On Tuesday, October 29, the Aspen Youth Portfolio hosted a Youth Advisory Forum, with the goal of gaining knowledge from youth experiences to help guide the development of Aspen's new group home. We will be opening a third group home in January of 2020 and our team wants to make sure we are working alongside the youth to create the most comfortable, supportive environment.
Youth who have lived experience being in care (involved in group care programs, Youth Transitions to Adulthood (YTA), Youth Re-engagement, and "graduates" of YTA) were invited to share their viewpoints in what is hoped to be the first of many Youth Advisory events in the future. The youth were asked about what helps them feel welcome and safe in their experiences of group care, how staff can best support the youth to meet their goals, what the youth feel are significant experiences which shape their journeys to adulthood and were even able to collaborate with an interior designer to give their input on design features.
Different rooms were facilitated by different staff members in a world cafe style evening. Youth provided their input on six different areas that Aspen is focusing on for the new home. Some of the feedback that arose from this advisory event is shown below.
We are so appreciative of the opportunity to engage with the youth and learn about their views and experiences. The team is looking forward to the challenge of building the new Group Home with consideration of the feedback that the youth have provided. The team will also be exploring the development of a youth advisory committee to help guide future projects and decision making within Aspen’s youth portfolio in the new year.
Author: Cheryl Wittevrongel, Practicum Student