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Delisle Youth Services "Aerin the Ally" - January 2013

In our third project with Delisle Youth Service of Toronto, and second project with the Stars Youth Group, seven youth collaborated with us to create an online tool that would address what it means to be an ally.

After lots of brainstorming, rough sketches and lots of snacks the group decided on Aerin the Ally! Your job, in this tool, is to help Aerin clean up the billboards that have negative hurtful messages into ones that are accepting of everyone. The youth wanted to create something that would help others understand that words that we hear and/or use every day really hurt people.

In a time frame from Friday to Sunday, a group of youth, from the Stars program at Delisle Youth Services, worked together to make a tool in partnership with mindyourmind. We did this in the lovely studio space. The easy part was brainstorming different ideas for tools, however it was a very difficult decision on which wonderful tool we would choose to work further on. We hope this tool educates other youth on appropriate and inappropriate language and on how to be a good ally.  Jessica, 16

I hope more people realize that they are allies.  Iesha, 17

Help promote pride, happiness and well-being of LGBTQ community.  Jessica, 16

The group decided to use an item to represent them to keep their identity private and mindyourmind respects that! Meet the group, find out why they choose the object they did, what they hope the tool accomplishes and a random thing about each of the participants.

Asia, 16

I chose this object because I really admire the way one can capture a moment that means something to them. I also love how any picture can have so many meanings, deep or not, depending on any individual. I prefer film photography.

A random thing about me is that I really enjoy anything that distracts me from my reality. It could be reading, writing, creative, fictional, stories, drawing, helping others and focussing on their reality, or even school (learning).

I hope that this tool helps allies and people in general realize how and ways in which certain words and phrases can be hurtful.


Jessica, 16

Hi, my name is Jessica. I am 16 years young. I’m a misanthrope. I hope this tool positively affects allies and changes negative vocabulary. My object, or rather best friend, is my baby lulu. She’s my therapy dog and has helped me through so many hard times. My mum got her for me after a suicide attempt and I can honestly say she is the best thing that ever happened to me. The bond we share is unchangeable and it’s wonderful to have such a loving, loyal dog to represent me and who I want to be.


Pixie, 16

Object: my headphones. Music is the thing that means the most to me.

Random: I like bunnies

What hope: World peace and whatnot.


Dsquared, 18

Picture: I find this phrase fully encapsulates and sums up the essence of my being in most conceivable aspects.

Random thing: I have a keloid scar that changes colour according to the weather.

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic slurs are unfortunately used with startling frequency today; even more startling is the fact that many people may be unaware as to the very tangible and real impact using such micro aggressions can have on the affected groups and minorities. The aim of this tool is to shed some light on these slurs, and bring awareness to how our vocabulary can affect others. Also, how to bring that negative affect to a minimum, so we can create environments where everyone feels safe and respected.


Iesha, 17

I chose my hat because it’s the close article or clothing to my head. And my head is where all of my imagination comes from and that’s what really is most important to me.

One random thing: I’m a cat lady, when I was about 12 I had 2 cats and 10 kittens.

I hope that this helps GLBTQ and Allies understand the power of their words or actions, good or bad.


Savannah, 15

My object is my absolute favourite poster of an anime called Naruto Shippuden, featuring the main characters; Naruto (right) and Sasuke (left). I got this poster at Anime North, a convention that is held in Toronto. I chose this poster to represent me because of the lessons and morals I have learned from Naruto and the bonds I have made with others because of this common interest.

I want this tool to help create more LGBTQ allies in the world and educate people on the harm that’s caused to the gay community when homophobic words and phrases are used.

A random thing about me is that I was a cat in a previous life.


Kaiyash 15

My image was my goggles and I brought them because I see them as a thing of sheer awesomeness. Goggles were invented for the sole purpose of flying planes without getting something in your eyes. They were later recreated to be used in water. I use them for SCIENCE!! At home I work with elements and materials to build things and new compounds. I am an ally, and the only male to attend this course. I like DnD and Minecraft and should probably use my time more productively.

Fun fact: I’m in the air cadets and becoming a pilot.