Social work student Rebecca Gashlard-Strain gained legal knowledge and work experience during her OJEN placement.
OJEN turned 15 this year!
Since 2002, our programs and resources have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people throughout Ontario. And we’re just getting started! Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond we’re excited about opportunities to expand our justice education initiatives to new youth audiences. We know that providing young people with the legal life skills to navigate their world is one important factor contributing to greater access to justice.
Between now and the end of 2017, we’ll be posting 15 of our most significant achievements – reasons we think you’ll want to give us an extra-special year-end present!
Donate $15 or $150 …or more! Read all 15 reasons why your donation to OJEN will make a difference.
OJEN provides meaningful work experiences for young people
“I completed my Social Work placement with OJEN and was hired on for the summer before I attended law school. While I facilitated program sessions aimed at increasing youth’s overall legal capability, I simultaneously developed my own legal capability. I began my placement with a vague understanding of our Canadian legal system and a year later I found myself feeling confident about the foundational legal knowledge and skills I’ve gained. This experience was invaluable as it helped me situate various legal issues, and specifically access to justice issues, which I will continue to focus on throughout my JD program.”
Rebecca Gashlard-Strain, former OJEN placement student and employee
Empowering young people to develop their legal capability and become engaged citizens starts with providing them with opportunities to succeed. Whether giving them a hand in shaping the justice education projects they participate in, creating forums for their voices to be heard by legal sector decision-makers, or providing employment experiences that build skills and self-confidence, OJEN encourages youth to take the lead whenever possible.
Each year, OJEN creates paid positions, for-credit internships and practicums for high school and post-secondary students. Students from a wide range of programs and institutions find opportunities here to get their feet wet with real-world work experience. We offer them a supportive environment and meaningful employment.
This year, OJEN initiated our first Justice Education Fellowship program. Six law students from five Ontario law schools were offered OJEN Fellowships. After taking part in a weekend-long intensive public legal education training program facilitated by OJEN staff, they returned to their respective institutions to put into practice what they had learned. Each student was expected to undertake three justice education projects during the course of the school year. They have embraced the challenge with enthusiasm. To date, they have developed and delivered workshops on topics ranging from alternative dispute resolution to cyber-bullying. Some have organized mock trials and others have helped coordinate OJEN Law Institutes for teachers of high school law and civics. Not only have they extended justice education activities to new communities, they are gaining valuable experience that will serve them well after they graduate.
Providing young people with meaningful work experiences helps more than just those young people. Everyone they encourage as a result of their work experience benefits as well. Meaningful work for young people is another important reason to give to OJEN’s 15th Birthday Campaign.