On March 4, the Wheatland Youth Network (WYN) launched the first of its kick-off events to begin helping local youth reconnect with their communities.
Michelle Ryan, a WYN navigator, said that for March the organization was working to get its name out there and starting to make connections.
“We’re really getting our name out there and creating fun opportunities for young people in the community,” Ryan said. “With the WYN, we work with young people (aged) between 11 and 24, so we have a wide range. And the feedback we got from young people is that they just want to rebuild that sense of community and have opportunities to get to know other young people.
The network started in 2019 and grew out of a conversation in the community during which local doctors identified that young people were not looking for support or were struggling to seek it.
Participation in the activities offered by the network is free and no prior registration is necessary.
The first event, held on March 4, was held at the Strathmore Motor Products Sports Center for Youth Night. The second, scheduled for March 18, will be “Flashback Friday,” also at the Motor Products Sports Center. The third event will be a Marvel Movie Night at Strathmore Public Library on March 25.
“Having these events has been really beneficial for us as we continue to get our name recognized and build that relationship,” Ryan said. “When you have that connection, work and support is much easier. With the integrated youth hub, we focus on supporting young people to connect with mild to moderate wellness resources.
The WYN will continue to offer regular pop-up events for youth in the community to attend.
The entire project, Ryan explained, is a provincial initiative that was funded by the Canadian Mental Health Association and received funding through March 2023.
“This is really a grassroots project that evolved into part of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Youth Crossroads project,” Ryan said. “Young people, with just the throws of the past two years, they just want opportunities to rebuild that sense of community and connect with each other in a fun way.”
The team is also present on social media and encourages young people interested in participating to keep an eye on the network. On Instagram, the handle is @wheatlandyouth_network.
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