In 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Melfort reached out to Melfort organizations to begin collaborative strategies to create better outcomes for the youth of Melfort. Community consultations commenced with the youth, youth-serving organizations, and family members with an intentional focus to engage youth in Melfort on both identity and community wellness. Over the course of these past few years, BBBS of Melfort invited youth of the community to engage with the City of Melfort, North East Outreach and Support Services (NEOSS), Marguerite Riel Centre, Lakeland District for Sports, Culture and Recreation, RCMP, Students Commission of Canada, Saskatchewan Prevention Institute and the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth to the community meetings that they hosted.
As a result, the youth have been inspired and empowered to form the Melfort Youth Evolution, a new youth initiative. Melfort Youth Evolution is a Council for youth by youth. They have called upon adult-allies to champion and oversee the formation of the Council and help with the structure and sustainability framework. The core group of youth recruits other dedicated youth in Melfort to become involved as active Council members or by inviting them to participate in organized events and programs for youth. This has allowed youth in Melfort to strengthen interpersonal values, appreciate and explore cultural diversity, enhance peer relations, build on communication skills and leadership skills, build self-esteem and strengthen self-confidence. Having a Youth Council has helped the youth to learn about community services, volunteering, and to help develop a sense of pride in their community and in turn, help in making Melfort a safer, more positive and nurturing environment for everyone.
“When we started BBBS of Melfort with several key community members it was the hope that youth would benefit from mentoring relationships. Through the process mentioned above, we have determined that Youth Evolution is the best way for the youth of Melfort to the achieve the benefits and impacts or mentoring from both a peer to peer relationship and relationships with Adult Allies.” Kim Megyesi (Executive Director, Big Brothers Big Sisters Saskatoon and Area Inc.)
Youth Evolution council believes that by securing a safe space for all youth of Melfort and surrounding community improves the quality of life for many. They see this initiative as a complement to the recently completed skate park and as a positive influence for youth facing adversity.
NEOSS has been at the table from the start and through the process of determining the best way to serve the youth from a mentoring lens. It was decided that it is in the best interest of the youth of Melfort that Youth Evolution remains a locally-led and managed Council. Therefore, BBBS of Melfort will be transitioning away from a Satellite program of BBBS of Saskatoon and Area. We are happy to announce that Youth Evolution will become a program of NEOSS.
“We are excited to add Youth Evolution to our many services. The priorities of Youth Evolution are in line with our strategic goals to serve families in our community” Louise Schweitzer (Executive Director, NEOSS)
Kathryn Carswell, a Melfort community member, is currently with BBBS, will transition to NEOSS in a coordinator and adult ally role with Youth Evolution. Kathryn has been with BBBS of Melfort for 3 years as a recruitment, fundraiser and adult ally role leading these conversations.
“With the Melfort Youth Evolution now under the umbrella of the North East Outreach and Support Services, these youth will have great opportunities for personal growth and we foresee even more youth programming and activities in the future.” Kathryn Carswell (Youth Coordinator, NEOSS)
This transition will happen December 1st, 2019. Communities benefit from youth led initiatives, and Melfort will be no different.
For more information, contact:
Louise Schweitzer (Executive Director, NEOSS)
Kathryn Carswell (Youth Coordinator, NEOSS)