The Art of Hosting

In collaboration with colleagues of mine, Nancy Pereira and Erin Smith as well as a whole Steering Committee of professionals and youth, I created the Art of Youth Engagement Course for Mental Health Professionals. This course involves two workshops, each based on the Art of Hosting methodologies and world views.


Youth Engagement has a rich history of research and articulation. It aims to radically shift youth work toward being collaborative so that services work WITH young people not FOR young people.


Youth Engagement is Participatory Leadership. And when I realised this, I took all that I had learned in both fields and melded them. There is now a mandate from an Ontario governmet agency to deliver this teaching for free to any mental health agency in the province who requests it.  There is a community of practice of mental health professionals and youth who receive or once received mental health services who are committed to support each other and others to deepen our Youth Engagement practice in order to strengthen our ability to respond to the mental health needs of young people.


The three journals below were developed for mental health professionals during courses that took place in January and March 2011. This work is evolving and certain to bring further and further evolutions of materials and journals as more and more courses are delivered.

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Thanks for sharing these resources Catherine! I haven't read them, but it is fabulous that you share them all here freely. That's the good work of contribution to the whole community.

(In order for people to find your contribution more easily, I have put this conversation thread under Exiting New Developments; I think that is where it belongs!)

Some information that belongs here, from the emaillist:

I work with the Peaceful World Foundation at the Red Vic B & B Peace Center ( in San Francisco where we hold weekly Peaceful World Conversations.  They focus on how each of us can give our gifts to make a better world.  Since we're a bed and breakfast, our guests are from all over the world and our conversations help us learn about other countries. 

I'm also an artist and educator with over 30 years experience in project-based learning.  I love the idea of "Youth Work That Works".  Thank you for this good work. I believe that young people have a vital role to play in bringing fresh hope and vision to cynical, battle weary adults.  I've developed a collaborative mural process called "The Singing Tree Project" inspired when an 8 year-old girl asked "What if the whole world made a painting together?"  It deeply engages young people and is free for the whole world to make its own. My non-profit, Unity Through Creativity, has been using each mural to discuss an issue of importance to the community by inviting everyone to envision solutions to challenges.  New ideas emerge from using the 60,000 year old process of drawing.  
You can see most of the 21 murals made by 11,000 people from 44 countries; and a film I made with students on the most recent mural.
There are free instructions on-line to grow a Singing Tree with your indigenous tree serving your challenges.
Thank you to each of you for positive work in chaordic times,
Laurie Marshall
Hi friends,
Chris and I just came out of hosting today at the Insights and Innovations Conference in BC, and quite a number of youth work folks in our group.
Some amazing sounding Parent Cafes - where the youth trade parents for conversations on topics that have generated a lot of conflict in the past.  The kids from one school are in the cafe's with the parents from a different school - and vice versa - and some great conversations happen across the generations with one degree of separation.  Pretty cool.
We gave them all the info about your AoH and hope some will find there way to you.  Inspiring bunch.
On with the good work!

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