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Wisdom2Action - W2A*

$2.8 million for 2011-19
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Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Identifying better ways to help at-risk youth

There is a significant gap between professionals who work directly with children and youth in challenging contexts, and researchers who have identified best practices and other proven approaches for helping young people. Canadaís academic institutions produce world-leading research on mental health and adversity as it relates to at-risk and vulnerable youth, but too much of what is known isnít translated into readily available, easily accessible and practical resources that professionals, parents and youth can put into practice. At the same time, front-line practitioners need opportunities to capture their knowledge and experience, and share it with academics and researchers.

Among the Results

  • The W2A Network has created seven knowledge synthesis reports on: youth exposed to violence, youth engagement, the use of technology in reaching at-risk youth, violence prevention among refugee and displaced youth, the ethics of evaluation with vulnerable youth, the mental health information-seeking behaviour of youth, and how to build supportive environments for children and youth with complex needs. In April 2015, W2A offered a Mass Online Open Course based on the reports through Dalhousie University. The course showcased promising practices for helping vulnerable children and youth, and provided an overview of the most important principles for creating community-based services.
  • The W2A Network has held workshops in cities across Canada to share knowledge and best practices to improve mental health and well-being in children and youth in challenging contexts. In June 2015, the network convened a national W2A Summit to share promising practices from across the country.
  • In 2016, the W2A Network partnered with three child and youth serving knowledge mobilization organizations to create hubs of regional capacity and expertise, and to help local organizations share and adopt evidence-informed practices. This collaboration created an online knowledge mobilization and evaluation toolkit for working with vulnerable young people, and offers evaluation and knowledge mobilization mentorship support.
  • The W2A Network led the national effort to create the Canadian Refugee Child, Youth and Family Research Coalition, consisting of researchers and resettlement organizations supporting young refugees in resettlement. The coalition has held national forums with stakeholders and one-on-one meetings with key policymakers.

Connect with W2A

* (formerly known as Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts)