The mission of Youth Services is to offer activities that are accessible to girls and young people of creative gender aged 10 and over in the Quebec City area. The creative gender is defined by an expression of gender (generally male or female) that goes beyond the stereotypes associated with it. By gender stereotype, we can still see many examples that persist, such as assuming that girls like pink objects and talk about their emotions, and that guys are more inclined to competition and games and crafts. Certainly, these characteristics exist, but they should not be imposed or limit the possibilities and opportunities for young people. We also include by ‘creative gender’, youth of sexual and/or gender diversity and/or questioning. The pronouns of the young people are requested and respected, and we accompany them without judgment, at the pace they choose.
All of our programs aim to highlight and value the strengths of young people and give them tools to develop their power, self-esteem, critical thinking or leadership skills, and to adopt healthy relationships. From a popular education and feminist intersectional intervention perspective, the Youth Services team believes that young people are the experts in their own lives and are in the best position to find solutions to their issues, and our activities aim to give them a voice first and foremost. We take into consideration the various trajectories and experiences of young people and work to reduce the factors of oppression and discrimination that they experience.
For nearly 15 years, we have reached more than 135 youth in our weekly meetings (committees) and have facilitated more than 700 hours of workshops and discussions. Through special activities, we reach nearly 200 youth from different backgrounds. Our activities are free of charge and reduce the financial constraints of families by providing transportation, snacks and meals as well as clothing and materials needed for the activities.
Starting in the fall of 2022, some of our activities will reach out to boys through different projects, including one on healthy masculinity and another related to mental health. We believe that it is important to extend our field of action to all young people in order to offer caring spaces for discussion, education and the search for solutions. We are counting on a collective mobilization in the face of systemic issues!