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
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.
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.
In the news: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/fearless-r2w-group-aims-to-change-parents-beliefs-about-cfs-1.2959619
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.