The report compiled survey responses from more than 1,800 local youth, ages 14 to 29, who graded quality of life in our city based on 15 key areas. (You can find the full report at www.wpgfdn.org/yvs)
Overall, youth gave our city a passing grade, but said there was much room for improvement. They also shared their thoughts and opinions, identified opportunities for change, and categorized priorities for community investment.
Youth called for action in a variety of areas: promoting inter-cultural understanding; preparing youth for the workforce; improving transportation options; supporting mental health; creating a youth advisory council at City Hall; and increasing options for safe, affordable housing.
In March, the Foundation announced it would commit $100,000 to address concerns raised in the Youth Vital Signs report and the related granting decisions would be made by Winnipeg youth.
Community groups were invited to submit their proposals for youth projects that focused on one or more of the 15 key quality of life areas graded in the report.
Eleven diverse young Winnipeggers brought their time, energy and insight to the table as the YVS Response Grants team. Members included young people who work and volunteer in the nonprofit sector, former Youth in Philanthropy participants, and community leaders (many were all of the above!).
Together, they scrutinized budgets, weighed pros and cons, factored in evaluation measures and decided how to allocate $100,000 to help their peers across the community.
The committee approved 11 grants; many address multiple priorities identified in the report, proving the inter-connectedness of many of the issues. Here are the grants and the priorities they address:
Priority: “Support more intercultural relationship-building programs for children and youth”
Art City $10,000 to launch an Indigenous Arts program that will provide youth across the city with free, hands-on opportunities to explore Indigenous arts and culture.
Priority: “Offer more low-cost opportunities to learn about art and participate in art-making”
Graffiti Art Programming $10,000 for Project Art Jam at Studio 393, which provides leadership development, skill building and creative expression through dance and filmmaking.
Priority: “Create open platforms for dialogue and personal storytelling to enhance understanding and compassion”
Islamic Social Services Association $8,000 for a two-day conference that will bring together youth from diverse backgrounds to build relationships and understanding.
Priority: “Increase the number of youth internships, co-ops, apprenticeships and other training programs”
Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba $10,000 for its Youth Employment Program which includes pre-employment training, paid work placements and volunteer opportunities.
Priority: “Improve support for students in the areas of mental health as well as post-secondary and workforce preparedness”
Macdonald Youth Services $5,000 for Life Train, which provides youth with one-on-one support to develop pre-employment, self-advocacy and job search skills.
Priority: “Ensure opportunities to participate are open to all”
Ma Mawi Chi Itata Centre $10,000 for Urban Indigenous Youth Voices, a youth-led initiative to inspire Indigenous youth to participate, build and lead community change.
Priority: “Increase bike paths and improve bike safety”
Priority: “Ensure everyone in Winnipeg has access to basic needs (food, water, shelter and services)”
Siloam Mission $10,000 for Exit Up!, a program for Indigenous youth who have exited the child welfare system to gain stability, beginning with safe and supportive housing.
Priority: “Increase affordable programs and opportunities to be active in and out of school”
Spence Neighbourhood Association $10,000 for Junior Coaches program, to include more opportunities for older youth to participate and volunteer in recreation activities.
Priority: “Promote alternative education, decrease class sizes and increase class variety”
The University of Winnipeg Foundation $7,000 for the Indigenous Math Readiness Project at Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, with a goal to build resilience, leadership and academic capacity for 40 youth.
Priority: “Increase mental health support and awareness about early warning signs”
Women’s Health Clinic $10,000 for short-term counselling, increased drop-in services and mental health workshops for youth.