The United Way of Thunder Bay (UWTB) is empowering our young people to realize their full potential by: Supporting struggling children and youth obtain the skills, self-esteem, and confidence to become successful role models and leaders; Helping youth succeed and stay in school until graduation; Inspiring children and youth to believe in themselves and make healthy choices.
One of the ways UWTB is doing this work is through their Youth 4 Community Fundraising and Granting Program. Last fall, all eight local high schools raised money as part of the United Way’s Youth 4 Community Fundraising and Granting Program. This program was established eight years ago, and in that time has raised over $70,000 for youth-focused programs in Thunder Bay; in 2017, a total of $6,065 was raised. Youth 4 Community is run by youth and for youth, meaning that all the money is raised within the high schools, all the funding goes to local youth programs and services. In addition to fundraising, the students also had the opportunity to sit on the Youth Granting Committee and work through a detailed allocations process to determine how to grant the funds, with the support of adult mentors Wayne Fletcher, Past United Way Board of Director and United Way staff person, Sandra Albertson.
On April 26th, UWTB and the Youth Granting Committee presented funding to 2 local organizations that are supporting youth in 2 very different ways. The recipients of the 2017 Youth 4 Community Grants are:
The Magnus Theatre – New Comer Project which aims to create a social-based theatre experience for teenagers. It has been developed, will be presented by and cast with local youth. The show aims to educate and create awareness about the true experience of the journey and struggles faced by youth newcomers in their own country Syria and the difficulties experienced adjusting to a new country. The show will be performed in June 2018. Local high schools and the public will be invited to attend. Hoped for outcomes of this project are an increase in empathy, understanding tolerance and respect between teen and a sense of empowerment and confidence in the youth involved.
The Saint John’s Ambulance Connect program which has a goal to help youth – with an emphasis on Indigenous youth 14-19 years old– to improve their health, safety, confidence, and competence through training, volunteering, and leadership opportunities to help prepare them for work, post-secondary education and life as they become young adults. They will use a train the trainer model which youth can take back to their own friends and communities. The hoped-for outcomes of this project are increased knowledge in the areas of health and life skills that would prepare youth for future educational and employment pursuits.
UWTB would like to thank all the students and supporters who participated in the United Way Youth 4 Community fundraising, and the Youth Granting Committee, for their extraordinary involvement. Thanks also go to the agencies for recognizing the needs of our community and providing programs and services to support the youth of Thunder Bay. “We wish you all the best and are looking forward to seeing the results of your United Way Youth 4 Community funding,” says Jered Zieroth, Executive Director of United Way of Thunder Bay.
“Youth 4 Community was developed to bring youth leaders from the local high schools to learn more about philanthropy and community needs, along with developing new skills. It is very rewarding to know that we as young people can create positive change here in our own community within priority areas for youth.” says Allison Jones, who was this year’s Committee Chair.