The students from @HTYouthConnect, though quiet on social media, have not disbanded or given up in their quest to educate others about youth homelessness and preventing social isolation. The students have come together a few times this year, bringing new recruits with them (students who advocated to join them in their work), and discussed where they would like to go next with their work. Discussions have mostly centered around mental illness, feelings of isolation for youth who are part of the LGBT community, the need to educate families about LGBTQ+ issues and what might be done about it.

Last week the students from @HTYouthConnect participated in the Chuck Panozzo Youth Advocacy Awards, given by the Orillia Youth Center and hosted at Rustica in Orillia. They were fortunate to hear Chuck Panozzo, founder of the legendary band STYX, advocate for youth and proud member of the LGBT community, and Brandon Rheal, current president of Simcoe County Pride, speak to them about youth, awareness and change. The students came away excited to dig deeper into their work and connect with Brandon for further discussions about his work. The students are also wrestling with how to get information out to families in an effective manner (this is a tough one!) and what information to specifically send.

The initial research phase is under way and I’m certain it will lead to some inspired actions from this crew in the near future!