Hello to all volunteers, families, friends, and community members!

I am Alex the project supervisor for this exchange and I am excited to be working with you in some way or another in the coming months! The youth volunteers will be in Kingston from October 20 - December 21, 2014

We have a few events coming up in the community!
Nov 22 - Find us at various grocery stores in Kingston to donate to HIV/AIDS Regional Services
Nov 28 - Gender Safety Audit - Join us to survey a couple areas of Kingston and make recommendations on how we can better prevent gender based violence through environmental improvements

Dec 7 - Vietnam Day - Join us to celebrate our exchange, hear stories about what we have been up to, taste some Vietnamese cuisine and enjoy performances by the group members


Please contact me at aoneill@cwy-jcm.org
Info about Canada World Youth can be found at http://canadaworldyouth.org/

Sunday 7 December 2014



Come join us for some great performances and cuisine!


4-6pm at KCHC North Kingston.

Friday 21 November 2014

1 month left and a lot happening!

Well here we are with one month to go and many things to get done!!

Canada World Youth Keeps Busy in Kingston!

Check out our new Facebook page HERE

With the temperature dropping, Canada World Youth (CWY) exchange participants keep warm by keeping busy. The group of 18 volunteers (9 Canadian and 9 Vietnamese) arrived in Kingston October 20 and spend most of their days volunteering with community organizations and organizing educational and community outreach activities. The group is in Kingston until December 21.
Notable upcoming activities the team is organizing are a Gender Safety Audit on November 28 at 8pm, and Vietnam Day on December 7 at 4pm. We will also be collecting donations as part of the Red Ribbon Army campaign fundraising for HIV/AIDS Regional Services (HARS) in Kingston on Saturday November 22 from 10-4 at various grocery stores (No Frills on Division, Loblaws at Kingston Centre, John's Deli, Metro downtown and Fodo Basics on Barrack)

The Gender Safety Audit is based on a model developed by Canadian organization, METRAC, which involves walking through pre-identified areas in small groups to note particular features that contribute to lack of safety or security, particularly in relation to gender based violence. By looking at features such as lighting, signage, sight lines, maintenance, access to communication and transit, nearby houses and businesses, and circulation of people, to name a few, environmental factors affecting security will be assessed. From this, in collaboration with local stakeholders, recommendations will be produced on how to make our community, and these specific areas, safer. The group would like to invite any community members to participate. Check us out on Facebook to connect and for the locations!

Vietnam Day is an exposition of Vietnamese and Canadian culture and the group’s talents and experiences. The team will put on a variety of performances, talk about their experiences, and also present their recommendations from the gender safety audit. Following two months in Hoa Binh province, Vietnam from August to October the group has many stories to share! This event will take place December 7 at Kingston Community Health Center at 4pm.

With a program focus on gender equality and health the group brings to Kingston their experience of two months of community volunteer work, including planning and facilitating youth education campaigns on gender equality and reproductive health in Vietnam. In Kingston, the group has demonstrated their enthusiasm and interest in volunteer service by working on a weekly basis at Martha’s Table, Frontenac Public School, St Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army, Providence Manor, Ontario Public Interest Research Group, Ban Righ Centre, Levana Gender Advocacy Centre and Caring Campus, a project on mental health and substance use at Queen’s. Group members are also volunteering with the Lung Association for the Tree Festival, Memorial Centre Farmer’s Market to prepare for the season, HIV/AIDS Regional Services on their Red Ribbon Campaign, and the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Canada World Youth is an exchange program with a focus on cross cultural exchange and experiential education. By running programs since 1972 in 69 countries, over 37,000 youth have lived the CWY experience. Following five years of exchanges with Bolivia in Kingston, this is the first year the organization has brought Vietnamese youth to town. The exchange is made possible with financial support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and is made a reality by the amazing host families across Kingston who have opened their doors to share their lives with youth volunteers, and the community organizations that help the youth to develop new skills and engage in the Kingston community.

Friday 3 October 2014

Time flies!

Oh my! I haven't written in over a month!! Collectively we must have had thousands of mosquito bites in this time!

But in all seriousness, we have been super busy!!

Some of our teams projects/accomplishments include: helping to build a toilet at a local community center; teaching English to grades 5-9; planning and delivering workshops on gender equality and reproductive health for grade 8+9 and college students; performing interactive dramas on reproductive health (including a fantastic condom on cucumber demonstration), school violence and the environment; performing songs and dances at various cultural festivals; and running educational sessions within the group. This weekend we will be working to assist two local kindergartens, one with expanding their playground and freshening the look, and the second by adding a mural.

The village we live in is incredibly kind and welcoming, and absolutely gorgeous! There are hills all around, lots of greenery and fresh air, produce grown by our host families and local farmers, and an eagerness for the group to get to know the community and get involved.

In the picture below the buffalo graze in the recently harvested rice patches. The building on the right hand edge is our usual meeting space!

We will be arriving in Kingston in just about two weeks where a group of fantastic hosts await the arrival of their new and temporary adult-children :-)

In Kingston I am still searching for a *free* space we can meet for a full day once a week, as well as looking for donations of winter clothing, and a bed/mattress or two! Any help woul dbe greatly appreciated. You can get in touch at aoneill@cwy-jcm.org

Saturday 30 August 2014

Settling into village life

Hiya Folks,

Just a brief update from Yen Mong (our host community). We have been here for about a week now and things are going well for the group. We are surrounded by luscious hills, a river, buffalo and animals, and amazing people. The community (which has hosted CWY before) is happy to have us here and has many activities to keep us busy - though we are still working to finding a steady routine. We have been practising some drama performances and sensitization dances to perform at some upcoming community events (Independence Day and mid-Autumn Festival) which are both happening in the next week. We have also been making some star lanterns for the mid-Autumn festival and were invited to attend a wedding this past weekend for the daughter in one of the host families.
In the coming weeks we will be helping to extend a playground space at a nursery school, helping to build toilets for a local culture house (community center) and working with kids at a nearby school. We are also starting up educational activity days and looking to plan our sector project workshops.
The group members are all amazing and motivated youth with strong English skills and high motivation :-)

Sunday 17 August 2014

We have arrived!

Xin chao!

Our group has arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam! Everyone is safe and sound, in good spirits and making new friends!

After a long journey of 22 hours flying and a 7 hour layover in between we arrived yesterday (Sunday the 17th). While everyone was tired and in desperate need of a shower we quickly recovered, enjoyed a delicious feast of spring rolls, salad, chicken, beef, fish, rice, soup and watermelon!

Now after a much needed rest we are off to see a bit of Hanoi today and meet with the Canadian embassy. This afternoon we will move on to Hoa Binh city where we will do training for 3 days before heading to our villages :-)

Monday 11 August 2014

Hitting the road... err... tracks and air?

Hey folks!

That time has finally arrived! I have just departed Kingston (on the train) for Montreal, where tomorrow our Kingston-Vietnam team will become one!! We will do some pre-departure training for 3 days before embarking on an epic (and long) journey to Hanoi, Vietnam! We will spend a week in Hoa Binh for orientation training before heading to our host community in Hoa Binh province.

In my absence, my colleague Kelsey will be finalizing host families (yes still looking for a few and some back-ups), volunteer placements and our community orientation in Kingston.

Kelsey can be reached at the same number as previously posted or at quelsay [@] gmail.com or alternatively I will forward any communications regarding these things on to her!

Follow our adventures on here, or if there is another link I will also share it!

Chat soon!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

T Minus 7!

The countdown is officially on!

I will be heading out next Monday to Montreal to prepare for the (Canadian) group arrival! From the 12th-15th we will do a pre-departure training, and then be taking off after sunset on Friday!

Lots to do this week! I am still looking for host families and work placements, doing my educational and risk management planning amongst other things! Not to mention the bag sitting in my room saying "pack me, pack me!"

So get in touch if you are interested in being involved! Now is the time! There will also be a contact person in Kingston while our group is working through the Vietnam phase!

Sunday 27 July 2014

technology cannot be trusted

It seems I am not receiving any emails.

If you are interested in hosting or getting in touch please call me at 613-328-6856.

If email is the only possible method of communication please send to aoneill88 [ @ ] gmail.com

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Find me in Kingston!

I will have a booth at the Memorial Centre Farmers Market tomorrow, Sunday July 27 from 9am - 2pm

I will also have a booth at the Princess St Promenade on August 2nd from 10am to 4pm.

Feel free to come by and chat, learn about the program, and win some cool CWY swag!

Monday 21 July 2014

Hiring for a resource person

I am looking for someone to help me with outreach in the Kingston community.

Main tasks would be finding and screening host families and setting up work placements.

I need someone from now until August 11 (my departure from Kingston), and also from then until I return in mid October to finalize any families, work placements, and community orientation (primarily). Ideally this would be the same person. This is not a full time position, remuneration to be discussed depending on the assigned tasks.

Characteristics this person should have: strong knowledge of the community, strong networking skills, self-directed, independent, professional, clear communication skills, organized, resourceful.

If you are interested and think you would be a good fit please get in touch asap. My number is 613-328-6856. Email is not working reliably.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Mental Health First Aid

Heya folks

Just wanted to post a quick update to let you know what I am up to today and tomorrow!
So I am currently getting trained in mental health first aid for adults who interact with youth (in Cornwall) with my colleague David (cwycornwallvietnam.blogspot.ca) to be better prepared for all aspects of supporting youth through this incredible experience.

We are covering: mental health and illness, substance abuse, self harm, mood disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, and psychosis among other things for safe and supportive responses.

While of course I hope I do not have to use this training I am thankful for the knowledge and training opportunity and would be happy to share resources with community members in Kingston and exchange best practices.

Culture shock, cultural change, environmental change, new peer groups, different expectations and responsibilities (amongst so many things) all influence our mental state. Normalizing mental health problems and being equipped to address them (of all levels of severity) is so important in ensuring healthy and active citizens. Adolescence and youth is an especially a trying time and we need to address these issues head on before they have the chance to become bigger issues. I am by no means a professional, and the key response is ensuring safety and connecting people with the appropriate professional support services, but I am happy to be more aware of signs, symptoms, immediate responses and how to create action plans.


Tuesday 15 July 2014

Yes I am still looking for host families!


Just a little update to let you know I am still looking for host families!

Quick recap:

Canada World Youth is seeking host families!
Make a difference in the lives of two young people!
Explore new perspectives and cultures. Develop lasting relationships.

·         Each host will welcome two youth – one Vietnamese and one Canadian - from October 20 to December 21 2014
·         Youth volunteers should be included as family members
·         One spare room is all that is required
·         Hosts receive a weekly allowance of $180 to help with costs (room, board, occasional transport)
·         Two project supervisors will be supporting the program locally

We invite people of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, genders, sexual orientations, family types, sizes, and more to express their interest.  Since 1971, more than 37,000 youth from Canada and around the world have participated in Canada World Youth projects.

In other news, this time next month our wonderful group of Canadians will be heading to Vietnam to meet the other half of our group and begin 2 months of volunteer service in Hoa Binh province!

Thursday 3 July 2014

Behind the Scenes - An update from the PS

Hi folks!

Thanks for checking out the site and your interest in CWY and this project! I hope you have been finding some useful information!

Feel free to post questions or comments at any time!

I have been busy in the past month with extensive trainings with both the regional and national staff team, painting the town with posters, doing blasts of outreach for host families and work placements, as well as lots of admin work and research!

Moving back to Kingston has been so incredibly great and I am amazed everyday by the kindness and support from new and old friends and connections!

The biggest challenge is finding host families, but also work placements that fit with our thematic focus on sexual health and gender equity. These themes come largely from our project in Vietnam where the youth volunteers of this group will be training 150 local Vietnamese youth in related issues and developing resources.

I am also actively looking for a space where our group can meet once a week that is of no or a very low cost.

Furthermore I will be hiring someone on a p/t contract to hold everything together and finish up any remaining tasks (such as confirming host families) while I am in Vietnam with the group from August 12 - October 20. Ideally this would be a youth/young adult as well, alumni of CWY are especially encouraged. If you or someone you know would be effective in this role please get in touch!

Monday 23 June 2014

Work Placements

While CWY is an educational and cultural exchange program, we also fall into the category of a development organization with our support from DFATD. With this, we have specific objectives to developing skills, awareness, and contributing towards projects related to gender equity and sexual health.

In this light, our volunteers are to be working 35/hours a week towards our themes, which is a bit of a change from past CWY programs. I will be looking for relevant work placements for 3-4 days a week, and the remainder of the hours will come from group educational activities and skills development as well as community outreach. Youth are to be place in pairs (one Vietnamese and one Canadian). In work placements youth can contribute to ongoing projects, work on new or independent projects, or assist with any sort of ongoing operational duties. Additionally, a large expectation is that youth gain a greater understanding of these issues in the Kingston community, as well as the resources and support systems available, and gain relevant skills to delivery of services, advocacy, training, etc. We are very open to your suggestions! The youth are required to submit a criminal record check to CWY. We can work with specific needs you may have or skills you are looking for if possible.

The volunteers from Vietnam and Canada has a diverse set of skills, knowledge, and experience but will all have a background in gender equity, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health and gender based violence. This exchange starts in Vietnam (from Aug 16 - Oct 16) and our project overseas involves using theatre, facilitating a series of workshops for youth, and creating a facilitation guide on these topics. 

The project supervisors will work with partner organizations to establish appropriate work plans for the youth before the exchange begins, and we will work with partners throughout the two months to ensure youth are meeting the expectations of the program and their placements. 

As part of our project we will also be participating in a Women's Safety Audit, based on METRAC's model. For this we hope to work with a diversity of interested community members and relevant organizations (that are ideally some of our work placements too) to both orient our youth the Kingston and look at different barriers and opportunities to safety. Please get in touch if you area interested in being involved!

Canada World Youth Seeks Host Families for October | Life | UR | The Kingston Whig-Standard

Canada World Youth Seeks Host Families for October | Life | UR | The Kingston Whig-Standard

A self-published article on the Whig Standard website! Love this feature!

Sunday 22 June 2014

Community Involvement

So you want to be involved in ways other than hosting?

Yes please! There are many ways for community members and organizations to be involved with the program beyond work placements and host families.
Some examples are:

  • As a resource for the group - Do you have a skills or knowledge relevant to our focus on health, sexual health, gender or gender based violence? Or about personal/skill development, leadership, theatre, or innovation? Or related to the diversity of Canada, different cultures, lifestyles, Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples? Or related to international development, community development, civil society and governance, sustainability?
    • We have weekly Educational Activity Days which are run by the youth volunteers for the group to engage in local issues that we are looking for local expertise to work with and learn from. While I will do outreach during this time of project development I may not find you, so please reach out!
  • Know of some relevant community events we could get involved in? Need a helping hand?
  • Got an extra coat, bed, bicycle, educational or language resources hanging around? Love offering rides? Love cooking? 
  • Got connections to meeting spaces we could access at no or a very low cost once a week?
  • Got connections to a camp or retreat centre we could use for our mid-project camp (2-3 days spent on reflection, group dynamics, skill development, planning)
  • Want to take us on a tour? Help us figure out the bus system? Tell us about cool spots, different services?

Saturday 14 June 2014

Host Families

So you are interested in hosting?

Host families are an integral part of the experience for our youth volunteers, allowing them the opportunity to see and experience the community from diverse perspectives, in a safe and comfortable environment.

We invite people of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, genders, sexual orientations, family types, and more to express their interest.  Since 1971, more than 36,000 youth from Canada and around the world have participated in Canada World Youth projects.

The program dates in Kingston are October 20 - December 21, 2014

What it entails

  • Hosting 2 youth volunteers (1 Canadian and 1 Vietnamese - "counterparts", both will be the same gender, between ages 17 and 24) 
  • 1 room is all that is needed (2 is ok too!), ideally participants have their own bed (I can help you arrange for this!)
  • You will include the volunteers as family members and provide 3 meals a day
  • You may also contribute to small amounts of transportation if possible, but the youth will have bus passes

Expectations for the youth
  • Just as we expect host families to welcome youth into their family, youth are expected to contribute to family life, chores, etc.
  • The youth are engaged in volunteer work placements and group activities Monday to Friday
  • Canada World Youth has established norms, rules and responsibilities for the youth, and there is a formal disciplinary process should this be necessary - I will share these with you!

What is in it for you?
  • A great way to bring the world to your home!
  • Learn more about Canada and Vietnam through cultural exchange
  • Gain new perspective, spice things up

What support do we offer?
  • As CWY has been doing this since 1971 there are numerous support systems in place
  • There will be 2 full time project supervisors living in Kingston for the entire program (a Canadian and a Vietnamese) available 24/7
  • We will have a intro meeting, as well as a mid-exchange check-in for the host families so you can get to know each other, answer questions, talk about scenarios, preparation, provide some resources on how to prepare, to set expectations, integrate the youth, feeding them, etc
  • We will generally manage any medical or behavioural issues
  • Host families are given a stipend of $180/week to cover the majority of the extra expenses you will incur
  • We will arrange for visits in the home weekly/bi-weekly to check-in with everyone

What is the process?

  • Call me, email me, tweet me, comment here! Get in contact! Contacting me does not mean a commitment, but the beginning of a discussion, and potentially a great experience!
  • I can respond to any questions, provide more info, discuss the program in person, on the phone, or by email, etc
  • When you want to take the next step we will go through an interview process at your home, this is so we can get to know each other, clarify expectations from all sides, discuss logistics, etc. I will also ask for a tour of your entire house.
  • Once we confirm your participation as a host family we will request criminal record checks (through an online platform - BackCheck) for all those living in the house over 18 years of age
  • Contract of host families
  • Then comes a prep meeting for all host families where i will provide some more resources
  • We arrive in Kingston October 20 - December 21 after spending 2 months in Vietnam as a group
  • Throughout this time the supervisors will come check-in with host families, we will have a mid-project meeting with host families, and at the end will ask you to complete an evaluation

Tuesday 10 June 2014


Well folks, I still have some work to do building up information on here about hosting, work placements and community involvement but if you are curious I urge you to send me an email!

I have been postering and reaching out broadly to Kingston this past week and am excited to make more contacts and continue on Canada World Youth's successes in Kingston.

I am out of town for the next week for trainings with CWY on everything from policies and procedures to working with youth and host communities (both here and in Vietnam), so I may be a bit quiet, but I am still happy to get calls and emails. As for when I am back I will be actively looking for host families and work placements and looking to meet with past and new contacts in the community. As the theme of the project is health, and more specifically sexual health, HIV/Aids and gender issues (as it has been for the past 5 years in Kingston) I will be looking to connect with relevant organizations, many of which have worked with CWY over the past few years for work placements.

We are also interested in meeting/connecting with people or organizations that could work with us to get involved in various community events/activities/volunteer opportunities; or people with passions/hobbies/expertise that could be useful and interesting for our group. The group will have weekly educational activity days on a range of topics and you could be one of our resources :-)

I will also be looking to arrange meeting space in the coming weeks so am curious to hear about a great space you could offer us!

I would also love to come network/speak at any events/meetings you may have coming up so please get in touch!

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Press Release for Host Families

News release

For immediate release



Global citizenship starts at home:
Canada World Youth seeks hosts for youth exchange volunteers

Kingston, June 4, 2014 – Kingstonians have an opportunity to bring the world to their home. Canada World Youth is looking for hosts for eighteen young men and women from Vietnam and Canada, as part of an international educational program called Youth Leaders in Action.

From October 20th, 2014 to December 21st, 2014, the youth, aged 17-24, will be living, learning, and volunteering in Kingston, and exploring issues related to gender and health in partnership with local non-profit organizations. They will also share their experiences from the first phase of the program in Hoa Binh, Vietnam happening from August to October. In total, they will contribute an estimated 4000 volunteer hours to the Kingston community.

Alexandria O’Neill, Project Supervisor, encourages community members to get involved by hosting volunteers: “We’re searching for families who would like to open their doors and share their lives with two volunteers, one Canadian and one Vietnamese. It’s a great opportunity for families to develop life-long relationships, enrich their cross-cultural understanding, share their lifestyle, and explore different perspectives from their own home. All that is needed is a spare room and an open mind.”

Canada World Youth invites people of all ages, ethnicities, faiths, genders, sexual orientations, family types, and more to express their interest. All host families receive a monthly allowance of $720 to assist with food, lodging and transportation costs. Two full time Project Supervisors, one Canadian and one Vietnamese, work in the community full time to support youth volunteers and host families.

Community members with ideas for workshops, educational activity days, volunteer placements, and other ways for the group to get involved in the Kingston community are also encouraged to contact Alexandria.

For more information, please contact Alexandria O’Neill at 613-328-6856 or aoneill@cwy-jcm.org

About Canada World Youth
Canada World Youth (www.canadaworldyouth.org) offers international educational programs to young people aged 15 to 29. Since 1971, more than 33,000 people from Canada and around the world have participated in CWY programs in 67 countries.

Canada World Youth
Alexandria O’Neill
Project Supervisor
Cell: 613-328-6856
Blog: http://cwykingstonvietnam.blogspot.ca/


Hello to all volunteers, families, friends, and community members!

I am Alex the project supervisor for this exchange and I am excited to be working with you in some way or another in the coming months!

This page can be a resource of all sorts for the program, while of course confidentiality will be prioritized :-)

The key info pages are for:
Host Families
Community members
More program info

Volunteers - I will be sending out emails in the coming weeks to you about preparation, along with other members of the CWY team. In the coming weeks we will schedule a one-on-one phone/Skype chat to go over a few things.

Host families - I am currently recruiting host families in Kingston! By hosting two (2) youth (a Canadian and Vietnamese) you support these youth volunteers (age 17-24) through their experience by providing food, accommodation and a caring environment. There is a modest stipend to cover expenses. The volunteers are engaged in structured work placements, group, and community activities Monday to Friday.

Community members - We are always looking for neat opportunities for learning and exchange of all sorts. The theme of our project is Health and Gender.