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#RisingYouth Highlights — Summer 2018

This summer has been filled with impactful projects by youth across Canada who transformed their ideas into action!

Bryce Daniel Koch — $1500 — Winnipeg, MB

Bryce co-founded Project Safe Audience (PSA) and applied for a grant to support the organization’s work providing harm reduction products and services in the underground music communities in Winnipeg. When asked why he applied for funding, Bryce replied:

I applied for the grant because I had been using my own funds. I’ve been running this program for around 1.5 years using my own money and a bit of loose change donations we have received. Using my own money to fund a non-profit clearly isn’t a long term solution.

Also, the funding allowed us to make a couple larger purchases that I wouldn’t have been able to afford. Things like getting our logo professionally done and more importantly buying higher quality/more specific testing kits for drug checking. With this grant, we have been able to check, with more precision, different cutting agents in these substance. In fact, at a recent music festival we were at, we came across 2 drug samples that contained a substance called methylone. You may have heard it on the news before called “bath salts”. Due to the grant, the testing kits we bought were able to pick up this substance. We might have not been able to with our previous ones.

In regards to PSA’s future plans, Bryce shares:

Project Safe Audience has been growing for this last while and we have no plan of slowing down! Thanks to TakingITGlobal, we have the finances to keep growing!!

Daniella Barreto — $750 — Montréal, QC

Further East, Daniella and 6 inspired colleagues created RUDE; a podcast designed to discuss the concerns of young people who are passionate about social justice issues and see the need for deeper conversations in the fight for equality.

The Rising Youth grant allowed them to organize a launch event promoting their current 5 podcast episodes, each focusing on a different social justice challenge in the world, and one of which features none other than Snoop Dogg! The event was a huge success, and RUDE now has over 500 views per episode on Soundcloud and 5-star reviews on iTunes.

Daniella shares:

Receiving the support and endorsement to truly soar has been quite rewarding and we are all grateful for TIG’s support. In addition, putting out our content to an audience and receiving positive responses and seeing the level of appreciation and engagement, especially from people we didn’t know and from countries all around the world, was especially rewarding.

She encourages other youth to develop their passions, saying:

Take this opportunity and apply for funding for whatever big or small collective project you have launched. The application process is accessible so do not hesitate and just submit an application. Don’t doubt yourselves!

Caleb Driedger — $1500 — Russell, MB

Back in Manitoba, Caleb and his wife are building a drop-in centre for youth in their area, which includes 3 small towns and 2 reservations. They used the grant to organize Cops and Ballers Paintball Event, where youth and local members of the RCMP played paintball together in hopes of developing a trusting relationship.

This event is one of many organized by the centre. Caleb explains:

In the fall of 2017 I was approached by local RCMP member, Constable Dustin Kehler, requesting to partner with me to build trust between youth and RCMP. Together we came up with a few event ideas including a floor hockey night, a video game night and a paintball event. Not long after that meeting, our community recreation director sent me a link to the TIG grant. I applied to the grant hoping it would allow us to provide free access to the paintball event for any youth wanting to participate.

When asked about the outcome of this event, Caleb responded:

In working with youth, I often hear a plethora of negativity toward police officers. It was extremely rewarding to see youth and RCMP working together as a team, humanizing one another.

Andy Pelletier — $1500 — Dawson City, YK

Meanwhile in the Yukon, Andy and her team wanted to expand the reach and mission of Yukon Girls Rock Camp and created YGRC WH; Yukon Girls Rock Camp Whitehorse! In this 6-day summer camp, participants learn an instrument, form a band, write a song and rock out on stage.

In addition to music and band practices, campers talk about growing up in the North, gender issues, media literacy, and positive self-expression. They also learn how to make their world an awesome place to live through community activism.

Andy saw a need for girls and gender non-binary youth in Whitehorse to have access to this type of empowerment-based programming.

We wanted to inspire them, to instill self-esteem and encourage them to express themselves.

Her advice for anyone wanting to make the leap and get involved is simple:

Look around you, see something that your community is lacking and make it happen!

Emily Van Toever — $1500 — York, PEI

Across the country in Prince Edward Island, Emily developed an aquatic educational immersion program with emphasis on the health of the Covehead and Brackley Bays, which demonstrates the impact of the health of these bays on aquatic species over time.

She also planned a more hands-on component of the project where local youth had access to the bay to collect data themselves on certain at risk aquatic species, contributing to her personal goal of “improving stewardship of the bays in our community”.

Emily is passionate about raising awareness of local environmental issues, and says the most rewarding part of the project so far has been “speaking to parents whose children have come to one of my sessions tell me about the information their kids come home sharing with their families about the bays.”

In her words:

I would encourage anyone with an idea to do something positive within their communities to take action and apply for a grant!

Neomi Jayaratne — $1500 — Kakisa, NWT

Neomi and her group organized a 1-day event in their community to foster traditional knowledge-sharing between elders and youth. Activities focused on arts and crafts, education, environment, sports and recreation, and traditions and food.

The grant was an opportunity to work with the youth on a creative event. I was hoping to get to know them better this way and to work together in organizing a fun event.

When asked about her experience, Neomi shared:

The most rewarding part of the project was getting many community members to come and participate in the event. Traditional Knowledge is an important part of Indigenous culture, and this event was for the youth and elders to engage and to practice traditional activities to initiate inter-generational sharing.

Alyssa Luttenberger — $750 — Toronto, ON

Throughout the summer in Toronto, Alyssa and her team created a medicine and food garden for indigenous youth in the city. They sowed plants with medicinal properties such as tobacco, sage, cedar and sweetgrass, and work with knowledge keepers to teach youth about their traditional uses.

The purpose of the project, Alyssa explains, is to “look at the land in urban spaces and help youth to reconnect these plants with their culture and community here in the city.” Participants also gain practical knowledge through cooking workshops and maintenance of the garden.

When asked about her experience, she shared:

It was incredibly rewarding to see youth engage with the garden who we hadn’t expected would come out and volunteer. Working in a garden is hard work. It has to be cared for every day and it was rewarding to do that work and then see the plants flourish and grow.

Alyssa expressed the following advice for anyone thinking of applying for a grant:

Just go for it! TakingITGlobal made the process easy and it was really cool to be able to run a project like ours. Also, talk to your community about your idea. Get their feedback, and talk with the people who will be volunteering with your project. You want the community to support what you are doing, it will make it so much more impactful in the end!

Breanna Katherine Kehoe — $250 — Windsor, NS

On the East Coast, Breanna organized a garden party at King Meadow Residence Society (KMRS) — a group home that houses nine individuals living with various intellectual disabilities. She wanted to bring together KSMR residents and other members of the community since, as she explained:

The residents at King’s Meadow often get “forgotten about” by the community if they do not work directly in the community. The Garden Party began as an idea to bring the community to the residents and allow them to see how the residents live.

The Rising Youth Community Service Grant went towards a group of young local musicians who performed at the event, a BBQ, a sundae bar, a slideshow featuring KMRS residents, and decorations. Breanna hoped the Garden Party would facilitate connections, saying: “Social events which bring in members of the community are also great ways to reduce the stigma associated with individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

When asked about future plans, she shared:

I think this Garden Party will be an annual event. I have high hopes that we can put on similar events (even at a smaller scale) to keep the community and residents engaged.

To apply for funding for your own community service project, visit:


Be sure to look out for more cross-country inspirational stories every month!

Rising Youth is funded by the Government of Canada under the Canada Service Corps program.

Follow us on Twitter: @TakingITGlobal and Instagram: @RisingYouthTIG



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