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Serving Black Youth in care through the Village

Peel CAS is committed to diversity, respect and anti-oppression. The agency strives to listen, respect and work with families to create a strong and safe environment for children and youth. February is Black History Month a time to reflect and celebrate the agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion within the organization and within the community it serves.  One of the ways that Peel CAS is meeting the needs of the Black community is through its work in the Village.

Established to be responsive to the needs of our black youth in care, the Village  is a place where youth of African heritage that self-identify as black in the care of, or affiliated with, Peel CAS meet once a month to connect with staff members –mentors – who are sensitive to their needs and identity. “The Village is a place where we can have open discussions about our history, talk about issues of relevance, oppression and culture. It is a place where we feel love, trust, respect and honesty.” –Village member.

Mentors work hard to build a sense of community through connection and provide positive modeling and mentoring on managing various barriers, including systemic racism. The program offers culturally specific programming and a safe space for youth to learn about anti-oppression, supports cultural gaps by increasing understanding of history and identity for all youth and supports youth involved in the criminal justice system.

Having  just celebrated  its nine-year anniversary, the Village continues to meet the needs of black youth involved with the agency and has been a model for other ethno-cultural youth programs.

“The Village is a place where people see me for who I am, but also push me to be more.” –Village member