What is the Ontario Support Network (OSN)?

The Ontario Support Network is an exciting program that builds deeper relationships between We Matter and a select number of northern Ontario communities and between youth and their supports across communities.

The OSN supports Indigenous youth-led Community Teams to lead mental health and life promotion initiatives focused on culture, community/on-the-land engagement, and peer-to-peer support. Community Teams can apply to host activities or events in their community and access between $500 – $2,500 to do so.

To be a part of the Ontario Support Network, there is an application process which is open from now until March 1st, 2020.

  • Submitted applications will be reviewed at the end of every month.
  • Applying teams will need to participate in an introduction call with We Matter, and will hear back within a couple weeks of submission if they’ve been selected.
  • We Matter is here to support you in submitting your application, please contact Chelsea at chelsea@wemattercampaign.org for questions.

Learn more about the OSN program here

Download the Info Doc

Ontario Support Network applications are now available!

Download the Application

Submit your application by the end of the month, between now and March 1st, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: We will be supporting communities in northern Ontario; East, West and North of Thunder Bay (including Thunder Bay), including both rural and urban communities. We expect that we will be accepting between 5-10 communities depending on the projects proposed.

A: The following are Project Options community teams can apply to lead alongside We Matter, including some examples. You do not have to choose one of the examples, but your project does have to fit within one of the four main Project Options:

Community Art Project (up to $500)

  • Community or school mural
  • Youth art show
  • Photography exhibit
  • Create and share sessions

Awareness Event (up to $1000)

  • Mental health fair
  • Awareness walk/rally
  • Pride event
  • Knowledge sharing sessions (sharing circles, education series)

Cultural Activity (up to $1500)

  • Youth/elder gathering
  • Craft making
  • Language
  • Teaching and stories

On-the-Land Event (up to $2000)

  • Culture/land camp
  • Hunting/fishing/trapping/gathering
  • Shelter building
  • Snowshoeing
A: It depends how many applications we are getting! We want to try and support as many different communities as possible, so if multiple teams from the same community apply, we can’t promise we can support both. Or, we might encourage teams from the same community to work together.
A: Yes, however, we want to try and support as many different communities and teams as possible, so we might prioritize different groups. If your team is super eager and ran a successful project, we’ll definitely try our best to continue to support you!
A: It is expected that Community Guides will house project dollars; support youth with expense reporting and submission; oversee the project activities in the community; check in on youth throughout the process; support youth with any challenges that arise; support youth in the planning and implementation of the project; be on relationship building and debrief calls with We Matter; provide updates/be in regular communication with We Matter as per the participation agreement.
A: The Community Partner is someone or an organization in the community who will support your project. It can be a cultural teacher, school, community center, health center, etc. The Community Partner can support your project in a number of ways – it’s up to you how – maybe they have a space or venue you can use to host your project, maybe they have people who are willing to volunteer for you, or maybe they have equipment or supplies you can use.
A: Yes! As long as the Community Guide/Community Partner are supporting you and your project, and they feel they have the capacity to fill both roles!!
A: The Ontario Support Network is a volunteer and mentorship opportunity, so no you will not be paid for your involvement. This means that designated dollars are to the project only and OSN Youth, Partners and Guides will not be receiving monetary gain. The focus is on skill, relationship, and capacity building for everyone involved!

A: Your project should not be the continuation of an existing program offered by an organization or club. For example, you should not be applying to fund the purchasing of items for continuing a program already in place by your local community centre. Your project cannot be simply purchasing furniture, equipment or technology for your school or a local charity. There must be a service-related aspect or activity to these purchases. For example, purchasing new sports equipment in order to START and lead a series of youth wellness nights in your community. Projects cannot be fundraisers or activities that include making a donation to a charity or charitable cause. The grant funds also may not be used to make purchases benefitting a single individual.

A: Equipment bought for use throughout the project using grant funds must be donated to a community organization or school upon completion. You must provide contact at the organization who can verify the donation.

A: We Matter is here to support you and your project from start to finish. This includes helping you with your application, building a project plan and budget, problem solving and supporting challenges, sharing successes, and having check-in and debrief calls throughout the project period and after your final project/event. You will also be connected with other Ontario Support Network participants through our Facebook Group to receive advice and share successes!

A: We will have an answer for whether your application has been approved within 2 to 3 weeks following submission. This will depend on how quickly we can set up a follow up call to get to know you and chat about your application.

A: You are required to submit a report to We Matter about your project, which will include pictures, receipts, and a social media package within 2 weeks of completing your project.

See what Community Teams did in 2018/2019

Over the course of a year, 5 OSN Community Teams engaged in regular relationship-building and project planning with each other as well as the We Matter Team, in order to create and implement youth-led projects in their own schools or communities.

The programs we have are working really well the weeks are filled with programs we have a support circle every monday we have homework help every wednesday and every other tuesday we have our youth council meetings the programs have brought so many youth together and honestly the most I’ve seen them smile.

Tashie Broadbent

My name is Natasha Broadent. I am 15 years old and I live in Manitou Rapids. I used to live in a southern city named London Ontario, I liked living there but mostly because of the people there like my friends and family. Our family has always wanted to move north but we never really put enough enough. We moved because of my dads family, My dad was part of the 60s Scoop and never met his parents, him and my mom vigorously searched for any of his family, it was a real struggle for my dad because he often would fall into the belief that they did not want him. After a few years my dad found his mom in Rainy River First Nations. It was a very emotional reunite and we decided as family to move up to Manitou to reconnect with the family and who we are as aboriginal people. It was hard to leave everything behind and have a brand new environment, but I do not regret it. Living here and being a youth means I get to see first hand on what my peers are going through. They are wonderful people filled with laughter and happiness, but they still have immense amount of trauma and mental health issues, the worst part is that no one listens to these youth, they often turn to unhealthy resources like drugs, alcohol and self harm. I noticed this and new that all they wanted was to be somewhere where they are not judged and they are not looked down upon, they just want to be loved and accepted. I was determined to do what I can to help them.

Natu Broadbent

My name is Nathaniel Broadbent I prefer to go by Natu. I’m 15 years old and live in a small community called Manitou Rapids. Compared to where I live now I use to live in a southern city called London Ontario I lived there all my life however I do not remember over half of my life only small little glimpses of good things that happened but I believe it’s good I don’t remember the bad parts the only reason I lived in London was because my father was a victim of the sixties scoop and my dad was adopted to a British family in Timmins Ontario and my father was actually on his way to Sarnia Ontario for a job and met my mom in Strathroy Ontario and they pretty much stuck with each other forever still together this day my mom was a big change in his life my dad has been looking for his birth family for 38 plus years and found his mother 5 years ago and their first time meeting was the first time his mother has ever touched him after 30 something years of not knowing if he was alive until 2015 when she got an email saying her son was trying to find where his mother is and if she was still alive but now after a few years my whole family moved up to Manitou Rapids.

Marcel Horton

Marcel was raised in his community of Rainy River First Nations/Manitou Rapids, where he currently resides with his wife and two children. Marcel holds strong ties to his home and has worked throughout his adult life in positions of employment that would allow him to support his community, whether that be suring his time as both an OPP and First Nations police constable, community Education Counsellor, or community leader during his tenures as a Council Member. Being active in the community has helped ground Marcel in the realities and challenges that face many First Nations and the need for all to work collaboratively to ensure the community is home, a safe place, a place of acceptance, understanding and support for its Members.

We hosted a Floor Hockey Tournament in February, did a We Matter presentation to the community over March break, and did a trip out to Old Whitesand for an on the land activity before the end of the year!

Tenika Wabason

My name is Tenika M. Wabason. I’m from Whitesand First Nation currently living in Thunder Bay. On the weekends I’m in Whitesand I like to help and participate in the community events. Other things I like to do is watch Netflix, naps, or listen to music. 
I’m a part of the Ontario Support Network because I want to help Whitesand come together as a community. Also, to experience what the other communities are doing, like their projects or events. The Ontario Support Network will help me take on leadership roles, especially when going through struggles.

Brad Bouchard
Community Guide

Bojou, Ahnnii, Hello! My name is Brad Bouchard and I am the Community Guide for Whitesand First Nation for the We Matter Ontario Support Network. I am also the Child & Youth Strategy Worker for Whitesand. I really enjoy working with the youth from our community because I see a lot of potential in them. They strive to learn new things in their lives. I am working with Tenika Wabason and Jared Nodin as the Ambassadors for WFN. The thing I really like about being part of the We Matter OSN is all the support you receive from the coordinators and team. They are always there to help out with ideas and the youth’s projects. We will be planning an On-the Land outing where the youth will be able to camp out and learn about the old ways. We will be learning about culture, traditions, ceremonies and listening to the elder’s stories. We also have tournaments as our community youth are very competitive and love to play against each other. We have had the chance to teach the youth how to curl this year in our curling rink. All ages are always part of the activities we run and seem to always have the communities support. I really would like to thank the We Matter Team for giving Whitesand First Nation’s youth a chance to be part of the Ontario Support Network and we will be posting more pics of our community. sending a cha mii-gwetch to you all!
View the Multimedia Storybook