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In our small rural town of 13,000 people, we've noticed a shift over the last decade. One that has uncovered many issues many of us were oppressed by - namely racism, sexism, and essentially, the lack of education on important topical and communal issues. We've always had a problem trying to encourage more of the community members to include youth citizens to participate and provide insight. We are namely a colonial town - one that has many divisions and barriers like socioeconomic status and the racism towards Indigenous peoples (who make up about 40% of our area). This alone separates the "adults" from the youth.
The NPO that I work with has been implementing a service corps in our volunteer centre in the past year. The Youth Volunteer Corps has been such an amazing program. It's the opportunity to offer youth to illuminate their voice as CURRENT community members and to create service projects to address the issues in a way they see fit. It's completely youth-driven! They identify which issues or problems they see in our town and then we figure out solutions on how we can provide aid. My purpose is to provide structure, be an ally, and to provide information on these issues so that we can learn through our service and widen our perspective. So far, we have talked about MMIW around National Aboriginal Day, conducted multiple food drives and talking about redistribution of food, promoted FASD Awareness, and promoting digital literacy by offering their tutoring to seniors, primarily, but anyone who wants to understand how to use their electronic devices.
It's been such a wonderful first year with these youth and their ideas. It inspires me knowing that these young minds will be the innovation we need for our social issues.
Consultation has concluded