WAYVE is program of the Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington Dufferin and is run by two Youth Engagement Facilitators. They are:
Rebecca Pister, Ph.D.
Rebecca has worked with youth-focused initiatives for several years and has been with the WAYVE program for the past five years. What makes WAYVE different than the other programs that she has been involved with is the program’s focus on youth involvement and youth-adult partnerships. 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 ask young people and work with them in order to create a solution. As a result of her involvement with WAYVE, she has conducted a great deal of research on both bullying and youth engagement and enjoys being able to put this research into practice.
Jennifer Durst, B.Ed, B.S.W
Jen has a long history of working in community organizations, particularly those with an LGBTQ focus. She is passionate about working with youth and is honoured to be a part of WAYVE. When she first started working as a facilitator, she asked the regional team to describe what WAYVE meant to them in one word – the majority said “family”. She knew then that she was involved in something special. Jen was drawn to WAYVE because it is a peer-led, youth engagement program. She believes that youth have so much to contribute and that they best understand how the issues they face play out in their lives. Jen enjoys the energy and passion that young people bring with them, especially those who she has the pleasure of working with and getting to know!
Jessica Schumacher, B.A, Dipl.
Jessica first started engaging with youth during a University placement six years. Since then, she realized her passion for getting involved with the community, and in particular youth experiencing difficult times, and in need of support. New to the WAYVE program, Jessica is eager and excited to begin working with peer-led, youth engagement teams in the region and building strong relationships with the youth, as WAYVE embodies the same ideas and values she shares. As a caring, enthusiastic supporter and mentor, Jess’ efforts are directed to ensuring acceptance and inclusion within the community by giving youth the opportunity and power to be their own advocates and lead programs for change themselves.
In addition to staff, WAYVE is also supported by some outstanding youth volunteers. They help support the team at weekly team meetings, mentor students with the development of their personal stories, provide coaching at presentations and help with community requests. They are:
Ashley is a volunteer facilitator with WAYVE. She has been involved with WAYVE for 5 years and she loves every minute of it. There are many reasons that keep her coming back. One of the main reasons is that WAYVE has become a second family to her. WAYVE has become a place where she feels safe and is a place where she can be herself.
John has been involved with the Regional WAYVE team since his senior year of high school at Cameron Heights. After the suicide of a friend, John became involved with WAYVE as a presenter to try and support other youth in the K-W region. Feeling that his goal as a presenter was fulfilled, the following year, John decided to return to WAYVE as a Volunteer Facilitator. He is currently a science student at the University of Waterloo.
This is Stephanie’s third year on the WAYVE team. She first started in her last year of high school. Although she moved away for university, she continues to come home to be a volunteer facilitator for WAYVE. This is because every one of her teammates have made the most amazing impact in her life, she was quite simply not ready to say goodbye and is very grateful to have been welcomed back with open arms every year.