Dufferin youth projects get $15,000 boost

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On Dec. 11, two youth-led teams and their community partners celebrated their success in the nation-wide RBC Future Launch Community Challenge with a well-attended grant-giving ceremony at DCAFS in Orangeville.
Working in partnership, the RBC Foundation and Community Foundations of Canada have engaged our Dufferin Community Foundation in selecting and mentoring worthy youth leaders.
RBC Regional Vice President, Central Shores, Dan Woods and Gord Gallaugher, chair of the Dufferin Community Foundation (DCF), presented cheques to support two local projects that will benefit not just the participants in the GLOW youth community, but also their families, classmates and Dufferin at large.
To add accountability to the challenge, MaryAnn Lowry, DCF Vice-Chair and Grants Convenor, encouraged the youth leaders to make public, one-year commitments to their charitable partners.
Stevie Forbes-Roberts, received $9,000 on behalf of Speak Out!, a Dufferin Youth Change Project.
At the ceremony, Forbes-Roberts and their team leaders pledged visible accomplishments to their charitable partner, Jennifer Moore of DCAFS. “One year from now we will have completed a public mural designed by youth leaders,” promised Forbes-Roberts.
“This mural will be a permanent creative education tool to increase acceptance, build a community which values difference, names the strength of LGBTQ+ youth and celebrate diverse gender identities and sexualities.
Youth who see this mural in their community will know they are welcomed and celebrated just as discrimination and stigma is being actively negated.”
Their second success will be 30 trained public speakers who identify as LGBTQ+ youth who will have had the opportunity to speak at community events, libraries, and schools.
Jessica Ward, working with Ellen Downey of the Youthdale Riding Program, added $6,000 to the budget for Work to Ride.
Within a year, Ward’s team pledged to take on 10 Work to Ride students and equip them with real, practical, employable skills in the equestrian industry.
“We are also relying on our magical horses, the special group of people that make up our barn community, and our own abilities as team leaders to set this experience apart from other labour-exchange programs,” she said.
“By this time next year,” she envisions, “our graduates might say that Work to Ride was a place where community connections were made, self-esteem grew and personal strengths developed. We also hope that they will say they were part of building a community where students not only felt safe and accepted to be their truest self, but were also able to see those true selves as important, valuable members of our team.
Woods highlighted the need for action, “We know Canada’s prosperity is directly linked to our ability to prepare young people for success in an ever-changing global economy. For Canada to be prosperous, young people must thrive. That’s why we launched RBC Future Launch, our 10-year, $500 million commitment to help young people access meaningful employment through practical work experience, skills development opportunities, networking solutions and mental well-being supports and services. We’re proud to work with community partners like the Dufferin Community Foundation and the youth programming they support.”
The next stage in the Community Challenge will be a community consultation process to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities for youth in Dufferin. Young people across the county will be able to share their perspectives and brainstorm ideas for further development.

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