YOUth Taking Action

Contributed by Jenalynne Celestino and Hodan Omar (Teacher Candidates)

This week’s lunch and learn guest speaker comes in the form of Ian Bingeman, DILA Youth Program Coordinator. During the lunch and learn workshop, the Comprehensive School Health cohort had the pleasure of learning more about encouraging students to achieve social change in and around their local communities.


The DILA (A Day of Information for a Lifetime of Action) Youth Conference was conceived in 2006 in an effort to inform students of issues, such as environmental and social, and encourage them to initiate positive change. Since then, DILA has grown into an annual conference where more than 500 students from around the Ottawa region gather at the University of Ottawa to discuss and participate in a wide range of thought provoking activities. In addition, the DILA School Program was introduced in 2012, where students across the Ottawa school boards get together to share their ideas on community issues, solutions, and action plans for a better tomorrow. As a result, these initiatives were able to help raise thousands of dollars for local and international charities.

During his workshop, Ian Bingeman compared the human body to the school community. In order to create muscle, endurance, strength, and power, one must stress the connective tissues between the individual fibers. The same can be applied to building a better “body politic” in schools, where individuals in a school, community, and or nation work together towards a lasting social change. As an example, he directed us to DILA’s Youth Action Showcase, an opportunity where youth come together and present their community projects to community leaders. As the short video played, it made a lasting impression to each of us students:

Throughout the short video, each student led initiative touched upon an issue that each of us could relate to. From gaining more than 38,000 signatures to ban animal testing in Canada to donating used hand tools to underprivileged villages in Mozambique, the students featured in the showcase took their passions for social change and developed them into campaigns that made an impact. Inspired, Ian challenged the Comprehensive School cohort to think about a health lesson and activity that can be brought into schools. In just five minutes, ideas for social change were flowing throughout the classroom.

The recognized framework of Comprehensive School Health is important when it comes to overall school health. This particular workshop fits well with the Partnerships & Service pillar as it connects students from different schools to community organizations. This particular workshop can easily be added to a Social Science curriculum, challenging students to critically think about social issues that matter to them and present a solution.


The Comprehensive School Health cohort recognizes that schools help influence a student’s health and behaviours and requires the shared commitment and active participation of schools, families, and community members. Through DILA and similar initiatives, youth are given an opportunity to think outside the classroom walls and create a better local or international community for all.

For more information on DILA, please visit the link below: