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About WS YOU 177
Legacy Project

WS YOU 177
Susan V. Bosak TEDx Talk – Building a 7-Generation World
Ontario Trillium Foundation
United Way Toronto York Region
What People Are Saying

"WS YOU 177 is an important initiative, bringing diverse groups together to build more social infrastructure in WS."
Jim Mason, Editor,
Stouffville Sun-Tribune

"Our school is looking forward to participating in 1 Town, 1 Book and helping to build a stronger community. It’s important for our students to feel they can make a difference in their community."
Diane Sharp, Principal,
St. Brendan School

"The 55 Plus Club enthusiastically supports WS YOU 177 in creating new community ideas and strategies."
Wilf Morley, Past President,
Stouffville 55 Plus Club

"We are very supportive of the collaborative efforts of WS YOU 177 in bringing together generations and local organizations for a stronger community."
Ivan Harris, Director,
WhiStle Radio

"We fully support WS YOU 177 in implementing local innovations of a sustainable nature and building social infrastructure… creating a new way to bring the whole community together."
Paul Crowe, Past President,
Lions Club of Stouffville

Find out more about who's helping ignite WS YOU 177


YOU 177 is a big-picture, social innovation initiative. Whitchurch-Stouffville is the Lead Innovator Community, the world's first 7-Generation Community.

Rising to the Challenge

Whitchurch-Stouffville (WS) has been one of the fastest growing communities in the country. United Way Toronto & York Region identified WS as a priority community in York Region in need of social infrastructure – the powerful yet often invisible dynamics that make lives truly meaningful and ensure communities thrive to the benefit of all now and into the future. You can help grow the heart of your community.

WS YOU 177 is about your life in your community – a 7-Generation Community that supports, connects, and values all generations now and into the future. Check out Susan V. Bosak's TEDxStouffville Talk on Building a 7-Generation World.

By the community, for the community

Susan Bosak is the lead social researcher with the Legacy Project, a research and education group based in WS. The WS YOU 177 Community Collaborative includes the Legacy Project, WS Public Library, schools, seniors groups, businesses, faith-based groups, and other community organizations. Find out more about who's helping ignite WS YOU 177. It's by the community, for the community.

WS YOU 177 receives funding from grants from United Way Toronto & York Region and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

As a multi-year initiative, WS YOU 177 is moving through a community-wide process of engagement to exploration of local issues and assets to legacy project action.

What's your dream?

We've started by asking all citizens in WS – from children to adults to elders – to share your dreams. What do you want your life in our community to be like? The WS Public Library has been leading a One Town, One Book intergenerational community engagement program featuring the award-winning book Dream. It uses the power of story to draw out the dreams and aspirations of all ages. One Book programs bring an entire community together by encouraging everyone to read the same book. You can then create your Dream Star. You can also sign the Generations Pledge at the WS Public Library.

Listen to a Life Story Contest

There are several ways you can start to get involved in WS YOU 177. We have the Loops intergenerational knitting/crochet group that meets weekly. Would you like to nominate someone to receive an Orange Scarf of Caring? The Listen to a Life Story Contest gives young and old an opportunity to talk and learn from each other. The Generations Growing community garden not only teaches gardening and cooking skills, but you also grow fresh vegetables and meet neighbours of all ages. Generations Making Music brings young and old together to enjoy musical experiences and activities. You can be a part of Community Connect meetups where young and old learn from and with each other. And we're visiting local schools doing inspiring Dream Bigger student presentations while developing 7-Gen Learning opportunities in local schools.

WS YOU 177 Community Caring Celebration

Did you hear about the Community Caring Celebration at the Stouffville Legion? Jim Mason from the Stouffville Sun-Tribune captured the spirit in the room that day by saying, "Community is a powerful thing. You can't buy it. You certainly can't fake it. But you can experience it."

WS YOU 177 Community Conversations

As we move into issue exploration, we're holding community events, activities, convenings and workshops to spark community dialogue and share 7-Generation ideas and resources. Get to know your neighbours, identify what matters, and help create a vision for a stronger, more vibrant community. For example, we're doing a series of Community Conversations. Speakers have included Dr. Peter Whitehouse and Gord Hume.

We held an Economic Innovation Forum at York University in collaboration with the WS Public Library, the Stouffville Chamber of Commerce, YMCA of Greater Toronto, ventureLAB, United Way Toronto & York Region, and York Region. 80 participants in the forum included all ages, community and business leaders, York University researchers, and staff from the Town of WS and York Region. The question of the day: How can we create a 7-Generation Community that enhances economic, ecological, physical and social health for all?

The forum was opened by The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell. She began her remarks by saying, "I congratulate Whitchurch-Stouffville. You are discussing big issues that need to be discussed…" The morning of the forum featured four high-profile speakers. In the afternoon, participants broke into working groups around five themes: Entrepreneurs/Business; Green(belt) and Sustainability; Food and Agriculture; Places and Spaces; and Wellbeing, Creative and Learning. These working groups will formulate action steps emerging from the visioning done at the forum.

Age-Friendly Analysis

WS YOU 177 is also completing an Age-Friendly Community Planning Analysis. The Age-Friendly guidelines were developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) across eight broad areas: public buildings and outdoor spaces; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; community support and health services. The analysis is also taking into consideration UNICEF's Child-Friendly community guidelines. In June, 2016, we'll release a report with findings and action recommendations that we'll share with the community, WS Town Council, York Region, and the Province of Ontario.

A Community-Wide Journey from Dreams to Legacy

Ultimately, we'll help reframe and expand what matters to you and mobilize local assets. WS can become a social innovation hub. Flowing from the Age-Friendly Community Planning Analysis, the work from the Economic Innovation Forum, and all the ideas captured in the Dream Stars, we'll continue to help grow local collaborative-action legacy projects around needs and opportunities for children, youth, adults, and elders. Impact areas range from health, education, and social supports to housing, civic engagement, and local food to business, technology, and sustainability. There's an untapped power in legacy we can all use to multiply impact. Legacy projects are strategic, big-picture actions. They are the building blocks of 7-Generation Community.

Check out all the WS YOU 177 News & Events. Follow us on Twitter. For regular updates, sign up for the Legacy Project e-newsletter. If you have questions, call the Legacy Project at (905) 852-3777 or e-mail us.

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