep in mind the struggles of youth immigrants in shaping education policy.

As the borders of our world dissolve, the barriers that stop people from being able to create a better future must also break. In order for Ontario and Canada to remain competitive in the global landscape, new Canadians entering the educational system need a supportive environment so they can maximize their potential in their new home. Though many of us are all just students today, every single one of us has the potential be a leader of tomorrow.

We are looking for new members to join our Youth Advisory Council (YAC)!

Do you know someone who:

  • Is between the ages of 14-24
  • Lives in Peel Region (Brampton, Caledon or Mississauga)
  • Is passionate about making things better for young people in Peel, is ready to contribute and wants to take on a leadership role
  • Can commit to a meaningful volunteer opportunity that offers skill-building and professional development

Encourage them to apply for a position on the PCYI Youth Advisory Council.

The Council gives input to the Peel Children and Youth Initiative and makes recommendations to inform priorities and work. They take the lead on consulting their peers, and also run their own initiatives for youth in Peel based on what they think is important and what they would like to get some experience working on.

“We are in place to make sure that the organizations offering programs and services for youth actually hear from youth.”

We review applications not only on merit, but also with the lens of ensuring our Youth Advisory Council members are a diverse cross-section of Peel’s youth population. To apply, submit this form. For any questions, contact Tobi Ajibolade, Youth Engagement Coordinator, at

Welcome Tobi Ajibolade, PCYI’s new Youth Engagement Coordinator

Tobi AjiboladePlease join us in welcoming Tobi Ajibolade to the PCYI team. Tobi has joined us as our Youth Engagement Coordinator.

Tobi is a passionate social service and youth worker, with strong leadership, counselling skills and extensive experience working with marginalized youth. Since graduating from Wilfrid Laurier with an Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree, Tobi has lent his unique blend of experiences and passion for youth to organizations, including the Beating The Odds Conference in Kitchener-Waterloo, the Youthdale Treatment Centres, the Wilfrid Laurier Diversity Office and Brampton’s Who’s Up Next Movement. Tobi has mentored and trained youth, supporting them in their career aspirations, and creating programming for a diverse youth population.

In addition to holding a BA, Tobi has completed the Introduction to Narrative Therapy Certificate at the Narrative Therapy Institute, the Conflict Resolution Certificate at the Crisis Prevention Institute and the Intercultural Effectiveness Certificate at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Outside of his work endeavors, Tobi’s passions include songwriting, mindfulness meditation and empowering others to achieve their goals. He looks forward to working with PCYI’s Youth Advisory Council, as well as all of our partners across Peel Region. Please join us in welcoming Tobi! He can be reached at or 289-201-1099 ext. 405.

Annual Collaborative State of Mind Conference – “Starting With The ‘Self’: Self-Regulation For The Adults Who Care For Children & Youth”- Wednesday, April 27th at the Mississauga Grand

Is it that time of year again already!? Spring has almost sprung and following suit, tickets to the sixth annual Collaborative State of Mind conference have almost sold out.

If you haven’t bought yours yet and work with children or youth in any capacity and would like to hear renowned speakers Dr. Stuart Shanker, Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant and Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo share their expertise on self-regulation for the adults who care for children and youth (that’s you!), we hope to see you there.

Register here: DPCDSB or contact or 905-507-9360 x 302 with any questions