One of the first items on my agenda since becoming MPP for Malton-Mississauga was to support and encourage youth-centred initiatives.

Helping youth to develop their potential, giving them a voice at the table and a platform to discuss their challenges is something I’ve strongly supported. For this reason, we formed the Mississauga-Malton Youth Council for young people between the ages of 14 and 24 and held our first meeting in January. This youth-led initiative focuses on youth helping youth. 

At the initial meeting, there was a free and frank discussion on problems and issues concerning youth, and a commitment by the council to work with me on a project of their choice. On March 9, I held the second meeting of the council and was delighted to have the premier attend and interact with council members. He heard their concerns, especially about the lack of athletic facilities in Malton schools. This second meeting brought more clarity to the issues that were discussed at the first meeting. 

One of the main concerns that kept coming up constantly was that of mental health followed by the lack of job opportunities for youth. The young people expressed their interest in working on reducing the stigma attached to mental health, and in giving their input on the services offered by Malton Youth Wellness Hub. They also suggested setting up forums for open discussions with parents, led by experts, in order to better educate both parents and children about the nuances of mental health and wellness. As a council, we plan on conducting workshops for parents and kids to listen to each other and have an open dialogue. These workshops will have trained social workers present. 

Going forward, I envisage the Mississauga-Malton Youth Council becoming an integral part of the community. In the months to come, I can see these youth creating initiatives to tackle different issues they identify in the community. This in turn will make an impact on all our residents.

If you would like more information about the council or other events we organize, please contact our office at 905-696-0367. On Sunday, April 28, we will be doing a Community Cleanup Day at Acorn Place from 2 to 4 p.m. in conjunction with residents of the area.