Uluadluak Kablutsiak: #RisingYouth organizes suicide prevention walk in home community of Arviat, NU

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Vicky Uluadluak Kablutsiak, but I prefer to be called by my Inuktitut name, Uluadluak. I am 20 years old and I live in Arviat, Nunavut, which is my hometown. Since graduating from high school in 2018, I’ve been exploring new opportunities. The population of Arviat is approximately 3,000 and about 65% of the citizens are considered youth under the age of 35. I find health and wellness to be a very important component to the community of Arviat, so when I was a summer student at the Hamlet of Arviat in 2018, I decided to pursue community development. I’m passionate about education and want to help youth in my community and throughout Nunavut.

How did you hear about #RisingYouth, and what inspired you to apply?

I heard about Rising Youth from my supervisor when I worked as a summer student. I was inspired to apply because I knew it would help a lot of youth in my community.

Can you explain what your project is, how you came up with it, and the purpose of it?

I organized a suicide prevention walk, on September 10, 2018, which is Suicide Prevention Day. The Community Development Department where I was working as a summer student had a mandate to promote opportunities under recreation, economic development and wellness for community members. I came up with the idea of a suicide prevention walk because it gave me the opportunity to do what I always wanted to do — — help the youth in my community, hoping that I would be able to help other youth in Nunavut when they heard about the event. Nunavut has the highest rate of suicide in Canada and it’s time that we all work together to prevent suicide. This is very important to me as I have personally experienced losing a loved one.

What has the reaction to your project been in your community?

The community hasn’t had any suicide prevention walks in years, so I know my project made an impact because there were many participants, from youth to elders. We also inspired people from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. And they started a group called Live for Life.

Why do you think it is important for youth to be engaged in community service initiatives like #RisingYouth?

In this case specifically, it provides opportunities for youth to connect with their peers, helps them find purpose and increase the sense that they’re not alone. It also helps youth feel connected with their community. Everyone deserves to feel loved, happy, wanted, and that they matter to someone.

If youth are interested in applying for a Rising Youth Community Service Grant but don’t know where to start, where do you suggest they find project ideas?

They can get advice from friends, family, the Youth Engagement Activator, or find project ideas online.

What have been some of the highs and lows of getting your project off the ground?

Highs: Found a way for people to access support that may make an individual in crisis feel more comfortable to open up, while promoting support organizations that the public may not know about.

Lows: Some people might not be used to opening up to others and they may feel uncomfortable.

Any final advice or suggestions for youth who are considering applying?

You won’t regret it. It’ll change your life, and the lives of others in your community.