Youth engagement and participation are essential to building resilient communities. An essential component of youth engagement is providing space for youth to express their voice, and dialogue with one another and the larger community in a meaningful way.
The New Dawn Series, Ideas Powered by Passion, and community partners have come together to provide that platform for young people in Cape Breton with Youth 4 Change.
Bound to be a powerful and spirited community event, Youth 4 Change will take place at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation Chapel on Wednesday, June 3. Starting at 7pm, it will feature a powerhouse of talented and determined young people, between the ages of 15-25, filled with potent and ambitious ideas for the future of Cape Breton. Their vision will be expressed creatively through photography, songwriting, hip-hop, and spoken word. The event is open to everyone who has a fiery spirit for change and community. Admission is free.
“The ideas, passions and creativity of young people are essential to building a more resilient Cape Breton community,” says Jill McPherson, New Dawn Community Engagement and Communications Coordinator, about the upcoming event. “Youth for Change provides a platform for youth to express their vision for the future and to dialogue with the larger community in a space that is safe and inclusive. This is an opportunity to celebrate a diverse range of perspectives and voices on issues that hold deep meaning for our community’s youth.”
The young artists taking part in Youth 4 Change, have been working to develop and fine-tune their skills over the last several months. In April, they took part in a weekend-long workshop. One of the primary objectives to work closely with these youth was to give them the opportunity to explore what diversity means to them, what diversity in our community looks like, and the importance of diversity in creating a new vision for our island.
The workshops included activities about diversity, creativity, culture and gender equality from community leaders including Serena Matheson of Pride Cape Breton, Mi’kmaq Elder Clarke Paul, performer Maura Lea Morykot, and CBU multicultural and diversity officer Scott Thomas. The workshops focused on diversity and started building the link between diversity and creativity. Thomas started the day with a 2-hour session on global and cross-cultural diversity. Elder Paul, originally from Membertou but now living in Eskasoni, is a Cultural Outreach worker. He talked about Mi’kmaq culture and experience and the importance of valuing diversity using his experience growing up in a residential school while Morykot drew from her experience with the arts and facilitated a session on gender equality. These topics will be at the forefront of Wednesday’s event.
Participants were also able to have hands-on experience in their area of interest with professionals in songwriting (Keith Mullins), hip hop (Jordan “JoFo” Hines and Malcolm “MistaMac” MacLeod), spoken word (Shauntay Grant), and photography (Corey Katz).
Youth for Change is an expression of talent, ideas and passion among the youth in Cape Breton. Showcasing their work on Wednesday night will be Jenni Welsh and Brendan Lyle with their short documentary film that covers the Youth 4 Change project. Hip-hop artists Mitchell Bailey, Jordan “JoFo” Hines, and Malcolm “Mr. Mack” MacLeod, and songwriters Colette Deveaux, Cyrus Robertson-Orkish and Kennedy Dale will add some music and Ashan Asim, Zeeshan Asim, Bhreagh MacNeil, and Grace Charlton will perform spoken word pieces. There will also be a display of photography by Mitchell Turner, Matthew Ingraham, Glen Couch, Tessa Wells, and Keith MacDonald. An open dialogue will follow the performances.
Join the conversation on June 3, 7pm, at Youth 4 Change. And if you can’t be there in person, be sure to tune in at newdawn.ca/live.