Smart Waterloo Region - Work to date
After being shortlisted, our team used the summer to organize and engage different stakeholder groups to narrow our focus, and to begin to identify root causes of the complex issues children and youth in our community face.
On June 21st, we held a joint engagement event with the Children and Youth Planning Table to dive into the six focus areas identified in our Phase 1 application: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, sense of belonging, bullying, and high school graduation rates. Youth and service providers came together to take part in a day long session to drill down into the root causes of these issues. We came out of the day with a fulsome problem map and decided to narrow our focus from six areas to four: early childhood development, literacy, mental and emotional health, and sense of belonging. You can see the report on the Children and Youth Planning Table Resources & Research page.
During July and August we updated our governance and working group structures in preparation for Phase 2. We also met with many new and potential partners from the private, post-secondary and non-profit sectors.
In August, we hosted another engagement session with youth attendees to assess if our four focus areas are meaningful to youth, and to determine how youth want to be engaged in our Smart Waterloo Region project going forward. We hosted our youth engagement session in Google’s community space where we captured meaningful and lively feedback. Youth confirmed that our four focus areas are of importance to them and we gained insight into how they wish to be engaged going forward.
We are excited to move into Phase 2 to improve well-being for children and youth on our community. Moving forward, we are planning a launch event on November 20th, creating a youth engagement and advisory committee, and have brought on Overlap Associates to help us develop creative ways to engage the community.
There is much more to come! Be sure to visit this page regularly for updates and feedback on how our project is progressing. Remember to follow us on Twitter: @SmartWatRegion and Instagram: @SmartWatRegion, and to use the hashtag #SmartWR.
For more information on the history of our project, please see the post below: Smart Waterloo Region - A Short History.