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New Youth Innovators Program Supporting groups to make an impact in their community

Volunteering has many beneficial purposes, helping develop your skills, enhance your resume, build connections and help support your community. 

There are plenty of opportunities for students through school, youth groups, student initiatives, or community ventures. When you’re retired, your history in the community and having more availability can make it much easier to find volunteer opportunities. It’s much more challenging to go to college or university and start a career. That’s where Volunteer Manitoba had an idea to create a program to support individuals 18-29 to impact their community positively. 

The Community Youth Innovators Program is designed to engage diverse and passionate groups of youth from across Manitoba and support their efforts to make a difference in their communities. For Kamillah El-Giadaa, Manager, Training and Development at Volunteer Manitoba, the program helps youth get more involved in the community by working directly within the non-profit sector. 

“If you’re a youth and you’re trying to figure out what sort of project you can do, think of a non-profit that might be doing similar work that you’re passionate about. Let’s say you’re really passionate about climate change. You can take a look and find organizations that are directly involved in climate change activism and see what sort of programming they’re doing.”

The first step is to think of a community project. The next is to find a group of three to six people, a requirement for this initiative, and then fill out an application form. The application covers the community project, what issue the group is addressing by doing this project and the organization you will be working with. Working with a community organization is critical, adds Gloria Dovoh, Community Relations Coordinator, as Volunteer Manitoba will be looking for groups with those connections. 

“That’s the whole idea,” says Dovoh, ” We’re trying to bridge the gap between a need in the community and these innovative ideas. So a Youth has to align with a community organization or a mentor to do that.” 

The program consists of 3 phases:

1. Learn: The program will create opportunities to learn new skills in leadership, volunteer management, program planning, and budgeting.

2. Create your own Project: Volunteer Manitoba and organization mentors will provide support and guidance as the groups implement their community projects.

3. Reflect: Evaluation tools will help the groups reflect and review their projects to help maximize efficiency and measure effectiveness.

But what is a project you should pursue?

“Sometimes as a youth, we want to change the world, we want to do everything,” says El-Giadaa. “We just need to look within our communities because if we do a little portion of that, a food drive at a food bank makes a big difference. That’s changing the world, one step at a time. Thinking of those smaller projects, the ones you can do in your backyard, those are the projects that can make a big difference.”

Depending on the scope of the projects, Volunteer Manitoba is hoping to accept five to six groups into this program. The deadline is January 31, 2022, so you have time to find a group and connect with a local organization. 

For more information, you can contact Gloria Dovoh, Community Relations Coordinator.

P: 204.477.5180 ext 231

The Community Youth Innovators Program is in partnership with RBC Future Launch and with the support of Canada Life and the Winnipeg Foundation.

– Ryan Funk, U Multicultural

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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