While getting off the bus onto Aberdeen Avenue, the six of us – students from Fort Richmond Collegiate’s Youth in Philanthropy committee – realized we had never been to the North End before.
It seemed almost like an entirely different city, and in many instances, like a forgotten neighborhood — this was isolation.
We arrived at Inner City Youth Alive and were welcomed into the vibrant building, bustling with activity.
Kent Dueck, Executive Director of ICYA, greeted us by sharing his amazing story of how ICYA started with humble beginnings.
Dueck simply invited kids from an at-risk youth centre to come camping with him and his friends. As the years progressed, he realized how these experiences had benefited the children in many ways.
By developing strong, lifelong friendships, as well as creating valuable connections and mentorships, Dueck understood how positive change could be achieved in the community. He said, this kind of relationship building is far more important to the kids than any piece of clothing could ever be to them.
So, Dueck started Inner City Youth Alive, to create a safe space for youth to grow, in an otherwise oppressive environment.
Hearing his story about developing ICYA and how it has progressed to change so many lives was truly inspiring. To know that if we set out to do good, if we put our hearts into it, it can amplify to reach so many – it was energizing to hear.
It was also inspiring to know what may seem like such a small step in the beginning could end up making such a large impact on someone else’s world.
ICYA believes in Hope to the Core, and in so many ways, helps youth develop hope through allowing them to grow as individuals.
From their art activity to their drop-in program, and from their summer camps to their builders program, ICYA is genuinely built on hope. We are all sincerely excited to see what ICYA has in store and we’ll be sure to come back and volunteer!
Additional writing by Prasansa Subedi, Harleen Sekhon and Tiffany Le.
Check out more Youth in Philanthropy stories on CNC at Young Winnipeggers Connect 2017.