About StreetSmart

StreetSmart teaches street-involved and marginalized youth, between the ages of 12 and 29, their legal rights through accessible, creative workshops.

At StreetSmart, we believe in the power of creativity to transform our communities. By engaging youth in this way, we cultivate safe spaces for self-expression, rich spaces for (un)learning, and creative spaces that challenge youth to re-imagine their relationship with the law. We believe that our uniquely creative process allows us to imagine stronger communities, while simultaneously working to make them a reality.  

What We Do

At the core of what we do is delivering creative, know your rights workshops to street-involved and marginalized youth. We do this by training passionate law students to facilitate StreetSmart workshops with not for profits, community centres, schools, shelters, and any other spaces where youth gather in their communities.

At StreetSmart, we don’t just train law students to deliver a script. Instead, we teach them an effective, creative educational strategy that they can adapt to best meet their communities’ needs. This allows us to ensure that our programming is tailored to each community, while also ensuring that across the board, youth are learning their relevant legal rights, self-advocacy skills, and where to get help locally.
 

Note: StreetSmart cannot offer direct legal advice, or provide legal representation.
How We Do It
StreetSmart workshops are entirely activity and discussion-based. By taking an interactive approach, we avoid the typical lecture format that isn't always the most engaging way to learn.

Our workshops are structured around a six-box, interactive worksheet. Each box corresponds to a creative activity, and is a blank space for youth to reflect and express themselves through visual art or writing. The art that youth create is then a useful conversation starter for participating in group discussions.

We support 
Youth Agency.
Workshop participants are in control of how they identify in a judgment-free, safe-space. Youth control their own narrative, free from sterotypes and bias.
We encourage authentic 
Youth Expression.
Workshop participants are given space to provide genuine responses to common, non-triggering scenarios where rights violations routinely occur. In doing so, youth are challenged to reflect on their underlying goals when advocating for their legal rights in the future.
We create space for youth to honestly express their 
Feelings Towards the Law.
We acknowledge that youth have varied eperiences with, and feelings towards the legal system. Workshop participants will unpack their relationship with the law, and begin to break down any barriers that prevent them from accessing justice. 
We teach youth  
Legal Capability.
Workshop participants will learn their relevant legal rights in simple, plain language. Our goal is to ensure that youth have enough knowledge of the law to recognize when something is wrong, and to know when to reach out for support.
We encourage learning through
Creative Reflection and Expression.
StreetSmart takes an arts-based approach to legal education. From beginning to end, workshop participants are regularly challenged to reflect on various topics through creative activities, and given opportunities to share what they've created.
We facilitate
Group Learning.
StreetSmart does not ascribe to the traditional hierarchy between the teacher and students. Instead, we see facilitators and workshop participants as co-collaborators, where everyone is simultaneuously teaching and learning from one another. Workshop participants regularly discuss, share, and debrief activities to cultivate this rich environment for collective learning.
We create space for youth to practice
Self-Advocacy.
Knowing how and when to respond to rights violations is important. On top of making sure workshop participants know what their rights are, we also want young people to confidently know how to address their legal challenges, as well as the most appropriate time to do so.
We challnge youth to 
Re-imagine their Relationship With the Law.
Workshop participants are challenged to re-imagine what they want their relationship with the law to look like moving forward. In doing so, we are collectively creating a blueprint for the social change we wish to see, and drawing upon what we've learned throughout the workshop to find ways to create this reality.
We ensure youth know
Where to Get Help.
Workshop participants learn where in their community they can go for support when navigating their legal challenges.
Youth Workshops
If you work with young people living on the margins, we would love to connect with you to bring our creative workshops to your youth.

StreetSmart offers a variety of two-hour workshops that each covers a different area of the law. While the topic of each workshop varies, they all follow our unique approach described above.

  • Housing
  • Drug Use & possession
  • Police Encounters & Surveillance
This workshop covers the basics of housing law, outlining both the tenant and the landlord's legal obligations. Specifically, this workshop focuses on the laws related to landord discrimination, leases, rent deposits, rent increases, pets, landlord obligations related to repairs, evictions, as well as the laws surrounding squatting and sleeping in public spaces.
This workshop covers the current laws regarding drug use and drug possession. Specifically, this workshop focuses on what constitutes the offences of drug possession and drug trafficking, what kind of legal protection is available when getting help for someone who is experiencing an overdose, and the current legal framework for cannabis in Canada.
This workshop focuses on the laws that are important while interacting with the police. Specifically, this workshop covers the topics of police stops, questioning, detention, searches, arrests, the confiscation of property, the laws surrounding private security guards, and the most appropriate time to make a complaint about an abuse of police power.
Student Chapters
StreetSmart is getting started at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law in the Fall of 2018. We are excited to expand to other Canadian universities for the Fall of 2019, but we need a little time to prepare first.

If you’re a law student who is community-driven, passionate about youth justice, and would like to stay updated about bringing a StreetSmart Chapter to your school, reach out to us below. You don’t have to be an artist to join the team—you just have to have a passion for creativity and leading social change in your community.  

UOttawa
Our Vision
StreetSmart envisions a Canada where street-involved and marginalized youth have greater access to the law to solve their legal problems. We see a future where vulnerable youth regularly exercise their legal rights to break the cycles of exploitation and oppression that adversely impacts them, thereby improving their overall quality of life.

We strive to place law students, the future of the legal profession, into the community at the beginning of their legal careers as advocates for youth justice. In doing so, we hope to build the foundations for a national network of life-long, social justice-driven lawyers that work in collaboration with their vibrant communities. By bringing legal professionals and the community closer together, we see a future where the law evolves to better reflect the rich diversity of our country.

Our Mission
StreetSmart’s mission is to use the transformative power of creativity to make the law more accessible for street-involved and marginalized youth. We take a unique and accessible approach to teach young people to recognize their legal rights, confidently advocate for themselves, and know where to go for community support when navigating their legal challenges. 

StreetSmart’s mission is also to build and support a national network of law students to do legal education work with youth living on the margins in their community. In doing so, we have the pleasure of training and supporting creative educators, humble learners, and fierce advocates for access to justice and community development.
Our Goals
At StreetSmart, we have 5 goals that guide our work.
Address street-involved and marginalized youths’ feelings of disenfranchisement from the law
Provide street-involved and marginalized youth with competent legal knowledge
Teach street-involved and marginalized youth self-advocacy skills
Connect street-involved and marginalized youth with community resources
Build and support a national network of community-driven law students
Our Values

Youth

We value and respect the agency, power, brilliance, and change-making capacity of youth. 

Anti-Oppression

We are committeed to challenging racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, classism, islamophobia, homo/bi/transphobia, and oppression in all of its forms.

Anti-Colonialism

We acknowledge our presence on Turtle Island, unceded Indigenous Nations. We commit to recognizing the past and current violent impacts of colonization on Indigenous Peoples, Culture, and Land.

Community

We value the importance of connecting youth with support services within their community, and taking a comunity-centered, collaborative approach in all that we do.

Perserverance

We have a big vision where youth living at the margins have greater access to justice. We vigorously pursue this vision in the face of obstacles.

Diversity

We draw strength and delight from our diverse community. 

Humility

We are both humble educators, and dedicated learners within our diverse communities. We are leaders who prioritize listening, and we always strive to improve our work.

Creativity

We believe in the power of creativity to imagine, work towards, and acheive our goals.

Joy

We make space for joy, laughter, and celebration in our pursuit for social change.
Team
Ocean Avriel

Founder
 
Rebecca Ward

Community Outreach & Collaboration Lead

Sharon Wiltshire

Evaluation Lead

Michelle Choe

Program Design Co-Lead
Pascale Robillard

Program Design Co-Lead
Sukey Omran

Facilitator
Contact Us




© StreetSmart 2018