Six young carers share their stories

September 13, 2016

Picture this: A filmmaking workshop with a group of youth from 10 – 18 years old. Each one was there to make a video about them, and they played the role of writer, editor, videographer, photographer, and everything in between.

You can imagine the instant silliness and fun that explodes when they are given cameras, their own MacBook Pros and access to a temporary recording studio. But this wasn’t a typical group of 10 – 18 year olds. It didn’t take more than a couple of hours to realize this group was wise beyond their years. 

young carers share their stories
It is estimated that 17% of Ontario caregivers are between the ages of 15 and 24.
young carers share their stories
Young carers at a Powerhouse Project activity night in St. Catharines, Ont.

This was a group that helped young carers share their stories. If you are like most people, you’re likely not sure what that means. We were the same—until we started our journey looking at the issues and challenges faced by Ontario’s family caregivers.

Young carers generally refers to young children (sometime just four or five), youth or young adults who support or have other responsibilities helping a family member who has a health issue—like chronic disease, disability, mental health and/or addiction.

Once we learned more about young carers, it wasn’t long before we heard about The Powerhouse Project—a group supporting young carers in the Niagara region and Haldimand and Norfolk counties.

The Powerhouse Project exists to support children and youth, who find themselves in a caregiving role at a young age. The project offers a variety of free services and activities to empower Young

Carers and their families as they navigate the complications of illness and all that entails. Through weekly programming that includes arts and crafts activities, team-building, camps, education workshop, and more, The Powerhouse Project aims to foster resilience, reduce isolation and caregiver fatigue and alleviate stress and anxiety.

As part of our work with caregivers, The Change Foundation is committed to bringing attention to this little-known situation. One of our initiatives included hosting this filmmaking workshop that enabled this group of youth to tell their own stories using video.young carers share their stories

 

As part of our work with caregivers, The Change Foundation is committed to bringing attention to this little-known situation. One of our initiatives included hosting this filmmaking workshop that enabled this group of youth to tell their own stories using video.

The stories are hard to comprehend. They are often heartbreaking, but they are real. It’s an issue we can’t ignore. Young carers are often invisible, but they are in need of support and respect, especially in health care settings.

Each of them embraced the opportunity, even though there were times when it was hard to face the realities and emotions of their lives. In the end, each of them was proud to share their video with the group and their families. It is our honour to share them with you.

To watch the finished videos and to hear young carers share their stories, click here: www.changefoundation.com/ontario-young-carers.

 

 

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WHAT’S BEING SAID

All three hospitals in our first case studies report understood the power of stories to unite patients, families and professionals & remind them of the reasons they want to improve care. Learn more about the hospitals profiled in the case studies: bit.ly/2Stemsl pic.twitter.com/qXkJiPW1ep