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From the OJEN Blog

A message from OJEN’s executive director

Dear friends of OJEN,

At the end of another challenging year, it’s nice to have some good news to share.  

OJEN is having a birthday! In 2022 we celebrate 20 years of building legal capability in young people. For the last two decades we’ve worked hard to form connections between people who work in the education, legal and community sectors, knowing that these partnerships help us develop relevant and responsive public legal education initiatives for young people. We’re thankful for this support, but in 2022, we’re asking our friends to support OJEN with a donation as well.

Many people don’t realise that OJEN is a charitable, non-profit organisation. Each year, we operate on a very tight, shoestring budget. We would not exist without core funding support from the Law Foundation of Ontario, but to offer the range of programs and resources we do each year, we have to apply for several project-based funding opportunities on an annual basis. We do this to keep our programs and resources free of charge. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on many small non-profit organizations. OJEN was fortunate that we avoided layoffs, as staff worked hard to rework our public legal education programs and resources for virtual delivery and online learning. Needless-to-say, we’ve made significant and unanticipated investments in technology to make all of this possible.

The changing priorities of funders and the intense competition for these limited funds, have a huge impact on the programs and resources we are able to offer. When project funding runs out, sometimes OJEN programs come to an end. This year, four of our most popular programs come to the end of their funding cycles. These include our Youth Police Dialogues, Navigating Police Encounters in Ottawa, Family Law for Young Parents in Hamilton, and Defi de la Charte for French language students throughout the province. While we hope to continue offering these important programs, we’re still exploring ways to cover the program costs.

We come to you to ask for your help in building a base of support from among our like-minded friends. In an unpredictable environment, your donation will help us adapt to the changing demands of program delivery and connect with youth audiences province-wide. Our goals are modest; we hope to raise $20,000 for our 20th anniversary campaign. We could use your help. 

Thank you!

Jessica Reekie

P.S. We are grateful to the many legal professionals who volunteer their time to help us deliver our public legal education programs across the province. But, there are program costs for every OJEN initiative we deliver. Here is how your donation could help us: 

  • $20: A grocery card for a young mom who attends an OJEN Family Law for Young Parents (FLYP) program
  • $50: The travel costs for an OJEN staff member to drive to Kitchener-Waterloo to help deliver a Braiding Diversity into Justice program   
  • $100: The cost of framing a Grade 5 Poster Challenge winning poster 
  • $200: One pizza dinner for a group of youth participating in a Toronto Community Housing mock trial program 
  • $500: Engages an Elder who supports Indigenous youth in the multi-session Youth-Police Dialogue program
  • $1000: The honorarium we provide each law school student who spends a year as an OJEN Justice Education Fellow, learning how to do public legal education and delivering three of their own PLE programs
  • $2000: The annual cost of our virtual meeting platform that allows us to host 70 online PLE programs for youth and 18 webinars for 375 teachers, youth   workers and legal volunteers 

Donors to OJEN’s 20th Anniversary appeal will be recognised on our website and special edition 20th Anniversary annual report.

Donate to OJEN here.

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