Youth identify problems

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March 10, 2016 4:00 AM

Executive director for the John Humphrey Centre for Human Rights Renee Vaugeois, youth coordinator for the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre RaeAnne Harper and Maigan Van Der Giesson, programmer for the John Humphrey Centre, held a presentation at the Friendship Centre discussing reconciliation and its role in the city

Poverty, human rights, reconciliation and how these things impact the community was the message at the Youth Renegades presentation, held at the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre.
The presentation was directed at the city’s youth and brought in students from Lloydminster Comprehensive High School and some of the city’s adult education programs.
“We talked about the history of Canada with a more inclusive lens,” Renne Vaugeois, executive director of the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, said after last week’s presentation.
“So we started reviewing the history of exclusion that’s happened with different populations, not just the First People’s, but also Sikh, Japanese, Chinese, Ukrainian and Jewish, so that we kind of painted a whole picture of Canada.”
Vaugeois said reconciliation is, in some ways, about telling the shared story of all Canadians and coming to terms with how it affects communities in present times.
They discussed the history of colonialism, something that Vaugeois said needs to be understood because of its effects on the current social status of all Canadian populations. The talk was then narrowed down and localized to look at Lloydminster with a more inclusive lens. 
“One of the things we do is we dig through some of the issues then the young people brainstorm, then we brought that back locally to Lloydminster,” she said. “What are the issues in the community? What are some challenges? So they identified some issues and we focused on the challenges and they formed recommendations.”
Some of the issues brought up by those in attendance were addiction, public transportation and unemployment.
The issue of the Thorpe Recovery Centre and its high number of unused beds was talked about, as one of the students said drugs and addiction are big problems in the community.
The group recommended more public funding for the recovery centre so the empty beds could be put to use.
“People (also) said that we need some public transportation in our city so we can get from points A to B, we can have jobs, and the elderly people who have less mobility can get around. So they made a recommendation around that,” said Vaugeois.
The group also brainstormed on the topic of the economic recession and the role education plays into that. Helping people get well paying jobs outside of the resource sector to create revenue for the community was one of the suggestions. 
“Our aim is to kind of dig into issues and give young people critical thinking skills and also give them confidence to feel like they have something really valuable to contribute,” she said.
“They are just as able as anyone else to make a recommendation that has a great solution for their community and hopefully they walked away feeling they could make a change and that their voice is really valuable.”

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