by Taish Desnomie
Meeting Corey O'Soup, Saskatchewan's Advocate for Children and Youth, was a great experience because we are both in the same work. It gave me a lot of ideas. It gave me hope just to know that there is always a way to get past some of the problems in life.
A few weeks back, I wrote a letter with my classmates to Fort Qu'Appelle Elementary Community School and my class and I delivered it directly to the principal. We showed Ms. Young-Lee, our principal, the letter before we took it over. She had some suggestions and we made edits. Here's what the beginning of the letter said:
"We, the class of oski-pimohtahtamwak otayisīniwiwaw, have been invited to present workshops throughout southern Saskatchewan, most often sharing the Kairos Blanket Exercise. We are developing our leadership potential and our response skills. Because we have lived through many difficult situations ourselves, we want to support students who are dealing with difficult life situations including bullying, racism, suicide, and poverty."
We met with three more people from the elementary school to make some plans, Mrs. Lowe, Miss Tami, and Mrs. Brooks (the new principal). We went for lunch a few times, played some soccer once, and Michael attended one after school program so far. We also prepared a PowerPoint to tell people who we are, and so far we've gone to over half of the classrooms. Every classroom visit takes about twenty minutes because we are talking and the kids are asking questions.
Going to the elementary school is pretty fun; you get to meet some of the new generation of kids. When you're really sitting there talking to them, they really have a chance to open up with their feelings and laugh. It's really cool. You don't get to see that every day. I think it's really great that they all get a chance to look up to older kids and have a voice.
Meeting Corey was a great experience for me and my classmates. It was really great because he gave me and my classmates lots of insight on what the world is really like today, about youth and women, and people going missing. He really opened up our eyes. He showed us that we could change our own communities and others around us. This kind of work that I'm doing right now, I'm really committed to doing this -- and without my classmates, I wouldn't be doing any of this, and I wouldn't have the help. My respect and everything I do all goes to them because they're my backbone.