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Grassroots Youth Initiative Grants see record investment

by ahnationtalk on June 16, 202273 Views

June 15, 2022

Kelowna, B.C. – Since 2019, United Way British Columbia (UWBC) – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland, Central & Northern Vancouver Island Central Okanagan Foundation, Community Foundation of the North Okanagan and Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen have collaborated to create a funding pool that youth organizations can apply to, driven and supported by UWBC’S GenNext Kelowna chapter. This year four funders have created funding for thirteen new grassroots initiatives designed and led by youth. Watch out for these engaging projects as they take shape across the Okanagan and Similkameen.

In the North Okanagan, the Sqilx’w Apna Society has created a N’sis’ooloxw Youth and Medicine Project focusing on connecting youth with medicine, culture, language, and plant knowledge amongst peers. The youth will grow and harvest plants and medicines in workshops and outings with community elders. The group intends to foster health and wellness as youth access nature, transforming destructive habits into ones of connection.

In Central Okanagan, Brain Trust is working with youth with lived experience to create the Brain Injury Youth Crime Prevention Program. This project will address the unique needs of youth with brain injuries which are currently within the juvenile justice system. By providing brain injury customized support and advocacy, the group aims to reduce the likelihood of entrance to the adult justice system and future stress to the overall community.

In the South Okanagan, Okanagan Falls saw three separate applications for the funding and are now connecting to create several youth-focused indoor and outdoor spaces, including:

Disc Golf Course – located in the baseball fields in OK Falls, this partnership between the Parents Advisory Committee, School District 53 and RDOS will see an accessible disc golf course for all.

Butterfly Garden – Heartwood Learning is engaging their home learners to design and build a butterfly garden in Lions Park.

Legion Youth Space – The local Legion branch saw an opportunity to re-design their indoor space to be more welcoming for youth. In partnership with One World Youth Crew, it will be creating some inspirational murals for this space.

The Similkameen also welcomed an application from the Upper Similkameen Indian Band to create a vegetable hydroponic system led entirely by the USIB Youth Group. The group will grow the food, package it and distribute it amongst community members while also growing these community connections. In collaboration with the neighbouring Chuchuwayha Family Centre, youth will be engaged to teach peers and younger children where food comes from and how to cook it.

UWBC and the funding partners are excited to see these projects develop. In previous years, the youth engaged in these projects have found significant social skill development and learning about funding, budgeting, promoting activities, and engaging community members to provide direction and feedback.

About United Way British Columbia (UWBC) – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island

United Way British Columbia supports healthy, caring and inclusive communities by strengthening vital connections that support people in need. Representing the six regions of Central and Northern Vancouver Island, East Kootenay, Lower Mainland, Southern Interior, Thompson Nicola Cariboo, and Trail and District, our organization serves a population of more than 4 million people, with a focus on kids and youth, seniors, poverty, mental health and food security.

Interviews are available with Naomi Woodland, Regional Community Impact & Investment Coordinator, United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island.

Media contact:

Pinder Rehal

Public Relations, Marketing & Communications

United Way British Columbia – working with communities in BC’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Central & Northern Vancouver Island

Office: 604.969.8637 Cell: 647.542.8545


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