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Honouring First Nations ancestors and empowering youth

Land-based activities at IndigenEYEZ youth camp. Photo by Luise Kassner

Land-based activities at IndigenEYEZ youth camp. Photo by Luise Kassner

IndigenEYEZ, one of Tides Canada’s newest projects, is on a mission to engage, inspire, and mobilize Aboriginal youth.

IndigenEYEZ’s vision is to help create thriving First Nations communities where youth have the support and skills to find purpose in their lives and are creatively engaged in revitalizing their cultures while responding to contemporary challenges.

This Aboriginal-led youth empowerment initiative delivers two streams of programs: community facilitation training for practitioners who work with indigenous communities; and life-changing camps for First Nations youth in British Columbia.

“Our vision is to honour our ancestors and empower our youth,” said Project Director Kelly Terbasket, a long-time facilitator, coach, and community development worker. Kelly founded IndigenEYEZ after attending a creative facilitation workshop with Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE), an international non-profit organization that employs arts-based social practice to help youth develop key life skills that enable them thrive in a rapidly changing world. She saw a natural marriage between the PYE’s Creative Community Model, which combines the expressive arts with motivational learning, and indigenous worldviews. Together, they become a powerful means of fostering connections amongst Aboriginal youth and facilitators.

Since the inception of IndigenEYEZ earlier this year, the project has already received tremendous response. The project held three camps with almost 100 youth attendees and ran five “train the trainer” programs with 100 professionals

IndigenEYEZ has a target to reach 1,000 indigenous youth over the next five years and joining Tides Canada has enabled them to focus on team building and taking their youth camps and facilitation programs into communities.

So what’s next for IndigenEYEZ? This month, IndigenEYEZ is holding two days of training in Vancouver for facilitators interested in learning how to turn group activities into engaging and meaningful experiences.

“I’m excited to continue to see the impact of this model in our communities,” said Kelly. “The response from youth is so gratifying and the program has the same inspiring and energizing effect on youth workers, families, elders, and other staff members.”

To learn more about IndigenEYEZ, visit their website or donate here.

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