At Canada Bridges we focus less on programs and more on our approach.
Our relationship-based approach to youth empowerment includes:
Deepening the understanding that youth have of themselves, their communities and how change happens by co-developing and facilitating learning programs with community-based partners.
Engaging caring adults to mentor youth as they navigate systems (i.e. educational systems), overcome obstacles, and become more resilient.
Creating opportunities for action, practice and experience to support youth to take the first steps towards creating change.
Supporting and strengthening community-based partners to develop skills, resources and expertise needed to unlock youth potential.
Sharing ideas, knowledge and learning from our work to create understanding and empowering systems and encouraging others to do the same.
Making connections between people, communities and organizations that could complement each other’s learning and action.
Why is "invitation" so critical to Canada Bridges?
Projects created externally and then pushed onto communities without their ownership or participation don’t have lasting positive impact. This is usually due to deep misunderstanding of what is needed, and underestimation of the capacities needed to make change. Canada Bridges works only by invitation and focuses on working with individuals and communities to clearly understand and define their needs and priorities. We explore how we might provide the support needed, or where other resources or support systems could be more relevant.
Canada Bridges itself emerged from an invitation – an invitation from the government of Yemen – and has since responded to many invitations from around the world. Whether the invitation is to speak on sustainable human development to a grade five class in Calgary, Alberta or to train a class of fifty doctors, nurses and midwives in a village in India, Canada Bridges has never acted without an invitation that we felt was sincere and relevant to community needs.
Today, the organization is receiving invitations primarily from First Nations and immigrant communities in and around Calgary, Alberta. These invitations have taken our work to a local setting, but the certainty we have about operating by invitation only, and our commitment to human capacity building, remains the same.
Canada Bridges believes in the potential of every human being to contribute something meaningful to the world. This belief may be idealistic, but it is absolutely pragmatic if human potential is seen as the capacity to care for one’s self and one’s communities. Through Canada Bridges programming, we aim to empower individuals we work with to be agents of change by supporting the development of capacities necessary to respond to the conditions of their environment and meet situational challenges. We do this by providing people with opportunities to build and develop leadership skills, connect them with relevant resources, and mentor them along the way, such that they become better equipped to create positive changes within the communities where they live and work. This capacity building process helps build a sense of empowerment, meaning that individuals come to recognize the influence and responsibility they have in communities they belong to, and ultimately realize their potential as more capable individuals, compassionate community members, and change-makers.
Canada Bridges has worked with a wide range of community partners to co-design and co-deliver programs that unlock the potential of youth. There are no costs associated in partnering with us. We prioritize working with partners that:
Through partnership we aim to not only deliver high quality programs for youth, but also to strengthen and improve each of our organizations through shared learning processes.
If you think you program, initiative or organization may benefit from partnering with Canada Bridges and you are interested in working and learning alongside each other, please contact us to set up a meeting or phone call!