2 years old!
On March 17th, 2010, 24 young people gathered at Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, MB to say, with one voice “Aboriginal youth need meaningful opportunities”. Exactly 2 years later, that small gathering, has come so far. We have initiated and supported many youth driven, youth led, youth created ideas. And while everyone one of them was unique, they all had one thing in common: a belief that we as young people can work together to solve our communities challenges.
I am overhwlemed with emotion as I write this, remembering the faces of those youth, many of whom I still work with today. It began out of love for one another, out of a common sense of history, and especially of hope for what the future can hold for us.
WHAT HAVE YOU(TH) DONE?!
Some of our accomplishment’s include:
- Creating AYO LEADERSHIP, the driving force behind AYO with a SHIT model that aims to break Stereotypes, work at reversing Hypocrisy, engaging in Institutions to empower change and to Take our culture back
- Creating relationships with businesses, organizations & media so that we can truly send our own message to our peers and to the world that we are not apathetic
- Initiating a HEALING STILL CONTINUES group that focusses on providing cultural opportunities and healing from the challenges our nation & communities face
- Initiating POLITIX and its corresponding Get Real Youth forums to engage young people in politics and make sure youth’s challenges are addressed
- Starting CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS, a program that has moved all around the community to empower young people to dream big, and create their reality in a way that makes sense to them
- Brand new banners on Selkirk Avenue (the first in 20 years!!)
- Developing and delivering the ARROWS youth engagement strategy not only in Manitoba, but all across Canada (presented in MB, SK, AB & ON)
- Initiating the North End Anti-Violence movement MEET ME @ THE BELL TOWER which has created an opportunity for our North End to come together and celebrate the beauty that we know lives here
- working with University of MB & City of Winnipeg & North End schools to support the creation of The FWD North End Youth Newspaper
That’s not everything, but I just wanted to highlight some stuff. In April, we will have AYO’s 2nd Belated Birthday Bash, and all of you reading this, and all of you that helped build this amazing movement are invited to come.
Thank you to the amazing youth leaders who believed. Thank you to the young leaders who shared their audacious dreams, and stood together and made them reality. We haven’t won all of our battles, and every mistake is a chance for us to learn and grow. I just needed to take this time to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYO, I never in a million years thought we would achieve so much in so little time…but we have.
Lets keep going
Can I get an AYO!?!?!?!
With love, respect, humility & courage.