About Us

Initiated by the Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region, the resilience project fosters the development and facilitation of programming for children, youth and families which support the development of resilience in participants. A “resilience-led approach” nurtures a child’s adaptive ability and capacity to benefit from the resources which are available or can be made available for them. This enables the child to buffer the effects of adversity. By collaborating with several community partners, the project leverages resources, reduces duplication of effort, and provides for greater outreach in hard-to-serve communities.

In addition, building in a consistent evaluation component with each program makes ongoing research possible and helps to assess the effectiveness of the various approaches to engineering resilience.

Resilience Theory

The word resilience has many definitions, but all express the idea that when people have adverse experiences (such as trauma, abuse, neglect, etc.) some will struggle to recover while others will have positive outcomes and continue to move forwards in their lives despite these experiences. The latter are deemed resilient.

This concept is important to the child welfare field, since many of the children Family and Children’s Services work with have been through multiple adverse experiences. Increasing their resilience can lead to better outcomes for them and for their own children.

Researchers have uncovered a number of factors linked to resilience. Some are internal, personal qualities possessed by the child. Others, though, can be enhanced or developed through programming, and these areas are targeted by the programs of the Resilience Project. The five key elements are:

  • Security
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-efficacy
  • Reduction of difficulties
  • Turning points

In order to target these elements for children and youth, the Resilience Project includes resources and programs in six different areas:

  • Caregiver and Child Capacity Building
  • Physical Recreation
  • Arts Programming
  • Mentorships
  • Family-Friendly Events
  • Mindfulness

By offering multiple programs, the Project is able to offer activities that are accessible for children with disabilities and from different cultural backgrounds.


Our Funder

Lyle S. Hallman Foundation

Lyle Shantz Hallman was a generous philanthropist who during the course of his lifetime (1922-2003) worked to make a lasting difference in the lives of the people of his home community of Waterloo Region. His strong commitment to education, health and children is reflected in the mission of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation which Lyle established in September 2003.

The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation continues Lyle’s tradition of giving by providing grants to organizations in Waterloo Region that support health, education and children’s initiatives that inspire and grow individual and community potential. We give priority to prevention and early intervention initiatives.

The values of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation are based on a deep-rooted sense of responsibility to its community and a belief that it is better to work in partnership than in isolation. Learn more about the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation here.

History of the Child and Youth Resilience Program

For years, Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region has provided programs for the families and children served by the organization that were designed to promote resilience in the participants. In 2015, Phase One of the Resilience Project was initiated, focusing on programs to serve clients of the agency. An important aspect of the Project is the research component, which has continued into Phase Two (launched in September 2017).  Phase Two has broadened the scope of the project by including community partners who offer their own resiliency-targeted programs. The research aspect is based on built-in evaluation processes that are part of all the programs. Parents, children and facilitators complete questionnaires before and after each program, and some will be invited to participate in more in-depth interviews about the programs and their outcomes.

Learn more about our community partners on our Partners and Programs page.