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The 2019 PREVNet Conference in Toronto, Ontario

PREVNet held its annual conference in Toronto, Ontario. This conference was an opportunity for partners, researchers, educators, policy makers, and other adults and students who work with youth to come together and discuss how we can create spaces that support equity, diversity and inclusion.


 On May14th, we held a pre-conference day for PREVNet members. In the morning, PREVNet graduate students participated in interactive games to get to know one another, as the graduate students come from across Canada. Thank you to the Graduate Student Executive Committee: Karen Bouchard, Carleigh Sanderson and Heather Woods for organizing and leading the activity. 

 Next, the graduate students had the chance to engage with a panel of early career professionals. They shared their thoughts on lessons learned throughout their career and provided insight on potential next steps. Thank you to: Dr. Alicia Lapointe (Research Scientist for the Centre for School Mental Health, Faculty of Education, Western University), Dr. Alex Sutherland (Psychologist with the Toronto District School Board), Dr. Irene Vitoroulis (Ontario Women’s Health Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University), Laine Bourassa (Researcher at Taylor Newberry Consulting), and Dr. Kirsty Lee (Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Ottawa). 

Following the morning, PREVNet researchers, graduate students, youth advisory committee members and partner organization staff gathered for lunch. After lunch Alita Sauve - Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Indigenous Culture Program, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto – opened up the afternoon by assisting us in acknowledging the land. The land we met on is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit covers Toronto.

Throughout the afternoon, we celebrated PREVNet’s successes with presentations by:

  • Graduate Student’ Stories: Rose Maghsoudi and Ann Farrell
  • Caregiver resources for children with chronic disabilities or illness: Dale Stack, Saskia Ferrar, Andra Mares, and Kate Horton
  • Bullying Prevention Toolkit: Joanne Cummings and Ken McNaughton
  • Family Channel Bullying Awareness Week: Wendy Hoglund and Brenna Zatto
  • PRIMUS cyberbullying resource website for parents: Jennifer Shapka and Rachel Baitz
  • Program Evaluation and Dissemination Guides: Miriam Miller
  • Children’s Rights in Canada Project: Pamela Lovelace

These presentations show us that co-creation with researchers, graduate students, NGOs, and community organizations is key to our success in building healthy relationships.


Following the success stories’, PREVNet members broke out into small groups to discus PREVNet 2.0 and planning for our future.


That evening, our PREVNet members joined us for a wine and cheese reception wiwth a musical performance by Sir John A. MacDonald Public School's Junior/Intermediate Choir.


The next day, May 15th, was our public day! We welcomed a variety of folks to particpate in a day filled with learning and networking. Dr. Wendy Craig and Dr. Claire Crooks, as well as our Gold Sponsors, TELUS and Facebook welcomed everyone to the conference. Dr. Deinera Exner-Cortens, opened the conference with a presentation on "Safe Schools for All Youth: Considering Identity-Based Victimization."


Conference attendees had the opportunity to view graduate students research findings on posters, and view partner displays. Thank you for your contributions!

We are also grateful to all our workshop presenters for developing a diverse array of learning opportunities for our attendees! Presenters included:

  • Sharon Hoover: Supporting Newcomer Youth: the Strengthening Transition Resilience of Newcomer Groups (STRONG)
  • Kristopher Wells: Alberta’s approach to homophobic and transphobic bullying: Building welcoming, respectful schools
  • Steve Sider and Jhonel Morvan: Caring & Safe Schools: Principals fostering inclusivity for students with special education needs
  • Lianne Lee and Lana Wells: Working with Youth to Promote Social Norms that Protect Against Teen Dating Violence
  • Sarah Burke and Rebecca Ulrich: Partnering with Indigenous Communities to Address Interpersonal Violence
  • Brenda Morrison, Taylor Morton and Laura Wright: Circle and Play-based Process: Fostering a culture of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Alicia Lapointe: Exploring and Experiencing a Positive Mental Health Promotion Program for LGBT2Q+ Youth
  • Joanne Cummings: Bullying Prevention and Intervention for Students with Special Needs
  • Deinera Exner-Cortens: Safe Schools for All Youth: Considering Identity-Based Victimization
  • Brenda Restoule: Creating Hope, Belonging, Meaning and Purpose in the Lives of Indigenous Children and Youth
  • Katholiki Georgiades, Irene Vitoroulis and Steven Ma: Immigrant, Refugee, Ethnocultural and Racialized Populations and Bullying
  • Matthew Johnson and Faye Mishna: Promoting Respect and Consent: Lessons from Recent Research

After the workshops, PREVNet’s National Youth Advisory Committee took the stage with a presentation on “Consent Is For Everyone”


We finished the day with our closing keynote by Dr. Claire Crooks with a presentation on "Finding the Middle Ground Between Evidence-based Practice and Locally Relevant Programming." 

To close, Dr. Wendy Craig reflected on what a phenomenal conference we had. We want to thank everyone who made the conference possible. As well as everyone who attended. By coming together and sharing ideas, the conference was truly unforgettable.  

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