What is it like to Grow Up in Our Communities?

What is it like to Grow Up in Our Communities?
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About the Author

Sarah McPherson

Sarah McPherson

Sarah is a veteran communications, fundraising and marketing professional with over 20 years’ experience working in the corporate and not-for-profit industry. Sarah has helped lead organizations through branding campaigns, fundraising events and annual campaigns, along with community-at-large special events. She is the Director of Communication and Development for the Oakville Community Foundation.

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Overall it looks like childhood in the communities of Oakville and North Halton is a positive experience. In many cases, we rank on par or higher than the national and provincial averages on relevant, positive criteria. We have relatively strong economic growth, high levels of household wealth, community connection and abundant opportunities.

However, when you scratch the surface, it begins to become apparent that the opportunities for our youth are not equal. That the struggles for many of our youngest residents are real. And, that it’s not a clear-cut divide of rich versus poor. Of course, wealth is helpful in providing the basics of life, but we are seeing troubling data that indicates children of privilege are not exempt from dealing with some adverse childhood experiences as well.

In fact, when we look at exposing the “Two Childhoods”, disparities appear between those with means and those without, between boys and girls, or even in some cases between newcomers and longtime residents. And, while it doesn’t clearly break down into two easy to follow versions of what childhood looks like in Oakville and North Halton, there are clear dichotomies that can affect youth at various stages of their childhood – dichotomies that need to be addressed if we want to ensure opportunity for all our children and the best chance for a successful adulthood. To continue the vitality of our communities into the future, we need to support our children as they become well-adjusted adults.

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This is why The Oakville Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of Halton North and the YMCA of Oakville have come together to research what makes childhood successful and what makes childhood more challenging? We want to understand where and how our kids most need support – to be sure that none are being left behind and that all of our kids are being provided with a strong start in life.

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