Receiving the CRRF Best Youth Practice Award helped make the 2015/2016 Compassionate Leaders Project our most successful year to date. Our grant applications were strengthened by the national recognition and we were fully funded for the first time. As a result, we were able to double our youth participant intake sending more students to the leadership camp. With full-time hours, our project coordinator was able to provide weekly support to the six action planning teams. With the additional support, all action planning teams were successful in implementing their team projects including: starting/coordinating the only Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) group in the district; organizing a mental health awareness fair and speaker series for Mental Health Awareness Week; preparing meals for the local homeless population, organizing a talent show/dinner fundraiser; and facilitating diversity workshops for elementary school students.
As we are situated in a smaller community, we received a lot of local attention after receiving the award. This provided us with an excellent opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships and to create new ones – proving beneficial to the completion of an ongoing action plan from an inter-district group of participants. Since the 2015/2016 project year, a group of participants representing all five secondary schools have been working on an action plan to organize a “Youth Action Day” – a for youth, by youth event to celebrate the community service contributions by Cowichan Regions’ youth. Their vision was inspired by Free The Children’s We Day’s, and was also seen as an opportunity to motivate and inspire other youth to get involved. The action team engaged other youth service providers, faith groups, and community organizations to become Success Story Partners – showcasing their service work and also honoring their participants at the event. The team was very successful in attracting Community Partners to fundraise the entire cost of the event. Youth Action Day was held on April 22, 2016 and was attended by over 600 students and special guests. The 3 hour event was hosted by a popular radio dj and featured two well-known bands, inspirational speakers, and success stories from the Compassionate Leaders Project and Success Story Partners.
The Compassionate Leaders Project is heading into its fourth year and looking to build on the tremendous success of the year following the award. Although we are not fully funded this year, we are confident we will be able to keep up the momentum with our leadership camp, successful team projects and organizing another Youth Action Day.
For more information, or to find out how you can support the 2016/2017 Compassionate Leaders Project, please contact:
Ray Anthony, Project Coordinator
Cowichan Intercultural Society