Through partnerships today’s youth are able to stand on equal ground with established institutions to create systems change together. In a society where data sovereignty is increasingly important, young people recognize a need to retain copyright over their ideas and autonomy over decision making when it comes to making change in their communities. “A more realistic way to ensure sustained impact [is to] pay deliberate attention to diversifying the stakeholders as co-owners,” Disruptive Times Require Skilled Changemakers.
“Many people are working in networked ways across organizations and issue areas with the understanding that we can’t influence complex systems in silos. We see an emerging practice of developing a broader ecosystem of leaders who are systems thinkers and doers,” Influencing Complex Systems Change.
Vincent Bolt of TG Innerselves is one of those young network leaders. Advocating for transgender people across Northeastern Ontario, Vincent works with service providers, agencies, and schools to create greater understanding of how these institutions can better serve transgender people in their communities. Along with engaging cross-sectoral partners, TG Innerselves also offers direct client services, whether it is one on one or in a group for transgender people and their families to provide wraparound support.
Young people are also creating partnerships across youth-led organizations. The Native Youth Sexual Health Network has a myriad of successful partnerships, but also contributes innovative tools for other young network leaders to utilize. AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities) in Winnipeg’s North end has adopted NYSHN’s 4 Fires Harm Reduction Model in their 13 Moons Harm Reduction Initiative.
“The next leadership role in nurturing the emergence of the new system is to connect; to network and build social capital. What we have learned from living systems is to create a healthier community, connect it to more of itself. To make a system stronger, we need to create stronger relationships,” Two Loops Activity Notes.
Young network leaders are strengthening existing systems through partnerships and creating new ecosystems of youth-led organizations that have built a community of practice together.