Made With 100% Alberta Youth: Engaging Young People in IYS Brand Development

Young Albertans are among the most underserved populations when it comes to mental health and addictions challenges, and not for lack of evidence-based treatments. The problem is the lack of integration among existing services, making it hard for young people and families/caregivers to know which door to walk through. Integrated service centres are a promising new concept to care with potential to irrevocably change the lives of Alberta’s young people, today and into the future. AB-IYSI was created to help young people find help more easily by coordinating and connecting a variety of services in a single location. It all begins with the launch of our brand and website — and the creation of both have been led by young people and families; giving ownership of the project to those closest to the issue. We commit to continuing to co-creating this initiative with young people and families across Alberta.

Presenters and slide deck

Leavy Ashbee, Youth Action Council Member

My name is Leavy Ashbee and I am a Grade 11 student in Coaldale, Alberta. I have worked closely with many different volunteer organizations, most prominently the Coaldale Do Crew. We are a youth-powered group, aimed towards engaging more young people in the community. I am driven by my passions, music being one of them. I play five instruments and enjoy composing my own pieces. Another passion of mine is making mental health spaces more accessible and this is what drew me to Kickstand, formally AB-IYSI. I knew I had to be a part of their community and I am grateful to now be a Kickstand YAC member, after working closely with the team for a while. I strive for a world where mental health resources are available to all, and Kickstand is making that world a reality.

Alexandra San Diego, Youth and Family Engagement Coordinator, Communications Coordinator

Alexandra or Alex is both the Youth and Family Engagement Coordinator & Communications Coordinator for Kickstand, formerly known as the Alberta Integrated Youth Services Intiative (AB-IYSI). She has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Alberta and is deeply passionate about writing, social media, and youth mental health advocacy.

In her spare time, you can find her watching online K-pop concerts, volunteering for Asian Mental Health Collective, or working on her 5 star Animal Crossing island.

Nancy Zhao, Community Engagement and Partnership Lead

Nancy Zhao works at Kickstand as the Community Engagement and Partnership Lead. Her interests and advocacy in youth mental health promotion led her to complete a Master of Public Health from Simon Fraser University. During her grad studies, she researched the impact of engagement on the recovery for youth with lived/living experience of mental illness. She is excited to bring what she’s learned from her time at Foundry as a Youth Peer Engagement Coordinator back to her home province to support the development of integrated youth services in Alberta. During her free time, you can find Nancy chilling with her dog Noelle, scrolling TikTok and taking care of the many plant babies she’s acquired during the pandemic.

Rob Jennings, President, FKA Agency

Rob is the President and founder of FKA, one of Canada's Fastest Growing Companies for three years running. FKA empowers people and organizations to harness their potential and execute their ambition through marketing and communications.

Key Learnings

  • Kickstand has engaged youth in the process of rebranding which has led to a deeper emotional connection to the work.
  • Some of the lessons learned from engaging with youth include: trading control for insight, consensus trumps unanimity, patience is key and focusing on inputs rather than outcomes.

Subscribe to Frayme
Stay up-to-date with Frayme and network opportunities through our newsletter, OnPoint. 

Join our Network
Network partners work alongside Frayme or other network partners in order to transform youth mental health and substance use services in Canada. Access the evidence, resources and tools you need to take action.