Announcing the 2019/20 CBYF Community Innovation Fund Recipients

Posted on August 13, 2020
By Kimber Kunimoto


Tamarack Institute’s Communities Building Youth Futures is proud to announce the recipients of our 2019-2020 Community Innovation Fund. See below for a full list of funding recipients, including project descriptions. 

The Tamarack Institute and Government of Canada’s Learning Branch through the Goal Getters program, have committed to a five-year strategy across Canada to develop system-wide solutions for youth as they build and act upon plans for their future. The Community Innovation Fund is a funding opportunity for Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF) member communities to experiment and develop new models and local efforts, that are not covered by other grants or funding streams, which support youth in the community. Read more about the Community Innovation Fund here. 

Themes that emerged from this year’s group of funded projects include: 


  • Using technology to address the uncertainty and loss of connection that youth are experiencing due to social distancing measures during the COVID-19 global pandemic 

  • Addressing the digital divide by increasing technological access (access to mobile devices and internet services) and technological literacy 

  • Creating alternative learning experiences for youth who face challenges in the standard public-school setting 

  • Supporting education and employment outcomes through wrap-around services and multi-sector partnerships. 

We thank all applicants for the 2019-2020 Community Innovation Fund and look forward to seeing additional innovative ideas including youth-led initiatives in the next round of Community Innovation Fund projects. 


We would also like to thank members of the Review Committee for providing their invaluable time and expertise 


Corner Brook, After the Bell Student Supports 


This project is designed to support youth to ensure their continued attachment to education and graduation with a High School Diploma, through collaboration between community supports and schools. The primary focus will be to provide academic/curriculum support to youth facing challenges or barriers to academic success (including but not limited to physical and/or mental health concerns; unstable family life; diagnosed learning needs; involvement with the criminal justice system; food insecurity; unstable housing). The underlying barriers to learning will be addressed by community resources and academic supports will be provided by recently graduated professional teachers. 


Our Building Youth Futures Leadership Table is very grateful for the support from the Innovation Fund to implement the After the Bell Student Supports Initiative. Through this project we will provide a great resource to enable youth to overcome barriers and reach their full potential! Our goal is build resilience and optimism in youth that will help them reach their goals.” - Christine Young, CEO of YMCA of Western NL 


Digby, The Rural Youth Connections Project 


Turning the Tide’s Community Survey found that young people in their 20s felt less connected to their community than any other age group. Reliable internet access is an important means of supporting connections among youth, as well as connections with resources that could link them to community and to education and employment options. Through youth leadership positions, this project will determine how many young people lack access to personal devices or internet services. Young people will be invited to join an online youth group with a focus on social, education, and employment connections. Along with providing technological access, this project will explore the impact of that technology has on a young person’s ability to connect socially, provide narratives and data to potentially influence mezzo and macro systems change, and support the use of internet and technology resources to improve outcomes towards further education and/or employment.  


“Turning the Tide is honoured to be selected for the Innovation Fund and want to thank the selection committee for considering our Rural Connections Project. We are excited for the work ahead, connecting youth across the Digby area!” - Jill Balser, Project Lead of Turning the Tide. 


Portage La Prairie, The Roving Campus


The mission of the Roving Campus Portage Collegiate Institute is to make learning engaging and relevant to high school students through voice and choice. The project will target high school students, who, in the past, struggled with regular attendance and the standard classroom structure. Along with earning high school credits and certificates, students will provide input into the fall activities and will receive supports to address barriers to participation. The campus will use the entire community of Portage la Prairie, and surrounding area, as its classroom and barriers to participation will be removed. Some examples of the community-as-classroom learning scheduled for the fall include a bio-blitz on Crescent Lake, interviews with Indigenous elders at the former residential school, and some detective work at the city's riparian forest.  


“The name of the Roving Campus came from a term used to describe non-attenders; "wanderers". It is our desire to prove that not all who wander are lost. Thanks to the Tamarack Innovation Fund our students will have access to educational opportunities, at home and across the region, that would not otherwise be possible. - James Kostuchuk, Roving Campus 


Prince Albert, Connecting, Supporting, and Empowering Prince Albert's Youth


Young people expressed concerns that their basic needs were not being met and that they did not feel connected to their peers because of social distancing. This project is intended to provide young people and their families with access to services and technology to help keep them safe, supported, socially connected and culturally connected. Digital devices will help young people build quality connections and relationships with other youth, friends and families. Resources to help young people meet their basic needs (i.e. food, clothing, and childcare for families), along with access to licenses or registration for a Treaty number will also be provided. Finally, vulnerable youth will receive professional, cultural and traditional supports to help them improve their wellbeing (i.e. seeking the guidance of an Elder or Knowledge Keeper).  


Sudbury, Brand Innovation and Digital Strategy for Youth Engagement

This project allows the community to develop an in-depth understanding of youth, and how to best engage them in planning, recruit them for participation in programming, and maintain their participation. This project will bring together a large cross-sectoral community to co-create with youth, one centralized virtual platform that connects youth to resources, services and supports in both English and French and ensuring cultural sensitivity and safety.  


Across our large geographical area in the North, many youth find themselves struggling throughout their educational journey with alternative options to return to school and in employment.  Youth are faced with challenges in their efforts to find supports that are readily available in all communities and to identify available options for their individual needs.  They are often faced with having to navigate multiple websites filled with information. The centralized virtual platform will provide our northern youth a one-stop resource that we hope will provide a seamless experience of alternative education pathways and for education.  We are excited that this funding will allow us to build a solution that fits the needs of the North, and giving community partners an opportunity to engage with youth regardless of where they live. - Elaina Groves, Chief Executive Officer of Children's Aid Society for the Districts of Sudbury Manitoulin 


Yellowknife, YK Prep-Connect


The summer can be an opportunity for youth to better prepare themselves academically for the upcoming school-year or to work on pre-employment skills and life skills. With students having to return their Chromebooks for the summer, this creates a gap for youth who might need a device during the summer months to access resources and support. This project aims to keep youth connected to school and life skills preparation supports. This project will utilize community volunteers to provide one-on-one tutoring and mentorship to youth completing high school work either virtually or in-person. Personal devices (i.e. laptop or phone) and internet access will be provided to youth who prefer to connect virtually but do not have access. 


SideDoor is excited to embark on this new adventure and to lead this collective impact initiative. We are especially thankful for the financial and mentorship support from Tamarack throughout the entire application process. We are also grateful for the Leadership Team who are so passionate in providing hope: better outcomes for youth in Yellowknife.” - Iris Notley, Executive Director of SideDoor 

Community Innovation, Youth, Communities Building Youth Futures, CBYF Blog

Kimber Kunimoto

By Kimber Kunimoto

Kimber recently joined the Communities Building Youth Futures team to support communities in addressing complex issues impacting young people and to develop learning opportunities and resources for community change. She values choice and voice and prioritizes the involvement of people with lived experience in community development.

Kimber s’est récemment jointe à l’équipe de Communautés bâtissant l’avenir des jeunes pour aider les communautés à résoudre les problèmes complexes qui affectent les jeunes, de même que pour aménager des occasions d’apprentissage et développer des ressources pour le changement communautaire. Elle accorde une grande importance à la possibilité de faire des choix et de s’exprimer, et considère qu’il est prioritaire d’impliquer les personnes ayant vécu des expériences en développement communautaire.

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