Youth Empowerment

People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

– Theodore Roosevelt

Children are the now. People always say children are the future but young people are the people who are changing the world now.

– Middle school student

We offer this module to our fellow teachers and other school staff members who are striving to nurture each student’s capacity for leadership and personal agency as a basis for character development.

The module is based on COPA’s innovative approach to bullying and violence prevention, current research and promising practices. In this module, we deepen our exploration of the core of the Safe@School initiative. We expand on concepts and strategies underlying its overarching approach to creating safe, inclusive and equitable schools and classrooms: youth empowerment.

We’ve placed our vision of youth empowerment front and centre in this module, understanding this as the lynchpin for all initiatives aimed at character development, equity and inclusion, and bullying and violence prevention.

OTF and COPA wish to recognize the energy, creativity and tremendous commitment of teachers and school staff members around the province who, on a daily basis, promote their students’ character development by facilitating their empowerment. It is our hope that this module will strengthen our collective efforts to create schools and communities where students and all people will feel secure, respected and included—essentially safe, strong and free.


OTF and COPA wish to acknowledge and thank the many students, educators, school staff members and community workers, including those from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and agencies who have contributed to the development of this resource. The insights and wisdom of these individuals, each of whom is passionate in their own way about this topic, have greatly enriched our reflection and the results. We thank each of you for generously sharing your wisdom and experience with us.