Header image
Sidebar image
Donate Now Online

Ontario Trillium Foundation
What We Do

Community Builders programs build the leadership capacity of young people in elementary schools.  We train students, teachers and parents in anti-bullying, social inclusion, equity and conflict resolution, while raising their awareness of racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression. 

Our "School of Allies" Youth Leadership Institutes and Leadership Development Workshops give young people the understanding and skills to train their peers and to intervene as allies when people are being mistreated or bullied.  We also offer training and support to teachers, parents and administrators. Through skills development and consultation, we guide and support school communities towards making lasting sustainable changes in their school culture, creating more caring and inclusive learning environments. 

12 Reasons Community Builders is effective 

  1. Our central focus is on belonging and inclusion.  This is a powerful, positive focus that combats negative behaviours like violence, self-harm and gang membership that result from young people feeling alienated.  Our participants learn how to defuse negative situations by showing caring to everyone - perpetrators and victims alike.
  2. Our goal is to build leadership capacity for the long term health of communities. 
  3. Our motto is "Caring is Cool".  We develop leaders who are willing to work to change school culture to a culture of caring, where everyone has a sense of belonging and people know how to support and stick up for each other. 
  4. We train parents and teachers as well as students; all constituencies need to be involved in order to change school culture. 
  5. We work in multiracial training teams – our trainers model building strong relationships in a group of people from different backgrounds.
  6. We focus on in-depth, sustained leadership development  – our student leaders first hear Community Builders messages in Grade 1, and when they reach Grade 4 they embark on a 3-4 year intensive training process in which they attend a 4-day Youth Leadership Institute each year. 
  7. We work with all grades of elementary students from primary to Grade 8.
  8. Older students educate their younger peers by delivering workshops on diversity and bridge-building. 
  9. Our 4-day Youth Leadership Institutes bring together leadership teams from different schools.  It is exciting and empowering for students, teachers and parents to meet and work with like-minded people from other parts of their community.  
  10. A key element of our training is teaching students and adults about the dynamics of racism, sexism, boy's oppression, classism and other oppressions and how to be allies to people from different groups.
  11. Community Builders training is skill focused; in addition to theory, we want our leaders to have practical skills they can use in everyday settings at school to intervene in situations of mistreatment and conflict.  They learn how to stop the meanness without being mean back.  
  12. Our senior students identify needs, and design and implement leadership projects that will make their schools more caring and inclusive.