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Stepping Up banner – feet climbing stairs.

Moving Forward: Improving outcomes for Ontario's youth, together.

Stepping Up has identified 20 evidence-based outcomes that are important for the wellbeing of Ontario's youth. By articulating these outcomes, this framework identifies our priorities moving forward in order to guide decision-making and encourage coordination among those that are involved in supporting youth to succeed.

This framework has been created to help build on the good work that is already taking place across Ontario to help young people reach their full potential. Through the development of this framework, we have been encouraged to see that Ontario's youth have a strong foundation of services and supports. Those involved in supporting youth are doing many of the right things. Governments, communities, service providers and families across Ontario have accomplished a great deal already.

But there is much more we can do, together.

By working together, we can improve the ways our supports are provided. We know that working in silos and without evidence-based information results in less effective services and programs for youth. That is why we need to build stronger, more effective partnerships in the sector and share successful models and practices that can help us develop better programs for youth. It is only by working together that we can move closer toward our vision: to support all young people to become healthy, safe, hopeful, engaged and contributing members of their communities and our province.

Graphic of a representation 
of the theme areas of Stepping Up. These themes are based on an ecological 
model of development and a person-centred approach that is also consistent 
with Aboriginal ways of knowing. The young person is at the centre of 
the circle – including their spirit / self as described in the graphic of Stepping Stones. 
Important early interactions for youth include the smaller circles (their 
personal health and development, their family and friends). As they 
age, they grow to become members of the broader community (through education 
and employment, engagement and participation).

We are inviting you to Step Up.

We are committed to improving outcomes for youth – and we want you to be involved. There is a role for every Ontarian - whether you are a young person, a parent, a teacher, a business owner, a policy-maker, a worker, a property manager, a health care provider, a police officer, or a social worker – to make this vision a reality. Stepping Up has been developed so young people, families, service providers, governments, philanthropic organizations, community groups and private businesses can identify the areas in which they can get involved in supporting young people to succeed.

Endorsing Stepping Up involves thinking about how the 20 outcomes articulated in this framework relate to you and your interactions with young people. We challenge you to find the outcome(s) that matter most to you and the ways you can support the wellbeing of Ontario's youth.

What does this mean for me if I am a young person? We invite you to take the lead and use your voice to contribute new ideas and fresh energy to addressing the challenges in your community. We know that you have a unique perspective and talents to offer. Think about the contributions that you can make to your family, peers, school and community, and what supports you need to accomplish them. Participating can help you develop your identity, skills and build your experience for the future. You can also help improve the effectiveness of youth programs and services for the benefit of other young people who need support.

What does this mean for me if I am a caring adult, parent or guardian? We invite you to think about the role you play in the lives of young people – whether they are a part of your own family, your neighbourhood, or other members of your community. We know that the support that you provide to these youth as a role model can positively impact their development. We invite you to recognize young people's assets and take advantage of opportunities to support them through any challenges they may face. We also invite you to participate alongside youth in your community to share your ideas and contribute your skills and expertise to improving outcomes for young people.

What does this mean for me if I am a community leader, a representative of a government, foundation or philanthropic organization? We invite you to join us in a collaborative conversation about how we can provide better leadership to youth and their allies. We know that together we can improve the way that we make investments in youth, so they are more holistic and coordinated. We invite you to use the outcomes identified in Stepping Up to inform your strategic planning processes for young people. We also invite you to think about new ways to meaningfully involve youth in strategic planning and programming, and ways to embrace diversity in your organization.

What does this mean for me if I am a service provider or front-line worker or an educator? We invite you to think about how you can apply Stepping Up's guiding principles to enhance the effectiveness of your programs. We invite you to improve opportunities for youth to participate in the design and delivery of programs. You can encourage youth from diverse backgrounds to feel comfortable and accepted. We know that taking an asset-based view of youth involves understanding the developmental needs of young people. We invite you to join us in ongoing learning about youth development and to apply a holistic, evidence-based approach to the services you deliver. We also invite you to think about the role you play in your direct interactions with young people and recognize the important contributions you make to their lives as role models. Lastly, we invite you to make connections across sectors to broaden our collective impact for youth.

What does this mean for me if I am a member of a faith-based or cultural group or other community association? We invite you to think about the outcomes in Stepping Up and how they relate to the values you hold and the work you do. We know that young people benefit when they develop their identities through participation in social groups. We invite you to involve young people in planning and ask for their ideas on how you can best support them to succeed.

What does this mean for me if I am a business person? We invite you to think about yourselves as key allies in encouraging youth to succeed and to participate in supporting positive youth outcomes. We know that you interact with young people on a daily basis and influence their experiences in many ways. We invite you to make youth feel welcome and respected by creating friendly spaces and policies. We also invite you to invest in the skills, energy and talents of young people through employment and leadership opportunities, and to collaborate with us to invest in young workers today and in the future.

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