Next week high school will officially let out for summer vacation and many students will find themselves with a considerable amount of free time. How they spend this time, and whether they have adult supervision and productive outlets, will play an important role in determining their outcomes.
In the past two years the City of Toronto introduced seven enhanced youth spaces and will be opening three more this year. These spaces, which emerged as the result of community outcry, are founded on three pillars: dedicated space, dedicated staff, and responsive programming.
The new report from Social Planning Toronto looks at the experiences of girls in these spaces. It finds that while these spaces serve as much needed meeting places for youth, they tend to respond to the needs and priorities of young men better than young women. Lack of girl-specific activities and spaces, negative interactions with boys, and tension among participants are a few of the challenges girls encounter within these spaces.
At the same time, highly regarded staff, practical and interpersonal skill development, and peer relationships motivate girls to attend the enhanced youth spaces.
Find out more, including the full list of barriers, facilitators and key strategies, in the report Girls in Youth Spaces: An Evaluation of Young Women's Experiences Accessing Youth Drop-Ins.