YOUCAN Make a Difference
by Danielle McC., Booth Memorial High School, St. John's NF
With all the violence in todayís society, donít you wish there was some one or something that could stop violence at itís very root? Well there is now. And itís called YouCAN. Itís a national, non profit, youth organization that is completely run by youths between the ages of 18 and 25, from all over Canada.
This gives the association a nation wide touch and offers a broader spectrum of conflicts and resolutions. Contributing to the fulfilment of the high ideals this organisation holds, are nine adults from the National Council of Advisors from across Canada contribute to their cause.
YouCAN helps stop conflict before it can snowball into violence and other problems. One way to do this, is to teach people about what conflict is and how it can affect them. They educate youths on the different types of conflict. Interpersonal conflict, is a conflict between two or more people. Internal is the type of conflict that is a struggle within yourself. And external is a battle between you and something in the physical world. They teach people different techniques to resolve all types of problems, and how to begin to build peace in communities. There are a number of ways to go about the construction of a peaceful world. For example, installing a Peer Meditation program in the schools in your area.
This kind of program provides a trained student that acts as an objective third party, to aid in the resolving strife. Teens are also granted with communication, problem solving, and responsibility skills. Itís an alternative to settling a argument by having a decision be forced upon them. The kids get to resolve their problems themselves in a positive way taught to them by their peers. Some interpersonal disputes may go un-concluded with the normal disciplinary measures. Also Peer Meditation can prevent or reduce problems with harassment, vandalism, cheating, stealing, minor assault, rumours, gossip, racial and cultural discrimination. Visit YouCANís web site for more information on how to proceed with a peer meditation program in your own school.
Photo taken from YouCAN website
YouCAN has developed a web site that has many 6 main parts to it. About Us, Contacts, Info, Peace by Piece, Conflict Resolutions, and Forms. On the side bar, there are links to a Guided Tour of the site (includes violence statistics, the need for financial support, where you can contact to supply a donation to the organisation, purpose), Accomplishments of the group (photos of YouCANís travels, workshops), Past Events (detailing the past and upcoming events), Contacts Names (a list of the national Board of Directors),Chat, The Gallery(where you can view artwork or written work), and a link to view the names of the sites creators.
The About Us section just tells a little bit about how this non profit organization works.
The Contacts segment is a note from the executive producer Dave Farthing, that supplies YouCANís main office address, and other ways to contact the group.
The Info portion lists a number of resources that you can download or view, on the topic of conflict resolution. Thereís a link to YouCANís past accomplishments, which provides photos of previous workshops, and places members of YouCAN have travelled to spread the word of peace. You can also view recent and past events of this organization.
The Peace by Piece sections are divided into four subsections.
Activists and Activities encourages people who are interested in being involved with the prevention of violence and the resolution of conflicts to sign up with one of the forms, and become involved in YouCANís events.
The Stained Glass Window is a place in the Gallery where you can view peopleís work that displays a positive message, or send in your own work whether it be visual art, or a written piece. The work represents the philosophy that ďwords, sounds, and images can challenge people by exciting their senses and challenging our minds.Ē
The section entitled Voice explains about the forum. A place that people can go to chat and ask questions such as: what are the aspects that create our countryís identity? and; what does multiculturalism mean, and how does it affect our lives? The only rule in the discussion forum, is that you must keep all racially discriminatory comments to yourself, or phrase them intellectually without hurting someoneís feelings.
Bridges lists links to other organisations that are also advocating against racism, and working towards a more pleasant future.
The Conflict Resolution part of the site explains about the Peer Meditation Program, and gives you ten steps to follow in order to initiate this program in your own school. Available for your viewing, is a bibliography of materials that tell how to resolve disputes in a positive way.
The Forms section provides a number of French or English forms that you can download if you are interested in becoming involved with their establishment. Plug in the required information, and send to YouCANís main office address, or via some other method.
Their main office is located at:
Youth Canada Association
c/o Saint Paul University
223 Main Street
Ottawa, ON, K1S 1C4
The telephone number is 613-230-1903
Call for free at 1-888-4YOUCAN
Send a fax to 613-235-5801
Please visit this site and contribute along with many others in the struggle to create a peaceful nation, safe from violence and other conflict endued problems. One volunteer can make a difference, so go to www.youcan.ca and offer your services today. Donít we all want to live in harmony with one another?