I know I haven’t done this in a while! It has definitely been quite some time since I last visited one of our New Mentality groups across the province. As the Network Coordinator for the New Mentality, I love all the work I get to do in my role but what I love the most, and what has to be my absolute favourite part is getting to meet all of YOU! The incredible changemakers that make up this network.
With everything that is happening all around the world, I haven’t been able to visit all of you and I’ve been thinking to myself, hmm what could I do to make that happen?
So, I’ve decided I’m going to be travelling all across Ontario…..VIRTUALLY! In the next few months, I will be visiting all of you through Zoom. I know, who would’ve thought last year, Zoom?
My first stop of my virtual group visit was a couple days ago to Kapuskasing, who are with our partner agency North Eastern Ontario Family and Children’s Services (NEOFACS). It’s always so nice to see our different groups and all the incredible change they bring to their communities!
This was their first group meeting of the year happening virtually on Zoom. Since they’re up North they’ve had to experience different forms of pandemic restrictions that differ from where I live in Southern Ontario. It was nice to see some familiar faces and some new folks joining the New Mentality! Adult allies shared about what the New Mentality is, our Theory of Change model, and asked youth to share their ideas for what they would like to do this year to reduce the stigma of mental health in their community.
My favourite part of meeting the group was definitely when we played a game of Would You Rather, and all unanimously decided we would rather brush our teeth with soap than drink sour milk. Also a collective decision was made that we would much rather be wizards than superheroes any day. #TeamHarryPotter
What I found most unique and special about the group, is that adult allies offer group meetings in both English and French which I really appreciated…so of course with my 6+ years of extended French education it was a great opportunity to practice a bit of my French!
During the meeting we shared why the New Mentality was important to us, and why it is important to advocate for all youth voices, especially racialized youth across Ontario who don’t have the same access as their peers do.
To end off the meeting there was a draw for youth to receive pizza from a favourite Kapuskasing restaurant & Pizzeria called Chez Lizette, which I can’t wait to try now!
Thank you and Merci to the incredible adult allies and youth for welcoming me into your virtual space! I cannot wait to fly out to Kapuskasing and get to meet you all in person, when it’s safe to do so. Meeting all of you, excites me for the future and how you all will change the child and youth mental health system to make it work for all.
I Look forward to continuing to meet all of you and seeing the magic our network is making all across the province!
See you all soon on zoom,
Fizza Abbas, Network Coordinator