Our network strives to work from an anti-oppressive and anti-racist approach. We do this in many ways including acknowledging and working to transform different kinds of oppression including systemic oppression. We take into consideration all kinds of oppression including but not limited to, oppression on the basis of race, age, ethnicity, ability, sex, sexual or gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, income, family status and other factors. We encourage each other to develop our ability to be self-reflective and self-aware. We encourage conversations about power.
As Frontline Workers:
we know that the way in which issues impacting youth are divided into sectors is neither helpful, nor reflects their understanding of themselves – that is why we come together across sectors.
We have different job titles and descriptions, different working conditions, levels of job security and rates of pay among many other differences and strive to acknowledge these differences. Even though some of us are more “frontline” than others we all call ourselves frontline workers because we all work with, and strive to be allies to youth and therefore their families and communities. Our personal and network success is measured by the health and well-being of ourselves, youth, families and communities.
As Administrative Allies:
we challenge ourselves to develop our self-awareness and understand that the best use of power is power that is shared. We know that frontline workers require support, investment and self-care. We know that our job is to holistically support frontline workers and frontline work. We know that it is our job to work for change from an anti-oppression framework within our organizations and in the world outside our organizations. We invite transparency and are committed to challenging the status quo. Our personal and network success is measured by the health and well-being of ourselves, youth, families and communities.
As Other Allies:
We want our dollars, policies and research to change the systems in which we function recognizing that we are all part of the problems facing our city. We therefore work to fund advocacy as well as advocate for sustainable funding that supports the important relationships in young people’s lives including the relationships that frontline workers have built with them. We listen to the recommendations of frontline workers in order to choose the organizations and programs that will best connect to communities, not just the organizations that are easiest for us to work with. Our personal and network success is measured by the health and well-being of ourselves, youth, families and communities.
Frontline relationships with youth are REAL
What we have in common is our passion for the work – we are both inspired by, and deeply concerned about the lack of organized support for, our city’s youth.
We understand that everything boils down to RELATIONSHIPS. We have the skills to develop trusting relationships with youth who have had their trust broken many times.
We are changing systems
We are deeply concerned about the systemic barriers to developing and maintaining these relationships. These barriers relate to policy, funding and institutional/organizational factors as well as the connections/disconnections between these factors.
We respect confidentiality
Our individual efforts to do advocacy have often put our jobs at risk. For this reason, trust and at times confidentiality, are important in our network activities. We are working to create systemic change in order to address these issues and create a better city-wide atmosphere for youth.
Impact of the work - we work to heal ourselves and each other
Many of us are suffering from unrecognized vicarious trauma. Many of us feel burnout. In addition to the youth, many of us are dealing with the effects of systemic racism and oppression. We are working to develop a system of self-care and advocacy in order to get better at our jobs, improve our working conditions and therefore be more sustainable in the field.
FPYN Guiding Directions and Principles (in no particular order):
- Nurture the health and well being of frontline workers
- Promote collaboration, mentorship and connections among frontline workers
- Give voice to the youth-serving universe to make positive change across and within sectors, systems and institutions in Toronto
- Be holistic
- Continuously develop our self-awareness, our practices and our network on the principle that relationships matter most
- Promote and embrace an anti-oppressive and anti-racist approach in everything that we do
- Develop and nurture a sustainable, vibrant network with love, care and integrity
As members of FPYN we understand our work and ourselves as interconnected parts of a whole. As members of the network we acknowledge that we come from different places in our lives and in our work. In our actions we strive to reflect the connections between mind, body and spirit, each other, youth, families and communities.