The Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth (MACY) is committed to a child-centred approach which puts children and youth at the centre of all questions and decisions. In practice, this means MACY makes sure the voices and opinions of youth are reflected in all of our actions and activities.
In order to make sure child and youth perspectives stay at the centre of our work, we have engaged young people from across Manitoba to provide input, advice, and feedback. The Youth Ambassador Advisory Squad (YAAS!) works to create change and improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of services provided to children and youth in Manitoba including: child welfare, adoption, disability, addiction, mental health, education, victim support, and youth justice. YAAS! does this through its regular squad meetings where they review, discuss, brainstorm, and consult on issues and then provide feedback and opinions on issues, concerns, reports, projects, and the many activities MACY is involved with. In addition to MACY’s Youth Engagement Coordinators, other MACY staff and management regularly attend YAAS! meetings to raise issues for discussion and listen first hand to the voices and experiences of youth so our work reflects those perspectives.
YAAS! is made up of youth from across Manitoba who have current and past lived experience in the service areas for which MACY has responsibilities. YAAS! members provide youth perspective and insight in all areas of MACY’s work from consulting on issues, summarizing reports, attending and participating in events.
YAAS! is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Seven Teachings, their own experiences, and the experiences of their peers.
In addition to the YAAS!, youth can get involved by being part of the WAAS! Support Squad, which is a larger circle of youth who participate in youth-focused and youth-led activities and initiatives at MACY throughout the year. If you are curious to know more, or are interested in joining us, we would love to hear from you!