Edmonton’s NextGen, created by City Council and an administrative committee of Citizen Services, partnered with Age Friendly Edmonton (AFE), City of Edmonton Youth Council (CEYC) to bring a professional and personal development opportunity to the volunteers of these committees. NextGen’s Volunteer Engagement team and Coordinator, Christine Causing, planned a 3 hour training event for representatives of each of the committees to come and learn at a local social innovation collaborative space - MacEwan University’s Roundhouse. Bringing together volunteers from all ages and stages, the group networked with one another and were able to provide their own lived experiences through the sharing and discussion.
“As a City staff member in the Social Development Branch, I have been lucky to participate in ongoing intercultural, inclusion and diversity training - it seemed like a great fit to bring that to the volunteers of NextGen,” says Jasmine Brazil, one of the civic NextGen Volunteer Engagement Co-Chairs. “Our volunteers work hard and as committees, we are really great at what we do, so we thought this training would be another way to keep strengthening how inclusive we are when we reach out or provide platforms for NextGeners or those NextGen at heart. With integration a key cultural commitment in the City, it just made sense to collaborate with the other committees and share in this learning opportunity, together!”
The training included a workshop from Evan Westfal from the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services (iSMSS) encouraging volunteers to learn new terminology, awareness of resources and community supports and practical strategies for maximizing inclusion and creating safer spaces. Volunteers participated in interactive group activities to reflect on language, understanding gender pronouns and their importance, privilege and diversifying your networks.
The second half of the training involved a presentation from two members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), Crystal Jones and Janet Davies-Davis giving volunteers insight into actions that can be done to make events and activities more accessible and inclusive. The speakers gave participants valuable information to think about and concrete ways to make interactions with Edmontonians more inclusive for all. Janet shared with attendees “You are our future and we are all relying on you to understand accessibility and make it completely universal. As our next group of leaders you all will shape how completely accessible Edmonton is.”
Finally, Christine Causing adds, “This workshop was a wonderful collaboration with the assistance of my colleagues who work with Age Friendly Edmonton, Edmonton Youth Council and the Accessibility Advisory Committee, who helped us connect to such great presenters. And because of this, it brought together both community members and employees from the City of Edmonton for a day of learning and sharing. I hope the discussions on being more inclusive in the work we do at the City of Edmonton continue!”
Thank you to everyone who attended this workshop, Roundhouse for hosting our workshop, Christine Causing, Alexandra Santos, Heather Crowe, Carleen Etmanski, Leslie Tanzi and the NextGen Volunteer Engagement Working Group for helping organize the workshop.
Please contact Christine Causing, Edmonton's NextGen Coordinator if you would like more info about the workshop: firstname.lastname@example.org