Engaging Indigenous Youth

This model is not only empowering youth, it’s strengthening communities across the generations, says Kelly Terbasket.

Indigenous youth in British Columbia, Canada face significant challenges as they transition to adulthood. The long-term impacts of colonization, residential schools, and cultural uprooting continues to take a high toll. Depression, addiction, violence, suicide and low graduation rates are all signs of a generation whose needs go almost completely unaddressed.

Kelly Terbasket, a First Nations leadership coach and facilitator from the Similameen Valley in British Columbia, wants to change this.

Kelly is a member of the Okanagan Nation lives on the land where her family has been based for generations. “It’s what gives me the strength to do what I do”.

Taking Partners for Youth Empowerment’s Creative Facilitation training in May 2013 was a key turning point for Kelly. “I was immediately struck by how powerful this model could be in reconnecting aboriginal youth with their culture and wisdom.” Kelly has since co-founded IndigenEYEZ, an aboriginal-led youth empowerment initiative that provides training and youth programs based on our Creative Empowerment Model to First Nations communities across BC. This year alone, IndigenEYEZ trained 100 aboriginal facilitators and provided programs for 150 youth. There are plans to scale the program to help youth find their purpose, power, and possibility. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn the Creative Empowerment Model and bring it to my Nation. This model is not only empowering youth, it’s strengthening communities across the generations, across the silos of our programs and services. My dream is that everyone working in First Nations throughout BC would have access to this training.”

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