A Look at the Past Year
Wow, what an incredible year it was for Youthnited Nations. As we reflect back on the past year, and look forward into the new year we have so much to be proud of as an organization. Founded in May 2018 we (as two nurses) decided it would be a neat idea to build a team of likeminded individuals… and here we are at the end of the year with an amazing Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, Junior Program, and many incredible members. In just eight short months our members have spent countless hours on projects, engagement, and events so lets take a review of what they have done…..
World Mental Health Day
First there was our World Mental Health Day Initiative on October 10th, which focused on highlighting the stories of various individuals, and their journey with Mental Health. We asked members what Mental Health meant to them, and how they promote health and wellbeing within their own lives. We were thrilled by the number of responses we got and were able to share the stories on social media. This will be an annual event for Youthnited Nations, and we look forward to expanding it every year and reaching many more individuals!
Our Vice-President Ashlyn did incredible work in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for Pride Week through collaborating with Project Safe Audience (an organization created by novice nurses to provide harm reduction education and testing services at rave events locally) and hosted a harm reduction workshop for nursing students. The workshop identified common substances used, described practical ways to provide care using a harm reduction perspective, and highlighted the importance of testing. She also helped in hosting Pride Celebration week, which celebrated the LGBTQ2S+ community and outlined the importance of making the health care system a safe space where health care professionals provide competent, non-stigmatizing care, while also raising nearly $300 towards the cause.
Commission on the Status of Women
Next, our Co-Founder/ Co-President Marnie traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York and attended the Commission on the Status of Women. The theme was looking at the difficulties women and girls face in rural areas globally. She stated that:
“the challenges that women face around the world may look differently in the way that the problems are communicated, but there are solutions that exist and are being exercised currently, however not without meeting challenges. I was fortunate enough to meet incredible women doing incredible things around the world, and this inspiration will stay with me forever.”
In July I had the incredible opportunity to attend the World Health Organization Collaborating Centres Conference in Cairns, Australia and I can explain the experience in one word: inspiring. It was nothing less than incredible to meet change makers from all over the world and hear how they are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. I had the incredible pleasure of speaking on behalf of Youthnited Nations and spreading our mission as an organization. During the presentation I was able to touch on various topics such as leadership, advocacy and awareness, and community partnerships. Not only was Youthnited Nations well received by the audience, but successfully gained many new members worldwide (exciting!).
Then came November, which also brought Movember! Our amazing and passionate International Outreach Committee, mostly based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada put in a lot of time to plan an event to raise money towards Men’s health and wellbeing. Through a dodge ball tournament, online fundraiser, and much more they surpassed their fundraising goal and were able to contribute over $600 to the Movember campaign.
November was a busy month for us, as Megan (Director of Programming) and I attended Together 2018, a symposium hosted by the Alberta Council of Global Cooperation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hold a workshop focused on youth engagement related to the Sustainable Development Goals. This was such a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals, which lead to our next project…. Junior Program!
As an organization we had considered the idea of creating a Junior Program (age 14-18) for quite some time, and following Together 2018 it was the right time! We are so exciting to be going into the new year with our Junior Program Lead, Ellie, and to be able to reach even more youth. The goal for the Junior Program is to further develop youth leaders and create more opportunity to get involved!
And last but not least…. The Uganda Partnership. This is not a complete project, but rather an ongoing on and we are thrilled to have the opportunity. The Uganda Partnership is a grassroots project that was started by a Ugandan development worker and a group of Canadians. The project has gradually expanded into different partnership projects that help to empower widows and children. Youthnited Nations is extremely excited to partner with the Uganda Partnership Organization to build a health care clinic in Uganda, as well as fundraise for a mobile health clinic, which allows community support to those unable to travel to the clinic. Youthnited Nations will also be fundraising for much needed healthcare resources and equipment for the community and it is our intent to create sustainable change in the community in the realm of health. The clinic will give employment opportunities to nurses and health care workers who graduated with their nursing certificate that was funded by the Uganda Partnership and Youthnited Nations. We truly are so grateful for this opportunity, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for this community!
It is safe to say it was a busy (less than a) year! From May to December 2018 we went from two individuals wanting to make a change, to a team of passionate and dedicated youth. I truly do feel so thankful to be in the presence of so many amazing individuals, and look forward to what 2019 holds for us!