The first ever Youth Empowerment Project (Y.E.P.) drew in large numbers from Fort St. James.
Youth from the ages 13-21 were eager to participate at Kwah Hall during the first week of spring break from March 29-April 1.
The free event included huge door prizes and all meals were provided.
The project was hosted by Desiree Whitely, career counsellor for Nak’azdli Band and Carla Olinek from the Alternate Justice Centre in Fort St. James.
“It’s all about motivating young people today,” Whitley said.
We wanted to set up something for youth because we notice all of the obstacles and trauma they experience in life and we want to give them something to look forward to.”
According to Whitely, there was something for everyone.
The week was filled with teambuilding workshops, interactive discussion, cultural teaching and presentations each day on various topics including; bullying, achieving educational goals, suicide prevention and youth empowerment.
A definite highlight of the week was a presentation by motivational speaker, Mike Scott who is well known for his promotion of sobriety with his “sober is sexi campaign”.
Scott himself battled addiction and alcoholism from an early age.
It was his daughter that made him open his eyes and see the true meaning of life.
This is when his healing journey began.
Scott has been sober since August 8, 2012 and has made a complete transformation of his life and surroundings.
He now shares his testimony as a way of encouraging not only youth but also adults of all communities to live a clean and healthy life style.
Scott’s goals and dreams are to inspire and motivate the people who are still caught up in the cycles of abuse.
Kwah Hall was filled with youth who were eager to hear his inspirational story.
“This event had such a great turnout. We were so impressed,” Whitely said.
A community dinner where youth were able to present what they had learned concluded the week.
For Whitely, it’s all about helping youth who need it most.
“We want to work with those who attended, to connect with them and to
continue to motivate them,” Whitely said.