WAYVE is program of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and is run by a team of people who believe in the importance of youth engagement.
Rebecca first started working with WAYVE through CMHA as a graduate student at Wilfrid Laurier and has been working in youth engagement and mental health promotion ever since. The WAYVE program introduced her to a way of working with youth that focuses on strengths, builds capacity, and nurtures relationships. She truly believes that the best way to address issues faced by youth is to work with them, and often follow their lead, in order to create a solution. As a result of her involvement with WAYVE, she has conducted a great deal of research on bullying, mental health promotion, and youth engagement and enjoys being able to put this research into practice. Her favourite part of her job is being able to be creative and work with young people who have so many incredible ideas. Her role with CMHAWW also includes delivering presentations and workshops on a variety of issues related to mental health and wellness. When she isn’t working for CMHA you can find her teaching statistics, consulting on mental health promotion for the OJHL, or conducting research for the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council. During her down time (don’t worry, she has plenty) she loves to hang out with family and friends and spend far too much time on YouTube.
John is a student nurse from McMaster University’s School of Nursing who does his education through Conestoga’s Doon campus. He has had the pleasure of being involved with the WAYVE program for the past seven years since he was in grade 11 at Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute. John was inspired to first join WAYVE, which focused primarily on bullying and mental health at the time, after he lost a close friend to suicide. From that point on, John has devoted a portion of his life to youth engagement/outreach in order to give hope and a voice to other youth. Presently, even though John has graduated from high-school, he still volunteers his time to the ever-expanding program as a Student Mentor. In this role, John strives to cultivate healthy and empowering adult-youth partnerships with the goal of normalizing conversations about youth issues and ultimately giving young people an outlet to express their voices in their broader community. John is consistently impressed (and humbled) with how much he learns from the youth, even though he is supposed to be the Student Mentor.
In his spare time, John enjoys nerding out on medical science and anatomy/physiology, as well as perusing the Internet for wholesome smol animal memes.
Siann is in her final year of the undergraduate Psychology program at the University of Waterloo, and is currently in the thralls of applying to graduate programs focused on mental health promotion in young people. She is originally from Guelph, currently lives in Waterloo, and has spent time living at a boarding school in Beamsville and on Boracay Island in the Philippines. She enjoys baking chocolate chip cookies, watching way too much Netflix, and playing with her cat (or any cats that she can find). After a multitude of work and volunteer experiences with populations seeking mental health support, Siann was drawn to the WAYVE program because of the way that WAYVE uses the expertise of young people to promote the mental health of their peers. Siann strongly believes that the experts of any population are the population themselves, and is excited that WAYVE exemplifies this. She has been loving the WAYVE team so far, and can’t wait to keep learning alongside them this year!