Frontline Partners with Youth Network (FPYN) is a group of bold and dedicated people who work with youth in Toronto. The network started when, in 2005, frontline workers came together to support each other in dealing with the effects of gun violence. Today, FPYN represents people working with youth in all sectors and across the city. As people who work directly with youth, we see the systemic barriers they face and we are determined to take them on. At the same time, many of us are dealing with the effects of systemic racism and oppression ourselves. Many of us are suffering from unrecognized trauma and vicarious trauma. And many of us feel burnout.
Together, we are working to develop a system of self-care in order to get better at our jobs, improve our working conditions and be more sustainable in the field. We are also advocating for a better city-wide atmosphere for both frontline workers and youth. This means taking on systemic issues like racism, oppression, distribution of wealth, funding and institutional structures. It also means working across sectors. Youth don’t live in sectors, and they can’t be addressed that way. We look at the big picture and the lives of youth as they’re lived: in reality, not according to the divisions that are often created by funders, government and institutions.