The team from Community Building Youth Futures tell us about their organization in this Member Spotlight:
CBYF believes that all youth in Grande Prairie deserve amazing opportunities for education and employment. But we know that isn’t the way the world operates. Many youths in our community are excluded because of systemic inequity. These youth often don’t graduate from high school, transition to higher education, apprenticeship trades, or non-credit training, and are faced with additional barriers in their employment journeys. This is not their fault – the systems we have in place were never built with them in mind. Our systems are failing our youth.
CBYF is a movement; a collective made up of representatives from business, non-profit, government, and education. We also welcome community members from all walks of life who are passionate about creating change locally. We work alongside youth (ages 13-30) as our equal partners to address inequity by reimagining what our systems could be. Youth lead our work and help us to better see and understand the systemic problems within education and employment while also bringing innovative thoughts and ideas to the table.
Youth (ages 13-30) get involved with CBYF because we give them a voice, and a chance to be heard. Our youth tell us that they find friendships as well as a sense of family and community while also providing opportunities for them to see their voices having an impact. Those over the age of 30 get involved because they want to change the education and employment systems for the better.
Our vision is simple: Powerful youth building solid foundations for our future.
Youth voice is central to our initiative as we strive to address barriers to education, training, and employment. We have over 70 youth involved in the movement in different ways including sitting in different Action Teams. The group consists of but is not limited to youth, non-profit organizations, businesses, employers, levels of government, and educators. Underrepresented youth are our equal partners as we attempt to achieve long-term social change in Grande Prairie.
Over the past two years, we have worked with the community in three areas where we see opportunities to affect change: Employment, Education, and Health and Wellbeing. In the next two years, these Action Teams will work towards systemic solutions to improve health & well-being, increase graduation rates, post-secondary and apprenticeship rates, and employment rates for systematically and structurally excluded youth.
We also have a Youth Action Society, which is an ongoing, youth-led project that is comprised of underrepresented youth who are supporting peers in Grande Prairie throughout their educational journeys into their first careers. They provide support through mentorships, professional development opportunities and micro-grants funding for necessary resources and support.
Do you want to be part of the change? Join CBYF. At CBYF, we offer a sense of community, diversity of opinions and experiences, direct access to people in power and youth-led micro-grants. We are eager to connect and work with new volunteers to create change in the community.
CBYF is funded by the Tamarack Institute and the Government of Canada.
For more information on Communities Building Youth Futures: Grande Prairie – visit them online at cbyfgp.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram at @cbyfgp.