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Smart Waterloo Region needs help distributing $70K for Youth Impact Projects

A panel of nine youth will be selected to help identify worthy initiatives
A total of $70,000 is available to youth and community organizations across the region to assist with Youth Impact Projects.

Designed by youth, to benefit youth and voted on by youth.

That's the model behind the Youth Impact Project.

Built off the recent results of the Youth Impact Survey, which polled young people across the region on how they felt on various topics from safety to access to health care services, the next step in the process involves putting ideas into action.

With students across the region working with community-based organizations on a variety of projects, Smart Waterloo Region is searching for youth to join a nine-person panel that will vote on and distribute the $70,000 in funding available.

Among the most concerning results from the survey in Cambridge, which was put on by the Children and Youth Planning Table, included youth insight into food insecurity, housing and physical and mental health support.

When it comes to food insecurity, 18 per cent of Cambridge respondents said they sometimes go to school or bed hungry, three per cent higher than the regional average and eight per cent higher than those living in the townships.

Looking at housing, 14 per cent said they're experiencing homelessness or hidden homelessness.

Only 35 per cent of youth felt good about their ability to access mental health supports and 67 per cent felt the same way about accessing healthcare services such as doctors and dentists.

"I think this calls for action in Cambridge," Haniya Nazir, a youth connector with the CYPT and Preston High School student, said when the results were released.

"I was happy people were able to answer honestly because that's what they need to do but I do see the negativity."

Nazir said she hopes the numbers are eye-opening for residents and decision makers in the city.

"Seeing a number that's higher than I expected gave me a different perspective," she said of the homelessness and food insecurity results. 

"I don't know what other people are going through and I hope people in the community understand this, as well."

Youth interested in joining the panel should be passionate about building a stronger community, must be 14 to 18 years old and not planning to pitch an idea.

They must be available for a two hour time commitment once a week from the end of April to June.

Selected individuals will get to help design the process for decision making, receive training and support, and are eligible for a $490 honorarium and/or volunteer hours.

The deadline for panel applications is April 24 and panellists must be available for the pitch party on June 8.

To apply visit