Priscilla Ojomu


Bachelor of Arts, Psychology Major, Sociology Minor (Certificate in Community Engagement and Service-Learning & Certificate in Sustainability), 3rd Year 

Course: SOC 327 (Winter 2022) with Instructor Dr. Alison Dunwoody

Who was your community partner, and can you describe the project objectives? 

I had the pleasure of doing my CSL Placement for SOC 327 with Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS), a non-profit organization providing shelter, resources, and trauma support to youth in Edmonton. As part of their prevention-oriented approach to healing unaddressed trauma, they created the Report Racism project to help racialized youth navigate racist systems and interactions. With this goal in mind, my group curated more than 20 resources, policies, and organizations for our toolkit titled "A Youth's Playbook to Reporting Racism." Curating the playbook entailed finding accurate, well-sourced, and valuable information for YESS' youth population. The playbook was designed to inform youth of the various ways to report racist interactions, outline the steps in the reporting process, and provide specific resources (e.g. legal processes and policies, anonymous reporting, BIPOC advocacy, mental health, etc.) to support them.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

The biggest takeaway from my CSL placement was that the resource curation process, the youth our playbook seeks to support and the challenges they face are multifaceted. Nothing is as simple as it may initially appear and my placement experience reinforced this takeaway. It is our collective responsibility to dig deeper to see how problems like racial profiling, complex systems and a lack of resources and support for community organizations intersect so we can create effective solutions for youth. My CSL placement proves the need for racially-informed policies, initiatives and resources to protect BIPOC youth and prevent them from becoming young offenders.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? 

Going forward, I will be using a critical lens to all resources and policies I find by first analyzing them from the perspective of the population they seek to serve. My CSL placement also gave me a wealth of transferable skills like research, resource-gathering and teamwork that will benefit my future coursework, volunteer activities and employment ventures. I'm interested in the Criminal Justice System in Canada, so this placement was an excellent opportunity to further my learning from the course and deeply understand the implications of different laws, policies and practices in the community.

What are some ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

My placement was entirely remote due to the pandemic and the virtual nature of the project. Though we didn't meet in person, we were able to collaborate online and work on the project from the comfort of our homes. Since curating the playbook was a group effort, we utilized and strengthened our communication skills and usage of digital tools like Canva, Discord and Google Suite. This enabled us to be on the same page and create a playbook that youth can access through digital and physical copies.

Additionally, in my research for the playbook, I learned how COVID-19 initially negatively affected my community partner, YESS, and other similar organizations. Most were underfunded with extraneous labour and limited resources for their community members. However, thanks to grants and investments in this sector, there seems to be some recovery, and I hope things move in this positive trend so YESS can fund more projects like this that support and empower youth.