This month, the ysi collaborative bids a warm goodbye to Cathy Dyer. Cathy has been a steward with the ysi since our inception in 2009 and the heart and soul she has put into her work with the ysi have been influential in helping to grow and strengthen our network.
Cathy’s embrace of the participatory leadership approaches, such as the ‘Art of Hosting’ and ‘Deep Democracy’, have been key foundations for ysi’s practice for building youth social infrastructure. This expertise also enabled her impact on Children’s Mental Health Ontario, where she founded the New Mentality (TNM). This youth-led network has raised awareness around youth mental health issues and fought stigma across the province. With her strong commitment to ensuring that youth voices are heard on issues that matter, Cathy has been instrumental in institutionalizing youth engagement practices across the mental health field.
During her years with the ysi ,Cathy has been pivotal in calling the community back to its practice of supporting youth-led organizing, whether through helping to secure grants, facilitating gatherings, or ensuring that the network meets (regardless of the existence of funding). Through it all, she has brought to bear her steadfast conviction that is at the root of any successful network-building and systems change activities: collaborations move at the speed of trust, and tending to our relationships is fundamental. The many wonderful friendships and positive working relationships she has cultivated are testament to this commitment.
We are excited that Cathy will be joining us at our Provincial Gathering in November. In the meantime, we wish her much continued joy and success as she embarks on this next stage of her journey.