Right To Play’s Promoting Life skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program partners with Indigenous communities and urban organizations to train locally-hired Community Mentors to deliver weekly play-based programs that promote healthy living, healthy relationships, education and employability life-skills. Community Mentors are trained and supported by Right To Play staff as they develop programs that are responsive to the individual needs of their community. Since 2010, the PLAY program has expanded from working with two partners to more than 85 across Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia, reaching over 6000 children and youth last year.
"The Right To Play partnership has not only made a difference in our ability to provide activities for our youth, it has empowered youth to provide activities for themselves."
For measures like human security, education, and standard of living, Canada is 10th in the world on the 2016 UN Human Development Index. Due to the on-going effects of colonization and the legacies of residential schools, Canada’s rank falls to 63rd when Indigenous peoples are considered. This drop is reflected in the inequities that Indigenous peoples experience at higher rates than most non-Indigenous Canadians, such as poverty, substandard housing, food insecurity, and barriers to educational and employment opportunities. Indigenous children and youth are especially affected.
As the driving force of their families and communities, we know that this generation of Indigenous children and youth hold the knowledge and potential to defy such disparities and to create positive change. We have witnessed children and youth take charge of their lives, and become leaders for their peers and their communities. Together, we can help these young people rise, by providing them with:
- Safe play spaces
- Life-skills training
- Healthy food
- Inclusive physical activities
- Leadership opportunities
- Positive role models
- Connections with their community
- Celebration of their cultural diversity
“Right To Play has brought out the leader in me, and continues to help me bring out the leader in others.”
The PLAY program works to achieve positive change in four essential life skill areas that were identified through community partnerships: Health, Education, Healthy Relationships, and Employability.
At Right To Play, we recognize there are challenges present when research in Indigenous communities is neither consultative nor participatory. For this reason and our commitment to community ownership, we strive to abide by the OCAP principles in our research and data collection practices. The First Nations OCAP Principles include Ownership, Control, Access and Possession. This means that:
- We only collect data that is relevant and useful for the communities that we work with.
- We emphasize qualitative data and storytelling in our methods.
- Data analysis and raw data is shared back with communities.
- All communities are free to access their data.
- Data analysis is contextualized as much as possible.
- We collect informed consent from all research participants.
At the heart of our work in Canada is a theory of change that sees a collaborative partnership between Right To Play and local communities, schools and organizations as fundamental to promoting positive child and youth development. As we look ahead to 2020, we will work with our partners to create safer spaces and more opportunities for youth to engage as agents of change in their communities.
ELDERS AND KNOWLEDGE KEEPERS
Bear Standing Tall, Onion Lake Cree Nation
Debra Trask, West Moberly
Ernie Sandy, Rama First Nation
Gerry Martin, Mattagami First Nation
Gloria McGregor, Whitefish River First Nation
PLAY ADVISORY CIRCLE MEMBERS
Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, Lakehead University
Chief Duke Peltier, Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve
Gillian Paul, OKT Law
Jody Alexander, Ottawa District School Board
Kaitlin Ritchie, OKT Law
BC Ministry of Education
BC Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Services
Bell Let's Talk
Canadian Tire Jumpstart
The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation
Daryl K. Seaman Hockey Fund at the Calgary Foundation
Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation
The Government of Canada
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
The Harold E. Ballard Foundation
Indigenous Services Canada
Jays Care Foundation
The Lawrence and Judith Tanenbaum Foundation
The London Community Foundation
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
PepsiCo Canada Foundation
Public Health Agency of Canada
Riverside Natural Foods
The Slaight Family Foundation
Suncor Energy Foundation
Sun Life Financial
TELUS Manitoba Community Board
TELUS Vancouver Community Board
Thomas Sill Foundation
The Winnipeg Foundation
Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario
Andrea Warnick Consulting
Bereaved Families of Ontario
The Big Little Caravan of Joy
Callum Pinkney Photography
Canadian Lacrosse Association
Canucks Autism Network
The Chill Foundation
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
James McDonald Photography
Lifeguard Outreach Society
Nishnawbe Aski Nation
Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Psychology Foundation of Canada
University of Ottawa, Faculty of Human Kinetics
Are you from a First Nations, Métis or Inuit community or urban Indigenous organization? By becoming a PLAY partner…
Your community and/or urban organization can access:
- Financial support for a local youth worker's salary to implement the PLAY Program
- Financial support for program expenses
- Training and coaching support from Right To Play staff
- Access to a network of PLAY youth workers across Canada
Your children and youth can access:
- A safe and supportive mentor
- Consistent play and sport programming that helps to build essential life-skills
- Leadership and community-building opportunities
- Healthy snacks
- Potential to participate in sport for development clinics and youth leadership symposiums
How can you apply to be a PLAY partner?
Applications for the 2019-2020 program year will re-open in Spring 2019. If you want more information on the application process and how you can partner with Right To Play next program year, download the PLAY Application Info Guide.
Submit a Letter of Interest
Right To Play is accepting Letters of Interest from all First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities and urban Indigenous organizations residing in any province or territory outside of our active programming areas – British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. By completing this Letter of Interest you are joining us in advocating that the PLAY program expand to reach more Indigenous children and youth. Please complete this Letter of Interest to help us understand where there is a need for the PLAY program, what that need is in your community, and help to find support for it.
The Letter of Interest is not a declaration of partnership nor does it guarantee a partnership with Right To Play; however, any communities or urban Indigenous organizations who submit a Letter of Interest will receive a priority classification should Right To Play expand into other provinces and territories.
The PLAY team works out of offices in Vancouver and Toronto. To reach our team about Alberta and British Columbia programming, please contact Maddie Lafleur, PLAY Program Coordinator, by phone at (604) 428-9249 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To reach our team about Manitoba and Ontario programming, please contact Lubna Rahman, PLAY Program Coordinator, by phone at (416) 203-0190 ext. 249 or email at email@example.com.