How We Do It
Canada Bridges collaborates with a wide range of community partners to offer the following programs and initiatives as part of our UYP Approach:
UYP Workshops and Facilitation
Canada Bridges is invited by community partners, to co-develop or join on-going youth programs and initiatives. While each workshop or facilitation opportunity is unique, and tailored to the youth involved, we specialize in supporting interactive and experiential facilitation in the following areas:
1) Wisdom Stories answer the question of WHY you want to inspire change. Exploring self-awareness and personal passions, skills and abilities through activities that turn the focus inward – recognizing the wisdom and learning gained from individual experiences and our own life stories.
2) Community Mapping answers the question of WHERE you are going to inspire change. Exploring the contexts in which we live and work, to see how our communities shape us, and how we shape them. Understanding that our potential is not only about ourselves, but also about understanding who we are as unique community members.
3) Change Leadership answers the question of HOW you are going to inspire change. Exploring how every individual youth or young adult can observe and navigate various community systems so that they might inspire positive change from within. Helping youth recognize their potential and build skills to be catalysts of change, leaders of change, or even just acknowledge places where change may be needed.
Some recent UYP Workshops and Facilitation opportunities have included:
· Siksika Girls Empowerment Group – encouraging girls to explore their personal stories, develop their leadership abilities, and build a community of strong, supportive female role models in the school and broader community.
· SETS Meaningful Futures Program in Siksika, – exploring career opportunities that fit with youth passions and community change goals and supporting them to navigate education and skill building pathways to reach those goals.
· Morley Community School Knowledge and Experience Class – supporting youth to develop their understanding of personal power and find ways to express selves in a wide variety of situations.
A Youth Explosion
For the past 9 years, we’ve hosted A Youth Explosion (AYE), a storytelling event where Indigenous youth share their wisdom with a diverse public audience through a wide variety of mediums including spoken word, art, dance, music, and film. For the first time this year, the event was organized and facilitated by a youth planning committee composed of past AYE presenters and volunteers. For many of the presenters at AYE, it is the first time they have shared their stories publicly. Many of the audience members have never heard what Indigenous youth have to say. They deepen their understanding of the effects of intergenerational trauma, and the ongoing structural injustice that faces Alberta’s indigenous people. They also witness the incredible resilience and wisdom that youth bring to the table. Each year the event grows: in 2019, over 250 people attended the event, held at TELUS Spark in Calgary, where 13 Indigenous youth shared their strength, passion and resiliency.
Transitions Mentorship Program
Supports Indigenous young leaders (ages 18-29) who have moved to Calgary from their reserves to pursue career and educational goals and develop a supportive community in the city. We offer group activities and hangouts for youth to expand their skills, build their knowledge of community organizations, and to grow their network in Calgary. Young leaders may be matched with a mentor based on shared passions or career goals. The program began as a pilot in 2016 and has continued in full form since 2018.
Youth Led Project Support
Over the past few years, some of the work that we have felt the strongest about, and seen the greatest value in, was in supporting young leaders to dream, create, and fulfill initiatives in their communities that they are passionate about, outside of formal programs or workshops. We believe that this is truly at the heart of our work. Each initiative has been youth defined and youth-led; we walk beside young leaders on an individual basis with tailored supports, resources, and ongoing mentorship and coaching.