2015: Jane & Finch Votes and Federal Election
In 2015, the Citizen Empowerment Project launched Jane and Finch Votes, a non-partisan voter mobilization campaign and civic engagement workshop. The project engaged dozens of youth volunteers at universities and high schools as volunteers to encourage community members to participate in that year’s federal elections. We also helped hundreds of first-time voters make it to the polls.
2016: Youth Leadership Initiative and Policing Literacy Initiative
In 2016, we launched a youth leadership initiative to train youth in civic engagement and political organizing. This was done in an effort to continue the momentum from the outreach campaign in 2015. We sought to continue to cultivate democratic engagement and youth empowerment in between elections. Over 110 youth completed our training modules. These youths then met with elected officials and experts in the area of youth employment, an issue the chose to prioritize, and develop recommendations for how youth employment services could be improved in the Toronto area.During this year, we also continued our efforts on the Policing Literacy Initiative, which included a communication of a CEP report, “How the New Ontario Regulation Provides an Opportunity to Renew Policy-Community Relations.” The report was presented to community centres around Toronto, as well as to the mayor of Toronto and the chief of the Toronto Police Services, and the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The Report focused on the new carding regulations that were released in January 2017. Our report was on what individuals from communities that we work within thought about the draft regulations. Our PLI efforts continue what is at the core of Jane and Finch votes and the CEP: a focus on a community empowerment.
2017: Creating Opportunities Summit
In January 2017, we also co-organized a youth conference on economic development issues at Osgood Hall Law School: The Creating Opportunities Summit. Among the issues our team of university students and community members explored at the conference are: youth employment, relationships between York University and Jane & Finch, the role of youth workers in economic development, financial literacy for millennials and youth entrepreneurship.
2018: Youth Council, Expansion into Rexdale & Provincial Elections
In 2018, CEP expanded into the Rexdale community and established ongoing youth councils in both Jane & Finch and Rexdale. The objective of these youth councils was to develop skills and education of young adults within the community and foster them to become the face of the organization. CEP’s goal is to empower youth so they could then in return mobilize their communities in democracy. The first half of the year we focused on political education. During these sessions we conducted workshops on how Canadian politics operate by learning about the different levels or government, their roles and responsibilities, the different political party and where they stand on the political spectrum and much more. The second half of the year we put more focus on leadership development, application of the theoretical concepts in practical situations and canvasing for the political elections.