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Social and Emotional Learning Impact Initiative 

Our priority has always been to help our Members share a common ​understanding around what a thriving community for youth looks like in Winnipeg. Our network prides itself in cultivating many unique visions for our city's youth and supporting a wide range of needs. As a collective that also envisions scaleable impacts, it is equally important for us to align along some positive youth development goals.
Coming together and recognizing that social and emotional learning (SEL) and holistic youth development has become an increasing priority across the populations we work with was our first step. The next step has been making a measurable impact within youth-serving programs and on their participants by identifying the current developmental barriers and leveraging the right resources. 

Why SEL outside of school?

The types of out-of-school time spaces and programming delivered by our Members are increasingly understood as ideal opportunities for youth SEL development (see here). 

They are places where participants feel comfortable with positive role-models, are able to try new things and master skills, and have the freedom to express themselves alongside both link-minded and different peer groups.


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As they grow, youth with strong SEL skills are more university/college and career-ready, experience better mental health and social functioning, and report a greater sense of overall well-being (from hello insight). 

A recent meta-analysis by CASEL indicates that SEL programming can have a positive impact up to 18 years later on academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use (see here).


5 Core SEL Capacites

YAA recognizes the following core SEL capacities in our Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework.
All youth can grow in each of these!

Social Skills

The work our network focuses on is relational first and foremost. These safe and supportive spaces, where youth can develop positive bonds with other peers and adults, are the foundation for protective factors that can last a lifetime. 

Academic Self-Efficacy

Out-of-school time programs are accustomed to sparking interests in unique skills. Whether it be film-making, dancing, or soccer, the same scaffolded learning and initiative being cultivated by youth there is highly adaptable to school settings.


Self-reflection and clarity are all the more difficult to come by in an information-rich and attention grabbing world. It is becoming more important for youth to develop positive coping behaviours and strategies when feeling overwhelmed.

Positive Identity

Positive identity formation is essential for helping youth act on the opportunities available to them. The growth of self-worth and curiosity within peer and adult support systems can do wonders for developing a positive sense of self. 


Feelings of isolation and neglect are less apparent when youth can identify relations between their peers, family, school, and community. To be able to locate oneself in different roles that engage with and support different groups of people is key to building belongingness. 
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