Brampton recognized as one of the most youth-friendly communities in Ontario, it was announced last week. The city has once again received the Platinum Youth Friendly Community designation from Play Works, a program supported by Parks and Recreation Ontario. This is the third Photo Courtesy of City of Brampton time the city has been recognized for its outstanding commitment to growth and development opportunities for youth, and is one of three communities receiving the top platinum designation this year.
The Youth Friendly Community designation is granted every three years to communities across Ontario that recognize the unique needs of youth ages 13 to 19, and ensure they have continuous access to leadership and engagement opportunities, ranging from arts to recreation to civic participation. Communities are required to meet at least seven of ten youth-friendly criteria. Those that meet all ten criteria are awarded the Platinum status. Currently, 47 Ontario communities are recognized as Youth Friendly. The city also launched its first ever Youth Engagement Strategy recently, billed as “for youth, by youth” – a first of its kind in Ontario.
“City staff are dedicated to empowering youth in Brampton and we continue to take the lens of youth when developing programs and initiatives,” said the city’s chief administrative officer, David Barrick. “We hope to continue receiving this honour in future years for our ongoing work in engaging with youth.” The city is home to 58,800 youth ages 13 to 19, where 43,111 participate in applicable programs, such as National Youth Week events in May. A range of local youth organizations and service partners in the community have also contributed to this year’s designation, including Associated Youth Services of Peel, Brampton Multicultural Youth Council and Bridges by Books, among others.
The cities and towns who have received the award have taken a whole community approach to youth engagement, Parks and Recreation Ontario CEO Cathy Denyer said last week. “They have made significant efforts to meet youth where they are at and give them a voice and an active role in decision making. We are seeing great results as youth are empowered to take leadership roles and contribute to the overall health and vibrancy of their schools, neighbourhoods and communities.”