I have some really exciting news to share with all you due to recent developments that came about.
As you all know, I hail from Peavine Metis Settlement which is one of the the only eight settlements in Canada and the entire world which is strictly dedicated to Metis People. I grew up in Peavine my entire life right up until I moved here to Kelowna. During my time in Peavine growing up, I became really involved within my community and at sixteen became a part of the Metis Settlement Youth Network Society. MSYNS is a group represented by two youth from each of the eight Metis settlements and two for each of the ones that live off settlement in rural urban communities within Alberta. These youth are mentors and positive influences to other youth within their own communities as well as TAPWE Warrior facilitators or are being mentored for training. As a collective group our mission is to ensure that aboriginal youth have a voice in issues that relate to their own personal experiences growing up. We are the voice in prevention of family violence, bullying and lateral violence within our communities as well as other issues that aboriginal peoples currently face. We provide leadership in presentations based on these issues to youth in our communities. I have been passionately involved with the youth network for quite some time now and it truly has been a life changing experience and major influence in my passion to help and provide leadership skills for aboriginal youth. When I made the decision to move to the Okanagan, I unfortunately lost touch with being able to contribute to helping and supporting aboriginal youth as it was time for me to focus solely on developing my photography career. Now due to some events that recently came about shortly after my graduation, I now have the opportunity to once again connect with, interact and inspire aboriginal youth, You see I was approached by members of my community about an amazing opportunity. The Aboriginal Head Start program which is a culturally influenced preschool program for aboriginal youth is celebrating two decades providing early childhood education for Métis, First Nations and Inuit youth across the country, the organization is taking time to reflect on the successes and accomplishments of children who have passed through its programming by inviting them to a three-day forum in Vancouver, called AHS: The Next Generation – Then and Now. The conference will be hosted by the Aboriginal Head Start Association of British Columbia and will take place July 7-9. 52 youth from across Canada are set to attend the event, five of which will come from the NWT. I was nominated to attend this prestigious event. I just received word that my nomination was accepted and I am one of four youth representing the province of Alberta! I cannot express my humbleness, gratitude and excitement enough knowing that I have the wondrous opportunity to attend this conference and interact with and inspire aboriginal youth from across Canada, I am very honored and humbled knowing that members of my community nominated me to go. Providing leadership skills, mentor-ship and inspiring aboriginal youth has always been a passion very near and dear to my heart and can barely contain myself to have the opportunity to become involved again. A wise man who has had a great impact on me since I came to Kelowna once said something to me that always stood out " I have hope for the future and as long as you have that, you'll be okay" I recently learned just how true this is for I have hope for my own future and it outcome. With this conference, I hope to gain a new skill set and knowledge not only about inspiring youth, but about my aboriginal heritage as well. I hope to gain a new perspective that I can eventually bring back to my own community to utilize in helping further its youth and I also hope to further my photography career by gaining new connections not only in Vancouver but within various aboriginal communities across Canada as well! But I think my biggest hope of all though would be the knowledge and solution to possibly combining theses two passions of mine together into a successful and meaningful career. I feel in my heart already that attending this conference will truly be life changing and give me a new direction of my career. My heart is light today and when more developments arise, I will update you on every aspect of this new and exciting journey.