Brant Youth and Family Engagement

Where your voice and story make a difference.

Brant Youth & Family Engagement strives to build strong inclusive connections for youth, caregivers, and their communities.

As the Lead Agency for the Moving on Mental Health initiative for Brantford/Brant, Woodview is committed to engaging with youth and families in our community to create meaningful change to children’s mental health services in Brant.

The goal of our youth and family engagement framework considers youth and families as equal partners in the co-creation of the programs and services that they use. It also includes partnering with youth, families and allies in a variety of ways to transform the children’s mental health system in Brant.

Woodview Engagement Logo
As a young mom, Woodview provided my son and I an environment where we felt safe, understood and provided guidance towards resources within our community that we did not know were available.  Being apart of the Brant Engagement group provides me a great opportunity to give back to individuals and families in our community, as a THANK YOU for all Woodview has done to contribute to my families success story,  I can only hope I will provide the same level of significance in someone else’s journey by being apart of Brant Engagement.

Nadine Wight

I’m so grateful to be a part of a team of people who make sure all of our voices are heard, and who make sure our stories make a difference in the community.

Shalyn McGuin

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone who has had past or present experience using Woodview services for themselves or a loved one is welcome to be a part of our Engagement Committee and Network. If you have experience navigating mental health in other services but not expressly with Woodview, we welcome you to be part of our network in the BLUE or YELLOW zones as your input is still needed as we work to contribute to the bigger systems of care.

There are three levels of participation you can choose from regarding our Engagement Network.  Choose your level of engagement and let us know if anything changes moving forward.  Depending on your level of engagement you will be invited to participate in any of the following:

  • Monthly Meetings (90 Minutes in Length)
  • Special Projects
  • Surveys/Town Halls
  • Events (if available)
  • Read the Newsletter

Our green zone monthly engagement meetings happen on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at either 12 Noon or 7pm. We have both in-person and zoom options. Choose which one suits you best. Other events and Town Halls will be announced as they are planned. Try out the engagement meeting for 3 months, if you love it, we would love for you to commit to one year so we can count on your insights and efforts (We understand if life happens, just let us know if something significant changes).

Our monthly meetings take place in person at 643 Park Road North in Brantford, or over Zoom, whichever suits you.  Events and Town Hall meetings or special projects could take place at any of our Woodview Locations in Brantford. Details will be communicated.

We will invite you to give us input (anonymously if desired), and to participate in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

  • Reviewing Communications and Survey Content
  • Policy and Process Review
  • Community content and resource creation
  • Peer support opportunities and events
  • New Program Development
  • Your experience with Woodview services and staff.

Choose your level of participation:

I would like to be part of the Engagement Committee and contribute regularly (All in!).

✔️ Monthly Meetings

✔️ Special Projects

✔️ Surveys/Town Halls

✔️ Events (if available)

✔️ Read the Newsletter

I would like to be part of the Engagement Network, I have some time to offer on occasions throughout the year (Negotiated).

✔️ Surveys/Town Halls

✔️ Occasional Events

✔️ Occasional Project

✔️ Read the Newsletter

I want to be in the network and stay in the loop but I don’t have margin at this time (When Available).

✔️ Surveys

✔️ Read the Newsletter

I just want to subscribe to Woodview’s newsletter.

✔️ Read the Newsletter

Meet our Engagement Lead Team

Nicki Straza - Chair
Nicki Straza

Hi, my name is Nicki Straza, I am a parent with lived experience and the Youth and Family Engagement Lead for Woodview. My journey started when my own child ended up at McMaster Hospital on suicide watch. After a lot of tears, hard work, stress, and change while working through things with wonderful counselors at Woodview and becoming involved in the Family Reference Group I discovered that this was not a journey I could do alone.

I learned so many things as a parent. Things I needed to change and ways that I could support others who like me found themselves in a caregiver role trying to support people they love through various mental health challenges. I learned I needed that support myself. Family engagement helped me feel supported and that good could come from the rough patches. Just like the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken pottery isn’t discarded but carefully reassembled with precious metals like gold and silver, I discovered that the broken and cracked parts of my story were a valuable gift I could give another.

I want our Engagement to be a safe space for youth, families, and individuals to find the gold in their own story and bring it to the table to make a real difference. I, along with our incredible Engagement Network are working to ensure that the youth, family, and client voice will continue to be elevated and supported as we partner together in communication, evaluation and co-creation alongside Woodview staff and Community Partners. Will you join us in this important work?

Shalyn Wilson - Co-Chair

Hello! I’m Shalyn Wilson, a person with lived-experience and a mom of two. As a parent who carries a lot of childhood trauma, I’ve had to learn how to regulate my emotions alongside my children.  Trying to learn these skills while trying to parent a child with their own mental health struggles felt like it was impossible.  After becoming involved in the community, raising my kids feels more like a team effort. Knowing I’m not alone, and knowing where to go when I need help, has made such a difference. The Engagement Network gives parents like myself a place to share their stories and work together to make our incredible community even better. I can’t wait for you to join the team!

Contact Us

This is an exciting journey, and we are just getting started. We are looking forward to your story and your voice joining ours in making a difference in our community.

Glossary of Terms

Adults committed to supporting and mentoring youth in engagement activities and meetings.

A space to be who you are, to say what you need to say and to be challenged to grow.

Any person who takes on the role of caring and supporting another person on a regular basis.

The active invitation and inclusion of persons with lived experience in the operations, decision making and service creation at Woodview.

Members of the engagement network who are willing to volunteer their time and efforts for at least one year to our regular monthly meetings, special projects and working groups.

Every person who is interested in engaging with Woodview and participating at their level of comfort.

Includes all those who offer connection and support no matter how they come to us.

Everyone belongs in Engagement, every voice matter, every experience deserves an ear. We desire to provide a safe and open environment for every person.

Support offered from youth and caregivers with lived experience to one another.