On November 13, ACCESS hosted its 6th Youth Making a Difference Conference. The event provided a unique opportunity for high school students in the Peel Region, consistent with all components of "Educate, Empower, Inspire".

The Fall 2013 Youth Making a Difference Conference was re-designed to be fast-paced, exciting, and highly participatory, where students learned and practiced skills needed for social action.

The event featured activities, stories and instructions to help students start socially-focused projects, and was hosted by the ACCESS team at the Brampton Community Door. Students worked in smaller groups and produced tangible results.

Students were exposed to and gained experience in Organizational Development (lead by Student Leadership Development Coordinator David Ip Yam), Organizational Branding (lead by Designer Daniel Francavilla), Concept Development and Brainstorming (lead by Designer and Engineer Damon Pfaff), and Press Release and Social Media Planning (lead by Non-Profit Consultant Shaneeza Nazseer). These facilitators were on-hand to guide students through their projects.


The conference was beneficial to youth with a variety of interests and passions. Students interested in social justice, local and global activism, social entrepreneurship, and in starting their own projects found valuable resources at YMAD6. The conference incorporated creativity, design, business, strategy, and community service.

A goal was for students to experience a sense of community and collaboration in a fast-paced environment, while working towards a positive outcome.

"It was an amazing conference. My students came back pumped and inspired," was the feedback received by an educator who has attended several ACCESS events with students. "Thanks for your continued leadership and direction."

Students taking action beyond the conference

YMAD David on Student LeadershipStudent concepts were evaluated and winning projects have been selected from John Cabot Secondary School in Mississauga and St. Edmund Campion Secondary School in Brampton. These groups will be working with ACCESS and their schools to have their projects developed and turned into action this year.

"There is a huge benefit for students to both brainstorm and develop projects as a team and then have the ability and support to execute them," said Daniel Francavilla, ACCESS Executive Director.

"We are committed to helping these students create social change in their community, using their own skills and interests."

ACCESS will be sharing the details and stories of the student projects in the coming months.

For more photos from the conference, visit this gallery on the ACCESS Facebook Page.