How To Participate in AYO!

Aboriginal Youth Opportunities is a volunteer youth movement, originating in Winnipeg’s North End that leads by example, sharing gifts with the community, breaking stereotypes and creating opportunities. Since spring of 2010 we have convened in different ways, building relationships and expanding our capacity to be helpers in the village.

TLDR: you can get involved, it’s free and all indigenous youth are invited to show up!

Fearless R2W: child welfare advoacy and parrent support
509 Selkirk Ave., Wednesdays at 6pm

Meet Me @ the Bell Tower: stop the violence and community building
470 Selkirk Ave.,  Fridays at 6pm

Politix Brain Storm: political literacy and system learning
865 Main St., Saturdays at 2pm


AYO Movement 2016

Today, our capacity has expanded to the point where we can offer every week opportunities for community members to come together in free events to focus on solutions, lead by example and occupy space where indigenous youth are respected and supported as leaders. We have developed relationships with organizations, elders, businesses and institutions who share knowledge and resources with us – allowing us to lead by example in various sectors. Many people wonder how to get involved, so find below summaries of our weekly AYO initiatives (does not include monthly, annual or special events):

Mondays: Inner City Voices

ICV is not actually an AYO! initiative, however it is hosted by founder/organizer Michael Redhead Champagne and features inner city news and events as well as guests from the AYO team and the village. Regular updates around inner city opportunities to get involved allow a platform for us to highlight great initiatives and often explore in depth perspectives on how and why this work happens and how inner city challenges can be addressed by residents.

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Wednesdays: Fearless R2W

Since January of 2015 Fearless R2W has gathered to create circles of support for parents in the R2W who are engaging with the child welfare system. For the month of March, we are meeting very Wednesday at NECRC 509 Selkirk Ave at 6pm. We have learning circles where the intention is to learn about one of our focus areas including addiction support, housing, advocacy and traditional family parenting.

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In the news:

Fridays: Meet Me at the Bell Tower

Our most well known gathering happens every Friday at 6pm and has been going on every week since November 2011 and is called Meet Me at the Bell Tower. It began to stop the violence, and continues because of the strength in our community allowing us to celebrate the gifts we share with one another as we work on solutions to our shared challenges.


The Bell Tower Family provides a living example of many communities coming together to explore peace and work towards reconciliation. These weekly events are open to all people and are free – though you are encouraged to bring a donation for the prize draw. We are glad to be supported by the Indigenous Family Centre, Food Not Bombs & the Bear Clan Patrol.


Saturdays: AYO Politix Brain Storms

Beginning with the civic election in 2010, AYO Politix has held Brain Storms and forums to encourage political literacy within urban indigenous young people and inner city communities. The brain storms provide a space where citizens can engage with elected officials and political experts to build jurisdictional and civic understanding.

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Downtown Winnipeg – In response to the regrettable removal of Joseph Meconse from Portage Place several weeks ago, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ convened a meeting between Indigenous leaders Lisa Meeches (Manito Ahbee Festival), Joseph Meconse, and Damon Johnston (Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg) with David Stone of Portage Place to connect on a variety of goals to better cultivate an environment of inclusion, welcome, cultural sensitivity, and safety.

Media are invited to attend a press conference outlining these short-term and long-term goals, in addition to a pipe ceremony and round dance with members of the Indigenous and business communities – to begin the process of healing:

When: March 11, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Where: Portage Place (Edmonton Court) 
10:00 – 11:00 AM Pipe Ceremony
11:00 – 11:30 AM Presentations

·         Representatives of the Aboriginal Community

·         David Stone, Portage Place Shopping Centre, General Manager

·         Ogichidaa Presentation to Joseph Meconse

11:30 – 12:00 PM Drumming and Round Dance Led by Ray Stevenson

 A series of initiatives will be announced by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and its partners, as part of their ongoing strategy to enhance cultural awareness and promote the culture and traditions of our Indigenous community, who are important to the socio-economic fabric of our City.

“This will be the standard of business moving forward at Portage Place,” says David Stone, General Manager of Portage Place. “We are committed to undertaking these goals and actions to ensure a welcoming environment for all.”

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Emily Ormonde, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Phone: (204) 958-4626;