10 Toronto projects helping Mozilla shape a healthy Internet

Hive Toronto is excited to announce 10 projects that will support Mozilla’s mission in their work towards a healthy and accessible internet. With the release of the Mozilla’s Internet Health Report, communities around the world are rallying to make a difference in 5 key issue areas that will contribute to a healthier internet: 1) privacy and security, 2) decentralization, 3) web literacy, 4) digital inclusion and 5) open innovation. Hive Toronto members and community allies are committed to supporting a global movement that addresses theses issue in a number of ways. To help support the work of Hive Toronto network members in their efforts for a healthy internet, we launched the Internet Health Mini-grant.

What is Internet Health?

The strength of the open Internet is the ability of its users to shape the Web itself and thereby shape society. Like society, the Internet grows stronger with every new voice. But there are many barriers that prevent the full diversity of the world from being reflected online. More than half of the world is still without Internet, and even people who do have access may be limited by factors like high cost, unreliable connections or censorship. Our everyday actions the shape the vitality and health of the internet. When we start recognizing where the system is healthy and functioning well can we understand how to make it stronger. When we realize its weak point can we repair and avoid actions that further weaken it.

Learn more about the threats to a healthy and accessible internet here

How do we measure success?

There could be a million different things Mozilla could measure to track progress towards a healthier internet. There a variety of different touch points that will help us track progress and any setbacks in our work such including technical infrastructure, privacy laws, online harassment, disinformation, activism, and education.

Learn more on how Mozilla is working to measure success in their mission for a healthy internet.

Hive Toronto Internet Health Mini-grant

Hive Toronto members and community allies are committed to supporting a global movement that focuses on an accessible and healthy internet. To help support the work of Hive Toronto network members, we announced the Internet Health Mini-grant. This fund supports local programming to help engage communities in web-literacy and open practice opportunities, build capacity within organizations to continue to deliver this type of programming and engage youth looking to lead in their communities with the support of a network member.

Hive Toronto has worked with its 72 network partners and allies over the last year to co-design a small-grant program that would support capacity-building and programming projects across the Greater Toronto Area. Network members helped shape the three categories of funding: 1) program-focused funding; 2) capacity-building funding and 3) youth-led, member supported funding.

This year we funded the following projects:

Program Focused Funding:

Sky’s the Limit (STL)

Project Name: Summer Tech Camp Series

Project Overview:

Sky’s the Limit is working to end the digital divide by providing hardware and access to the digital universe for at-risk youth in Toronto communities. STL will be hosting series of summer tech camps in partnership with various youth organizations to a group of 175 participants. Hosted in various communities in the Greater Toronto Area, each camp provides participants with various session focused on coding, internet navigation, online safety, program development and much more. In their pilot year, Sky’s the Limit has worked with STEM clubs and local refugee youth groups to bring laptops and tech learning to 75 youth and are looking to grow this number with the Hive Toronto Internet Health mini-grant.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

At STL they understand the importance of raising youth to understand the power of the world wide web and how to harness it. At each camp internet safety, social media presence, privacy, and internet navigation are taught to all participants. They also provide information about the web’s best free applications to create and edit content, or to further learning and contribution in specific areas of technology.

CoderDojo Toronto

Project Name: CoderDojo Toronto @ Toronto Public Library

Project Overview:

The goal of this project is to expand the coverage of locations offering free computer education workshops to youth in Toronto. CoderDojo Toronto and their ultimate goal is to create an on-boarding system for library staff to become familiar with youth-focused coding resources so that they are able to sustain coding workshops within their own branches.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

This project acknowledges that not every child has equal opportunities to learn code. Girls and young women represent less than 1/3 of computer science positions. Limited access to computers impacts under-represented groups’ and their ability to benefit from a job-market hungry for coders and developers. CoderDojo Toronto is teaching code skills to help people to tell stories, understand their interactions with different technologies, solve problems, build businesses and have a seat at the table in the digital future. Students are moved by the volunteerism of mentors, and in turn, show interest in providing mentorship to their peers.

Right to Play

Project Name: Y2Y Youth Council

Project Overview:

The objective of this project is to create Youth To Youth’s (Y2Y) first ever Youth Council that allows exceptional Youth Leaders from the program to engage with both Right To Play and Mozilla and their goal of a healthy internet on an advanced level.  By mobilizing some of the city’s best youth leaders, there is the opportunity to open a dialogue for them to identify some of the biggest web issues facing youth and children like internet safety and privacy.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

Part of Right To Play’s core belief is that “play” is one of the most effective tools for teaching. They use play to teach lessons by using reflective discussions to capture the learning opportunities throughout the process. Right To Play games can be adapted to focus on a range of subjects. RTP activities can focus on anything from literacy and numeracy, to creating healthier relationships between students. By creating a Youth Council, we intend to leverage youth voices in order to create a new stream of educational content, that focuses on internet safety and web literacy.


Project Name: STEAM After School

Project Overview:

Since beginning their programs at 192 Spadina in the summer of 2015, STEAMLabs has helped thousands of kids become creators of technology such as robotics, web development, digital design and digital fabrication. Their programs are about more than technology skills, they are about agency – having the confidence and capabilities to make a change in your world. The objective with this program is to create a low cost after school program to engage more low income kids from the surrounding area.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

STEAMLabs believes everyone needs to be able to contribute to building the Internet and other technology. Income inequality leads to technology education inequality. They want to help low income kids jump the gap and become confident creators of their online worlds.

Regent Park Focus Youth Media Arts Centre

Project Name: Indie Game Development Catalyst Club

Project Overview:

This program opportunity will provide dedicated space for a creative catalyst club, a place for youth to get the support they need to develop their own indie games. To support the youth as they create, the program will deliver a series of basic skill development tutorials on the subjects of game design, digital arts, coding, audio, and more. After equipping the youth with a variety of basic game development skill sets, the program challenges them to incubate their creativity and begin making their own games, where diversity and inclusion themes are encouraged.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

The Indie Game Development Catalyst Club, a 2017 Summer Pilot Expansion Program at Regent Park Focus will enhance locally-accessible programmatic offerings that specifically address digital inclusion, web literacy, and openness goals through engaging traditionally disenfranchised and low-income young people in the production of their own video games.

Capacity-Building Funding:

License 2 Learn

Project Overview :

License 2 Learn (L2L) will be moving their tutor training curriculum to an interactive digital platform that would allow open access for program participants, tutors and groups looking to bring the program to their communities. Funding will also impact core monitoring and evaluation practices by bringing them online.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

This process will push people to web based platforms for their learning experience and develop fluency negotiating the web as a resource for learning. With the online curriculum, anyone with internet will be able to access the training manual that L2L has spent 15 years developing. This will equip more people with learning and teaching tools to better acquire and share knowledge online.

Visions of Science Network for Learning (VOSNL)

Project Overview:

VOSNL Community STEM Clubs program brings these learning opportunities to youth (grades 3 to 8) directly within in their communities on a weekly basis. From the success and needs that emerged from this program they have recently extended engagement to support the STEM learning of older aged youth in grades 9 to 12 and to help build their leadership capacity. However, their space lacks the necessary technology and infrastructure to implement this. Implementing technology and space upgrades, they will be better equipped engage their communities in building web literacy skills and developing tech-based programming. These upgrades will also empower young leaders who access their space and contribute to programs by providing them with tools that are often inaccessible.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

Keeping the web in the hands of many by allowing VOSNL to increase capacity to the wide catchment of communities that they serve. Making room for everyone by removing initial barriers to access of technology experienced by volunteers and participants. These tools (literacy and tech) will also enable more individuals to responsibly contribute and develop web content. They will be able to engage their youth with skills beyond coding with an emphasis on web literacy skills.

Vibe Arts

Project Overview:

Youth artists use program laptops within the Vibe Arts office and across the city to access the internet, web-based software, and applications that advance their practice and ensure high-quality programming. The goal is to have updated equipment that will better serve, connect, and engage their roster of youth artists. They believe that their organizational capacity and programming capabilities can be enhanced through efficient and updated technology.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

This capacity-building grant will support digital inclusion and web literacy in Toronto’s community arts/arts education sector. Increased technological capacity will support their efforts to provide youth artists from under-served Toronto neighbourhoods with access to the internet, to web based applications, software, and digital literacy workshops.

Urban Arts

Project Overview:

UrbanArts will be using funding to develop introductory level courses in design and 3D printing to youth in the communities they serve. The short term goal of this project is to help change the way youth look at everyday objects and instill the idea of sustainability, and repair. The long term goals for this project is to keep using and exploring the software in order to eventually teach an array of participants on how to use the software in order to create their own products from scratch whether that be in wearable art, jewellery, household items, sculptures, or even for prototyping for proposals.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

Urban Arts strongly believe in Mozilla’s missions which addresses access to the internet, promote web literacy, and to contribute to a healthier internet. UrbanArts provides the community with free services such as culinary programs, music, dance, visual art and digital education and digital art. They also provide a free space for community members to come in and use our equipment, access the internet as well as access to Adobe and Microsoft software at their leisure. Urban Arts believes strongly in providing the community with a free space to learn various skills such digital education, and various software education programs.

Youth-Led, Member-Supported Funding:

Youth Empowering Parents (YEP)

Project Overview:

Funding will be used to purchase tablets and operate a program for seniors in various communities. YEP will engage local youth (recruited from neighbourhood schools) to teach seniors how to use a tablet, how to access the web with the tablet, and various internet skills to help them become regular users of the web. In total, the program will engage 24 youth to teach 24 seniors. Focus will be placed on under-represented communities in Toronto – specifically seniors living in low-income areas. Target communities for the pilot are: Regent Park, Lawrence Heights, and Weston-Mt Dennis.

How will this project contribute to a healthier internet?

This project builds digital literacy skills in seniors. Among Canadians, StatsCan highlights that seniors still account for a significant portion of the population who are lacking the skills to read, write and participate in the digital world. This project will prioritize seniors lacking English language skills. This project pairs seniors with youth who speak the same language, and youth will teach website translation tools like Google Translate to help them not only access more of the web, but to go beyond consuming and start exploring ways to contribute with it as well.

To learn more about these projects and how to get involved in Mozilla’s mission for a healthier internet, contact us at hivetoronto@mozillafoundation.org.