The Healthy Schools and Substance Misuse Prevention Youth Leadership Initiatives aim to build resiliency among youth leaders ages 12 to 18 (Grades 7 to 12). This is accomplished by supporting them through a process to learn about the prevention of substance misuse, mental health and well-being, build leadership skills and assist them in taking action on an area of focus.

Public Health staff will work together with school staff to implement the program with students/youth. They will facilitate and support youth through the following process:

Step 1 – Recruit a group of youth in secondary school (ages 12 to 18) who are interested in being peer leaders.

Step 2 – Establish the team of peer leaders to accomplish Steps 3 to 7.

Step 3 – Identify issues that are relevant to their school/community (mental health and well-being and/or substance misuse prevention, i.e., alcohol and other drugs).

Step 4 – Prioritize and decide on a key topic or issues to address.

Step 5 – Develop an action plan to influence others in their school or community.

Step 6 – Implement the plan.

Step 7 – Evaluate and celebrate successes.

For more information and resources about Youth Leadership Initiatives, or if you are interested in the program, contact your liaison Public Health Nurse or Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 or email publichealth@toronto.ca