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Gearing Up

Moving Together

There is a great deal of work underway in the province to support children to succeed. Communities, governments, service providers, families, and Indigenous partners are all working hard to support children to be active and well, to have caring and connected families, to have positive relationships, to feel valued, to be supported by their communities, and to support Indigenous children to thrive.

But there is more work to be done.

We have to align our efforts, make collaboration a central part of our work, and break down silos. We have to look for intersections and scale up our efforts. We have to invest in middle years children and their families. We need to be creative, responsive, and inclusive in all that we do. We can do a better job telling the story of how everyone’s efforts are making a difference in the lives of children and families.

It’s our collective responsibility to support this generation of middle years children, and the generations that follow, to thrive and prepare them to transition to the teen years and beyond.

Individual gears working alone cannot move us forward. The real impact of Gearing Up is when all of us come together to mobilize and leverage our efforts.

If you are a parent, caregiver, guardian or family member:

We are grateful for all that you do to support middle years children to thrive. The impact you have on a child’s life is enormous. Your love, guidance, support and involvement is the game changer for children. The behaviours you model have a lifelong impact on children. We invite you to review the research on child development, and to think about how your efforts are making a difference. Your experiences, skills, cultural traditions and knowledge are what build a thriving society both locally and provincially. We hope you continue to raise your voice, advocate for your children, family and community, and be a positive force for change. We are listening. We welcome and respect your input and commit to embed it into the way we support the children of Ontario.

If you are a teacher, educator, coach, mentor, frontline service provider, or other caring adult:

You are a critical part of a child’s life. Children look to you for guidance, to help open up the world of possibilities, to expose them to a world where they strive to be the best they can be, and to help them build on their strengths and overcome challenges. We invite you to think about how you can apply the principles of Gearing Up to the work you do. Continue to work from a strengths-based perspective and build on what children can do, without focusing on what they cannot do. You should recognize that some children need additional support and either provide that support or help connect them with someone who can, and stay involved through the process. You can support families to be active and engaged in their children’s lives by reaching out to them, engaging them in conversations about their children, their cultures and traditions, and acknowledging that they are the experts on their child’s strengths, needs and abilities.

If you are a cultural leader, traditional knowledge keeper, Elder or Senator:

We know your influence can support children to find meaning and purpose, a key element to help them thrive. We invite you to think about the outcomes of Gearing Up and how they relate to the work you do with children and families, and the values you bring to the lives of children and families. We encourage you to continue to be role models for children to support their optimal development and to support them to achieve the goals outlined in Gearing Up. Ontario is more vibrant because of the role you play in your communities, and the influence you have on helping middle years children shape their identity.

If you are a service provider, government representative, Indigenous community-based organization, foundation or philanthropic organization:

Your continued leadership is an essential ingredient of Gearing Up. We invite you to continue the conversation about the kind of communities we can build together for children and families in Ontario. Think about ways community-based and provincial leadership can improve child wellbeing in our communities and across Ontario. We also ask that you integrate the Gearing Up principles and outcomes into the design and delivery of programs, policies and services. These include looking at ways to embed family-focused, strengths-based supports, fostering belonging and helping to break down barriers for the groups of children and families who face barriers. We encourage you to reach out to the Indigenous community-based leadership in your communities to transform relationships and work collaboratively for the wellbeing of Indigenous children and families.

If you are an employer or private sector partner:

You are an integral part of communities, providing jobs and leadership. You have a tremendous role to play in supporting children and families to thrive. We invite you to think about yourselves as key allies in bringing the principles of Gearing Up to life as a core part of daily business and having an impact on the lives of children and families. Think about the opportunities in your communities that could be realized through your involvement. Middle years children are the leaders of tomorrow. They are a tremendous pool of talent. We invite you to join government and community partners in conversations about how to leverage the talents of middle years children today for the benefit of our communities today and into the future.